Sunday, December 13, 2020

Rejoice Always

“Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks...” 1 Thessalonians 5:16

This is St. Paul’s good advice for us in the second reading for today. This is Gaudete Sunday, the third Sunday of Advent, when we light 3 candles in the Advent wreath, including the pink one. In Latin, the first word of the entrance antiphon for the Mass is “gaudete”, rejoice, as in, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice.

Indeed, the Lord is near” from Philippians 4:4-5.

The pink candle of rejoicing is surrounded by three violet candles, the color of repentance, sorrow, penance, sacrifice. In this life no one escapes pain or hardship, no one. This is why we should take Saint Paul’s advice to heart. Rejoice always, even if we are in the midst of trial. Pray without ceasing, for those who trust in God will never be disappointed. In all circumstances, give thanks! Do we find it difficult to do all three? Perhaps our human proclivity would be to stress, complain, worry, be miserable even. It may be easier to go this natural route, the same way a river runs the same course day in and day out. But we are not a river, we do not have to follow the contour of the earth.

We have been given inner resources and strength to be joyful, even in the midst of difficulty. Perhaps we are more depressed during this season seeing all the Facebook posts about others having fun, or receiving gifts, or eating gourmet food. I believe joy takes practice, like all other gifts. If we practice gratitude, counting our blessings in a more conscious, determined way, it will become a habit. We can wake up every single morning thanking God for all His wonderful blessings! 

Last year during Advent I was in the hospital. On this particular date, December 13, I was in the ICU having just undergone an open heart surgery, a coronary bypass followed by a pulmonary artery embolectomy under deep hypothermic circulatory arrest. Ordinarily  I would have been fearsome just thinking about it, but the night before my procedure I was at peace. I was able to sleep well even after having refused the sleeping pills my nurse offered. I knew that God was in control, all was well with my world. I have seen how God can give me peace beyond understanding, strength and joy for this journey even under the most trying circumstance. It is because of God’s amazing grace that surrounded me all throughout, but I also believe He gave me that grace because I have been practicing gratitude, and praying without ceasing since I was young. It is a discipline. I practice it more than ever today, during this pandemic, at a time I need more faith for our business, for my brother’s health, and my health. God is good in all circumstances! Can I hear an amen? 

1 comment:

  1. Amen. Thank you for your wonderful post. Glad you are in good health. Hugs Anesha


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