Skip to comments.Joy-Filled Suffering, Laetare Sunday
Posted on 03/21/2009 11:06:24 AM PDT by Salvation
Joy-Filled Suffering03/26/2006 at 6:00 AM PST
By Monsignor Charles M. Mangan
Today, the Fourth Sunday of Lent, has traditionally been called Laetare (Rejoice) Sunday because of the strong sentiment of joy found in the Entrance Antiphon of the Mass: Rejoice, Jerusalem! Be glad for her, you who love her; rejoice with her, you who mourned for her, and you will find contentment at her consoling breasts. (Isaiah 66:10-11)
The Church takes a break from the rigors of Lent and stresses the joyfulness of Jerusalem, the city of the followers of God. Rose vestments may be worn at Mass, symbolizing the contrast with the penitential violet of Lent.
The virtue of joy is not often associated with Lent. Instead, other spiritual qualities come to mind: patience, humility, piety, willingness to suffer, etc.
Yet, the Church today encourages us to reflect on joy, even in the middle of a penitential season. Why? What is the connection, if any, between joy and sacrifice? Are these two realities mutually exclusive?
The witness of the bruised and tortured Christ, the example of the Sorrowful Mother and the other saints, especially the martyrs, answers this final question with a resounding no. Spiritual writers throughout the centuries have emphasized various ways in which a person might achieve union with God. All seem to agree that authentic joydescribed in much spiritual literature as the possession of some goodresults only when a person has accepted Gods will in his life.
Fighting Gods designs ensures that joy in a persons life will always be elusive. But embracing the divine plan brings the promise of spiritual happiness.
Often, joy is confused with an outgoing or gregarious attitude. However, joy lives much deeper and is less perceptible than a grin on a persons face. While joy is often expressed outwardly, nevertheless, its primary manifestation is internal.
As Jesus hung upon the Cross, His pain was evident. Bleeding profusely, His exterior demeanor was consonant with one who is in agony.
But, if Christs food was doing His Fathers will as He said to His disciples just a short time earlier (see Saint John 4:34), then Jesus must have had some sense of inner joy. His Fathers plan was being accomplished! For the Son, that must have resulted in indescribable joy.
Contemporary society should take note: joy can come from suffering. For all of the modern worlds attempts to evade pain and anguish, we havent succeeded in becoming a world of joy. It seems that many try hard to escape from necessary suffering, repelling even beneficial burdens.
Of course, its OK to avoid some pain. For instance, parents have the right and responsibility to comfort a sick child and to provide the necessary therapy to alleviate the pain. But some suffering must be accepted and borne with a greater good in mind: the glory of God and the salvation of souls, including ones own.
Indeed, Lent is a time of sadness as we look upon the suffering induced by a jealous world. However, we can witness first-hand that pain and agony need not conquer the inner spirit.
Christ has undergone pain and demonstrated its worth. When God allows one of His friends to suffer, He alone knows the value of it and the joy that can result. Conformity to Christ is the reward of those who humbly and joyfully accept His Cross.
(Slightly edited from its original appearance in the National Catholic Register, March 10, 1991, page 4. Used with permission.)
**Contemporary society should take note: joy can come from suffering. For all of the modern worlds attempts to evade pain and anguish, we havent succeeded in becoming a world of joy. It seems that many try hard to escape from necessary suffering, repelling even beneficial burdens.**
Wow, I read your post due to it’s point about suffering. Normally, I omit posts of a Catholic nature but, I’m glad I read your’s! Thank You Sal
Glad you enjoyed it. We can always look at Christ on the Cross and then ask ourselves about the suffering that we are experiencing.
I just have to say, I love Laetare Sunday.
I’m reading FR and eating cake!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(gave up both for lent)
Laetare (Rejoice) Sunday is the day that since we have passed the halfway point of Lent the Church looks forward to the joy of Easter. Its called Rose Sunday for two reasons. First, priests may wear rose-colored (practically pink) vestments today. Second, its the day of the blessing of the golden rose in St. Peters, a ceremony that was already called an ancient ceremony in 1051. The intricately fashioned solid gold roses were once sent to Catholic monarchs. Now they are bestowed on shrines.
A rose comes from a thorny stem yet has beauty and a sweet smell. This is a symbol of the way Christians faith blossoms in Lent from sacrifice.
Pope John Paul II awarded four golden roses; Pope Benedict XVI has awarded seven.
Pope Benedict XVI has given roses to shrines in countries he has visited. For instance, in 2008, the year of his U.S. visit, he bestowed the golden rose on the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.