Traditionally, the third Sunday of
Advent is known as "Gaudete" Sunday. Gaudete is a Latin word which means
"rejoice". In Luke 1:28 we read, "Rejoice, full of grace." The first
word that the Father speaks to Mary through the angel, Gabriel, at the scene of
the Annunciation is the word, "rejoice". It is the first word of the new
creation spoken to the heart of Mary for all of humanity to receive. This
fact reveals a profound truth regarding God's intention for humanity. It:
"is a form
of greeting which can be understood as an invitation tojoy...The
Father reveals his intention to communicate true anddefinitive joy
to humanity. The Father's own joy, which consists in having his Son beside him,
is offered to everyone" (John Paul II, General Audience, January 5, 2000).
Intercessors are called to be God's "Gaudete
watchmen", God's joyful burden bearers; for, we experience the joy of
identifying so closely with Jesus. Authentic joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.
This joy is the delight that wells up in us when we are in the presence of
Jesus who is perfect love: "The Lord...is the joy of every heart, and the
answer to all its yearnings" ("Gaudium et Spes: Pastoral Constitution on
the Church in the Modern World"; GS # 45).
In the second reading of this Sunday's mass,
St. Paul exhorts the Thessalonians to, "Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing"
(1 Thes. 5:16). There is an intimate connection between incessant rejoicing and
constant prayer. This deep joy is the Lord's own joy: "That my joy might be
in you and your joy might be complete" (John 15:11). The joy of the Lamb
"touches" the "altar of our hearts", awakening a desire to pray and
offer because it is Jesuswho lives
within us to make intercession (see Heb. 7:25). Authentic joy motivates us
tolet go of ourselves and allow Jesus
to live more fully within us: "That I may come to the altar of God, to
God, my joy, my delight" (Ps. 43:4). There at the inner altar of the
heart, prayer rises as a "fragrant incense" in the presence of God. The Lord
has promised to make us joyful intercessors:
"Them I will bring to my holy mountain and make
joyful in my house of prayer...For my house shall be called a house of
prayer for all peoples" (Is. 56:7).
The authentic joy of an intercessor is
born of hope: "May
the God of hope fill you with all joy" (Rom. 15:13). Hope
strengthens our hearts and moves us to joy which in turn becomes a source of
strength which we intercede from: "For rejoicingin the LORD must be
your strength" (Neh. 8:10).Through
his intimate relationship with the Father Jesus drew strength from both hope
and joy to offer himself as a living sacrifice for all of humanity: "For the
sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross" (Heb. 12:2).
Joy wells up within us when our hearts "see" the Lord:
"Hark! Your watchmen raise a
cry, together they shout for joy, for they see directly before
their eyes, the LORD restoring Zion" (Is. 52:8).
intercessors" beg God to restore the "Zion" of every heart to become "like
a bride bedecked with her jewels" (Is.61:10)--radiant with joy, and conscious
of its "spousal" identity.For, we
desire others to see what we see with the eyes of the heart, and to hear what
we hear with the ears of the heart: "Blessed are your eyes because they see,
and your ears, because they hear" (Mt. 13:16).
In Luke 1:28 Mary is invited to
rejoice first of all because God loves her. God rejoices over each human
being and sees each as a delight. Intercessors stand firmly upon this foundational
truth and pray for this grace to be received by those for whom we pray:
"He will rejoice over you with
gladness, and renew you in his love" (Zeph. 3:17); "For the LORD delights
in you" (Is. 62:4); "For I create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people
to be a delight" (Is. 65:18).
human being is hungry for joy just as we are hungry for love. Each of these
fruits of the Holy Spirit is found in Jesus. We are created to experience the
joy of God in our lives. Hence, intimate relationship with Jesus is a source of
joy. Intercessors pray for others to experience this intimacy with Jesus. For,
this is what changes lives.
I lack joy in any particular area(s) of my life?
I experiencing the joy of this season of Advent or only the burden?
Any scripture from the text; Ps. 21:7; Ps. 34:6; Is.
TIME TO STORM HEAVEN"
THE "WATCHES OF THE NIGHT" FOLDER ON THE "TEACHINGS" TAB FOR ADDITIONAL ADVENT