Mother Teresa (of Calcutta, +1997) says, “Joy is a net of love by which we catch souls”. May her words echo in a special way on this Sunday. This Sunday is known to many as Laetare Sunday. It is sometimes called Rose Sunday (referring to the color for the day). Laetare Sunday, always the fourth, or middle, Sunday of Lent is so called from the first words of the Introit (opening verse) at Mass, “Laetare Jerusalem” (“Rejoice, O Jerusalem”).
On this day, the vestments are indeed rose in color. Rose includes the violet of penance and the white of Easter, of the victory of divine love. In this, rose captures the “not yet and already” of our Christian pilgrimage. We are on a journey, and have not fully arrived at our destination, which is perfect oneness with God in love. And, yet, we are held by God already, in love. Another (Saint) Teresa (of Lisieux, +1897) expresses this unbelievably well in her autobiography, Story of a Soul. She so believes in the already that, when asked about Heaven, she responds, “I do not know what more I could have in Heaven, except that I shall see God. As for being with Him, I am always that, even here on earth.”
Our life as disciples of Christ is a life of joy—not bubbly emotional joy, but deep, quiet joy—the joy of God. Such joy is ours for the experiencing, even in the midst sometimes of great challenge. But, it must be shared. Do we share the joy of God with those around us?
As we continue our Lenten journey, let us hold to the One Who holds us, bearing in the mind the words of St. Augustine (+430):
In the house of God there is never ending festival; the angel choir makes eternal holiday; the presence of God's face gives joy that never fails.
Yours in the joy of God,
From the desk of the Rector