Monday, March 07, 2005

Rose day ... liturgically speaking
Shucks ... only the second time the liturgy allows the use of Rose-colored vestments has come and gone for another liturgical year. The characteristic of joy is highlighted on Laetare Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Lent. The lighter color vesture serves as a reminder that we are more than halfway through Lent, approaching the great feast of Christ our Light (the Resurrection), and that joy and repentance are not mutually exclusive traits for the Christian. We can, and should, be joyful in the midst of our penances, in the midst of the simplified and somber season of Lent, because we are being drawn closer to Christ and renewed in his likeness! How could we not be joyful? Laetare Sunday, now past, reminds us that this season of penance and conversion is joyful, indeed, as one of the Lenten prefaces states (perhaps that has sounded awkwardly in our ears if we have heard it before): "Lord, each year you give us this joyful season..."

Sometimes, due to having ashes smeared on our heads, reflecting on our sinfulness, and struggling with our unruly body's demand for the thing given up for Lent, we forget how joyful we should be that Christ freely bestows on us his grace that our baptismal dignity may be restored!

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