Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Ave Maria!

Third Sunday of Advent--15 December AD 2013--At Saint Anthony's Mission


“Rejoice in the Lord always.  Again I say rejoice!”[1]

The Mass in Latin and English
Third Sunday of Advent
Dominica Tertia Adventus

Ember Days in Advent

    The Church has us celebrate two penitential seasons each year—Lent, as a preparation for Easter, and Advent (the season we are in right now) as preparation for Christmas.  In each of these seasons the Mass vestments are purple, but about two thirds of the way through each season one Sunday is celebrated in rose colored vestments, as a sign of subdued rejoicing within the penitential season.  These Sundays are known as Gaudéte Sunday and Laetáre Sunday, from the Latin words which begin the entrance hymn—both words are translated as "rejoice."

    It is particularly appropriate that we mark this Sunday of rejoicing with the Baptism of four new Catholics.  Baptism, as you know, confers a “character” on the soul, marking the child forever as a Christian, a member of God's holy Church.  And Baptism, as well, fills the soul with the sanctifying grace that was lost in the fall of Adam and Eve.  In their baptismal innocence, these children are human beings as God intended them to be—much like Adam and Eve at the moment of their creation—and, if I dare to say it, much like the Blessed Virgin Mary in her Immaculate Conception.  So today is truly a day for rejoicing.

    In holy Baptism, the Catholic Faith is handed down to the next generation.  This too is reason for rejoicing—particularly in the modern world where faith is often lacking in civil society and even in the Church.  All around us we see the glorification of evil and ugliness—a paternalistic society that urges us on to irresponsibility and self-gratification lost in mindless entertainment.  In possession of the Faith, these children are the world's hope for sanity and goodness.

    It remains for us—as individual families, and as the union of families in our parish—to nurture that Faith, and to protect the innocence of these children.  As parents it is your privilege and responsibility to teach them the essentials of the Faith.  You can begin with something as simple as teaching them how to pray—not just the words (the Our Father and the Hail Mary, of course)—but also the reality that prayer is direct communication with God and His saints.  As they get older, your teaching can become more intellectual—they can learn about God and the eternal happiness granted them for knowing, loving, and serving Him in this world—they can learn the Commandments, the things that they must or may not do, both to please God and to live a happy life for themselves.  Your church will be there to help you with your teaching.  Hopefully you will inspire a live long thirst for knowledge of God and His creatures.

    It is said that good example is the most powerful method of teaching.  If your children see piety, faithfulness, honesty, industry, scholarship, and peacefulness in you, they are very likely to grow up to become pious, faithful, honest, industrious, studious, and peaceful adults.  Take them to holy Mass as often as possible (take them, do not send them).   See to it that they receive the Sacraments—Holy Communion and Confirmation—as they become of appropriate age.

    So congratulations to parents, Godparents, and children on the reception of holy Baptism.  May this always be a day of rejoicing for you.  "Rejoice in the Lord always.  Again I say rejoice!"


[1]   Epistle:  Philippians iv:4


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