Look Up – The Third Look of Advent

3rd Week of Advent

Our Journey 

We start week 3 of our Advent journey with “Gaudete Sunday.”  Gaudete is Latin for “rejoice,” and in the Latin text of the Mass for the third Sunday of Advent, it’s the very first word.   It says, “Rejoice in the Lord.”

For these Advent weeks, we’ve been focusing on four different ways of looking at our lives.

  1. To look out
  2. To look down
  3. To look up
  4. To look in

So following the lead of the Mass, this week we will be rejoicing as we focus on looking up.

Story

Pace, pace.  Sweat, sweat. This is a really difficult and hard experience for Zach. Push, push, he told himself. Zach was almost three quarters of the way through his first marathon race and he was feeling the excitement. Zach was running to beat Leukemia; he trained for over year with his team and at this moment things were going very well.

Now as Zak approached the 16 mile point, he broke out in a smile. He felt the pleasure of knowing that he could really run a marathon. This joyful smile revealed a gentle confidence. Zach knew that at the end of this race really good things could and would be happening to him. No longer were these miles barriers but they were a source of joy for Zach.

Journey

All of us getting to the third week of Advent is like being the racer Zach in the story. Although we are not finished our Advent journey, we know that the finish line is not far away. We also know that a reward awaits us.

So, we are challenged to look UP from the Advent concentration on improving our lives to make a home for Christ Jesus. When we look up – we find joy! It is then through this joy that we can truly “Rejoice!”

Today, I took the picture attached to this article in my parish. Our Advent Wreath is suspended from the ceiling of the Church. For years I have just focused on the candles in the picture (right), and I missed an important aspect. In other words, I did not see everything in the picture. However, when I stood on a ladder and looked up, I saw Mary in the distance – right in the middle of the wreath. It seemed that Our Blessed Mother was calling to me. Mary wanted to assure me to be joyful and to rejoice. Mary, who is carrying the Savior of the World, is a great reason to experience joy!

Joy is a deep fulfillment experienced when we are overwhelmed with something good. Joy helps gives my life meaning especially knowing Jesus Christ will be coming to the place I am making for Him – my heart.

Activities of Rejoicing

For people who follow an Advent preparation, this week gives the opportunity to focus on the coming feast of Christmas. Besides the rose candle and the rose vestments, how can this week be different?

Of course, prayer is always a wonderful way of encountering the joy of the Lord. In the last days remaining before Christmas, we can be sure to give rejoicing a chance, by spending some quality time each day alone with God in prayer. Maybe focusing our prayer to just praise would be different for many. Thank and praise God for coming to save us and letting us experience true Christian joy. So, purposely try to joyfully praise God. How few times in my life do I remember being asked to set aside time to rejoice.  Most of the time joy is spontaneous.

Also,I know one family that rejoices this week by putting up their Christmas tree and placing the Creche at a prominent place in their domestic church. What ideas can you share with us for making this week extra special?

God bless you and your families this week and remember that our God want us to rejoice this week. What a gift!

For Your Reflection

From a Ministry Perspective:

  1. In what areas of your ministry do you find as a source of joy?  How are you a source of joy for others?  Have others seen you rejoice?
  2. What joyful ideas can you share with your brothers and sisters in ministry for making this week extra special?”

From a Domestic Church Perspective:

  1. In your Domestic Church, as parent, sibling, widow or single, where do you find sources of joy?  Are you a source of joy for others?  Have others seen you rejoice?
  2. What joyful ideas can you share with your domestic church for making this week extra special?”

I would love your feedback, thoughts, stories and ideas. Please share your comments below.

Gaudete,
Deacon Tom


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About the Author

Deacon Tom Frankenfield is a Permanent Deacon from the Archdiocese of Omaha who is currently serving the people of Mary Our Queen Parish in Omaha. He is a Spiritual Director, Retreat Master and noted speaker. For fun, he is a storyteller, potter, puppeteer, guitarist and poet. Deacon Tom is married and has three grown children and three amazing grandchildren.

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