Gaudete Means Rejoice

Today, Gaudete Sunday, is a joyous occasion, but what does it mean and why is the color rose used? First, the definition. Gaudete means “rejoice” in Latin. Its name is taken from the entrance antiphon of the Mass, which is: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Indeed, the Lord is near. (from Philippians 4:4-5)

The Color Rose

There is also the color rose. This is possibly the most recognizable symbol to many, especially when lighting a rose candle on the Advent Wreath. As a liturgical color, rose is a lightened version of the penitential violet displayed during Advent. Priests wear rose vestments, also indicating anticipation and symbolizing Gaudete Sunday as a joyful feast day. Laetare Sunday, the fourth Sunday in Lent, is like Gaudete Sunday’s break in penance. Rose is worn on that Sunday as well. At home, we can wear pink and even bake pink desserts!

The History

Advent was originally a forty day fast beginning the day after St. Martin’s Day on November 12 and was known as St. Martin’s Lent until the 5th century. In the 9th century, it was reduced to four weeks and by the 12th century abstinence replaced fasting. Read more about the history at Catholic Answers.

“[Gaudete Sunday] is a beautiful reminder that although our preparation for the coming of the Lord has directed our attention inward, calling us to be ready to face our sin in an active way, the reason for this self-examination is one that should bring us boundless joy. Our Gospel [Luke 3:10-18] helps us see this.”
– Gayle Somers, Catholic Exchange

Gaudete Sunday Prayers

Here are some prayers you can say on their own or all together with family and friends:

» Dear God, you know that our hearts long for the joy and gladness promised by life with you. Help us to remember that you are with us always, and that our hearts will rest only when they rest with you.

» Holy Spirit, guide the choices we make throughout this week. Help us endure hardship. Remind us to be patient. Stifle our tendency to complain. Help us realize how much we owe the creator for all we have and all we are.

» Father in heaven, we offer thanks to you for sending John the Baptist to prepare the way for the coming of the savior. Help us to heed the Baptist’s message to repent and to renew our commitment to live in holiness.

» Come Lord Jesus. So often we are impatient for your coming, yet we are fearful of living our lives as one with you. Come and ease our anxiety. Come and reward our patience. Come and remove our sorrow. Our communities and our world eagerly await the day of your birth.

Sources: Catholic Answers, Catholic Exchange, The Catholic Spirit, EWTN

For more about Advent: