Sunday, March 10, 2013

Lætare Sunday

[Station at the Holy Cross in Jerusalem.]

St. Helena, mother of Constantine lived on Mount Coelius in a palace known as the house of Sessions. She transformed it, in order to keep therein important relics of the true Cross, into a sanctuary which became the Basilica of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem. Hence the Introit, Communion and Tract speak of Jerusalem, which St. Paul in the Epistle compares to Mount Sinai.

Just as the Sunday of Gaudete or “Rejoice” comes in the middle of Advent to excite us with holy joy courageously to continue our diligent preparation for the Feast of Christmas, so the Sunday of Lætare or “Be glad” offers us a rest in the middle of the Lenten observance.

“Rejoice, be thrilled with joy,” says the Introit, for, dead to sin with Jesus during Lent, we are soon to rise again with Him through confession and Paschal communion. Wherefore the Gospel tells us of the miracle of the multiplication of loaves and fishes, symbols of the Eucharist. You might say also, that the multiplication of the loaves is really a type of Christian Passover.

Fr. Goffiné offers further reflection:

The gospel gives the account of Christ providing for those who followed and listened to Him, which is indeed consoling for the poor. God from the beginning of the world has always cared for His own. For the aid and comfort of His chosen people in time of famine God sent Joseph, the son of the Patriarch Jacob, in advance into Egypt: (Gen. XLV. 5.) for forty years He fed the children of Israel in the desert with bread from heaven; (Deut. VIII. 2. 3.) He fed the Prophet Elias by a raven; (III Kings VII. 6.) and thought of Daniel in the lions’ den. (Dan. XIV. 37.) In the New Testament God shows His merciful care for His own, because in great need He fed them marvelously through angels, men, and even animals, as we frequently see in the lives of the saints. Truly has David said: God forsakes not the just, I have been young, and am now old: and I have not seen the just forsaken, nor his seed seeking bread, (PS. XXXVI. 25.) that is, one who sincerely serves Him, and seeks before all the kingdom of God and His justice, as Christ commands. (Luke XII. 31.) Strive to be a faithful child, and you will have God for your father, and with King David you can cast your care upon the Lord, and He will sustain you. You must not think it is enough to pray and trust in God, He demands that you should use your strength to receive help, for if any man will not work, neither let him eat. (II Thess. III. 10.)

If we would sing a joyful Alleluia with the Church on the festival of Easter, we must fulfill her desire, and prepare ourselves to celebrate it worthily. Therefore, we should shun improper, clamorous meetings, and retire often to pray in solitude, especially to meditate on the bitter sufferings of our Saviour, for when man is alone, God speaks to his heart. (Osee. II. 14.) We should carefully examine our conscience, and consider how we stand before God, for upon this day shall be the expiation for you, and the cleansing from all your sins: you shall be cleansed before the Lord; for it is a Sabbath of rest, and you shall afflict your souls, that is, by fasting, watching, and praying. (Lev. XVI. 30-31.) From this Sunday until Easter we should fast more strictly, give more alms to the poor if we are able, or if poor ourselves, bear our poverty more patiently, offering it to Christ in union with His poverty, His hunger, thirst, &c. ; we should make a sincere and contrite confession, and purify our heart from the old leaven of iniquity, that we may keep the Easter meal with Christ in the unleavened bread of purity and truth. (I Cor. V. 7. 8.) For this end we should incite ourselves to holy desires, rise from sin, which is the death of the soul.

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