What is Gaudete Sunday?

We are almost finished with Advent and the Christmas season is upon us soon. I am not sure how many days left until Christmas, but just pull aside the nearest child, and they can tell you!

Today is the third Sunday of Advent, which is also called Gaudete Sunday. The liturgical color is rose (pink), and many Catholics wonder what has changed during this third week of Lent.

Be sure to check out the article What is Gaudete Sunday for more information.

Lent and Gratitude

I don’t post much these days, because as a husband, father, teacher, and now moving into other ventures, I am pretty busy. However, I am always grateful for the Season of Lent (info here), which always reminds me of the importance of slowing down, and taking inventory of ways I fall short of what God desires.

Lately, I have focused on gratitude and simplicity. As one of my Lenten disciplines, every day I am faithfully listing five things (including people, events, etc) I am grateful for. I have noticed that it is hard to be angry at what you are grateful for. It also makes me appreciate what I have as opposed to desiring more and more stuff that won’t make me happy.

Since 2009, in my classroom, I have had students list things they are thankful for, in addition to prayer requests. I am amazed as I see their minds working to come up with the things in their life that are good. At first it is kind of difficult for them, but once they get started, they are reminded of the hundreds of people, places, events, and things that are blessings in their lives. All of these blessings are all around us, yet we ignore them mindlessly. If you are looking for something helpful this Lent, try listing things you are grateful for each day.

Wishing Our U.S. Readers a Happy Memorial Day

flag drawing

To all of our American readers, you know that today is Memorial Day. Join me in praying for the United States, for those in the military, and for the souls of those who died serving our country.

Prayers for Our Veterans

For Veterans:

Heavenly Father,
we thank you for the selfless service
of those who gave their lives to protect our nation,
preserve our freedoms,
and restore peace in the face of brutal aggressors.
Grant relief to those who continue
to experience emotional or physical agony
from their days of combat.
Give us a sense of responsibility for their welfare.
Comfort those who mourn
for loved ones who died
while performing their duty to our country.
Enlist all who are in our military forces
into your church militant,
that they may pledge eternal loyalty to Christ,
our King, and know his peace. Amen (from wels.net)

For Deceased Veterans:

O God,
by whose mercy the faithful departed find rest,
look kindly on your departed veterans
who gave their lives in the service of their country.
Grant that through the passion, death, and resurrection
of your Son they may share in the joy of your heavenly kingdom
and rejoice in you with your saints forever.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen (from catholic.org)

Happy Memorial Day

To all of our American readers, a blessed Memorial Day to all of you. Many of us have the day off, and will be spending time with family.

I think today is a good time for Americans to contemplate our freedom, the sacrifices many of our friends, relatives, and ancestors have made for our freedom, and to pray for the peace of the world.

Image taken by me

But It’s Not Advent Yet!

At the Thanksgiving gathering, my wife, my children, my parents and I gathered with some friends, Mr. and Mrs. G., and their children, at another friend’s house. These friends are Catholic, and aware that I’ve returned to Byzantine-Ruthenian Praxis. (I took a four year hiatus to see if I could go back to being Roman. I can’t.)

Mrs. G., the matron of the other family, asked, “So, looking forward to turkey and ham tomorrow?”

“I can’t,” I replied. “Fasting.”

“But it isn’t advent or lent!” she replied.

“Phillips fast. Byzantine Advent. Started last week.”

She goggles. She’s a recent convert, having been through RCIA, and baptized, chrismated, and communed last Easter. The Roman parish we both were attending last year dunked her quite well. She was even taught about the Eastern Catholics in her RCIA program, in a vague and “you’ll never meet one” kind of way. She’s a former Lutheran, and possessed of one gift I really wish I had: easy simple faith.

Her husband, who met me during my previous decade-plus stretch as a parishioner at St. Nicholas of Myra Byzantine Catholic Parish, is slightly better informed. He knows where three Byzantine parishes are… two in Florida, and St. Nick’s… but he’s never set foot in one. He’s a cradle Roman Catholic, has outlived his first wife, and is from Florida. His response was milder, “Wow, you start early.”

For me, the Byzantine path has made my faith far easier, tho’ not simple. I still find I need to delve, to seek exactly where and how God wants me to go. For now, it seems, He wants me to be unabashedly Catholic, and definitely Eastern, and to teach Roman Catholics about that other lung Pope John Paul II spoke of. I am able to sing the praises of God in a manner that makes sense to all my senses. And while I’ve not experienced Roman “Liturgical Abuse” and neither has Mrs. G., for me, I can still go through the Motions as a Roman, but find myself feeling a lack. I’m jealous of Mrs. G.’s simple ease with the Roman Church, and thankful for the most successful failure in the Metropolia of Pittsburgh.