Sunday, April 3, 2011

Laetare Sunday

This is the 4th Sunday of Lent, which means we are half way there! Too bad my spring cleaning isn't. Today is called Laetare Sunday, which means "rejoice". Here is a little game for you:

1. If you had any flowers on your altar at mass today you have earned a gold star. Flowers are only allowed in the sanctuary on Laetare Sunday during Lent.

2. If you think that men wearing pink is a new trend you lose that gold star, because Catholic priests have been wearing pink on this day for hundreds of years... although they prefer to call it "rose".

3. If your priest was wearing pink today you get one more gold star. He can opt for purple, but pink is way cooler and I say if a priest has to choose between two feminine colors why not go big.

4. If you wore pink today you get 5 gold stars.

Now to bring it all together. Today is also called "Rose Sunday" because the priest wears rose vestments and because this is the day that Popes have blessed and then eventually gifted golden roses to people or places of devotion.  In the beginning the roses were bestowed on royalty or people of importance, but nowadays they are gifted to holy places. The one below was given to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC in 2008. If you ever get the chance to go there see if you can find it.

This tradition is rich in symbolism. First it represents Christ in His shining splendor who is the flower sprung from the root of Jesse which we hear of in Isaiah and Romans. The fragrance of a rose shows the sweet odor of Christ and the thorns refer to his passion. As for its mystical significance, I'll let Pope Innocent III explain: "As Laetare Sunday, the day set apart for the function, represents love after hate, joy after sorrow, and fullness after hunger, so does the rose designate by its color, odor and taste, love, joy and satiety respectively." Good job Pope, couldn't have put it better myself.

This Sunday reminds us that there is JOY in the cross, which should be a great source of happiness for us because without it there would be no salvation. In the end joy is compatible with sacrifice and suffering because it unites us to Christ!

Mostly out of boredom because Kevin is off skiing today, I fashioned my own gold roses from some ribbon and sparkly pipe cleaners I had in my craft box.

Perhaps if it weren't snowing I would have gone out to buy some ice cream to make Laetare Sundaes like they did over at Catholic Cuisine. Oh well, there is always next Lent!


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