Waiting: Joy (Advent Week 3)

Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, Gaudete¹


“Rejoice! Again, I say rejoice!”
These words penned
in prison—
written by
an old man,
in a cell
on death row.
He was almost
blind but
still hoped
he’d taste
His release.


“Rejoice! Again, I say rejoice!”
Though the
The dark
is long and dusk
devours days,
Behold, a
light shines

the Sun’s rays—
a joyful rage,
against the
dying of
the night.


“Rejoice! Again, I say rejoice!”
The Theotokos
aching and sore,
her hips hurt.
And back.
She’s so tired now,
she lowers herself down
on the couch,
rests her hand
on her belly,
she smiles and asks:
How Long, O Lord?


One day soon:
kings will topple
from their thrones,
the poor will rise,
the hungry feast,
and broken mend;
whole and healthy,
the lame leap,
blind see,
and every
prisoner will
be free.
“Rejoice! Again, I say rejoice!”

[1] The Introit to the Latin Mass for the Third Week in Advent, Gaudete Sunday,  is the Latin translation of Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord Always, I will say it again: Rejoice!”  This week is all about joy, the rose candle a joyful reprieve to the season’s penitential purple.

On Singing a New Song:

Yesterday, Advent started. As the season begins we note that we are in a time of waiting. To wait, means to anticipate what lies ahead, everything is not yet as it should be. The world is still tense and broken. The poor are shut outside the city gates, they hunger and thirst. The mourners weep, our grief is raw. Many are hated, excluded, reviled, persecuted.

But Advent begins, also, with a symbol of hope: a single candle lit against the lingering dark. The darkness does not overcome it. 

Recognizing that all is not as it should be, is to say the moment we are longing for has not arrived. We are here, in the in-between, and honestly, it feels like we’re all singing the same old song. This is where I live my life. I am a middle-age-man, vocationally frustrated and feeling stuck. I am a chrysalis, life is stasis. I no longer crawl but I have yet to become, to break free into the light, to stretch out my wings and grab the sky.

Do you feel this too? Does life feel stuck? We sing the old songs: ♪ ♫ Clowns to the Right, Jokers to the Left and I’m Stuck in the Middle with You ♪♫ Or: ♪♫  I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.

I came across these words from Augustine in Martin Shannon’s My Soul Waits (Paraclete, 2017)  yesterday morning:

Strip off the oldness; you know a new song. A new person, a New Covenant, a new song. People stuck in the old life have no business with this new song; only those who are new persons can learn it, renewed by grace and throwing off the old, sharers in the kingdom of heaven. All our love yearns toward that kingdom, and in its longing our life sings a new song. Let us sing this song not only with our tongues, but with our lives. (5)

Jesus is coming and has come, and though we wait, and all is not as it should be, we can sing a new song! This is a season of hope. What does it mean for us, today, to yearn toward the Kingdom? How do we sing a new song and sing our way to a new way of being? What is our new song?

O Light of the World, shine in our darkness. 

See the source image