Posted by: matt25 | December 16, 2012

Rejoice In The Lord Always! Really? I Need Help.

Today is Gaudete Sunday.  The third Sunday of Advent when we are called and reminded to rejoice.  But how are we to rejoice in the face of the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary on Friday.  How can we do anything other than weep and rend our garments?  Let me share a few things with you that may help you as they have helped me.

My pastor Fr Charles Zadora helped us struggle with this paradox in his homily today which was similar to the homily my friend Deacon Don Weigel posted on his blog.  I imagine pastors all over the country must be taking similar approaches in the face of such evil.  Being with my faith community helps.

My long time friend, former pastor and teacher, Fr. John Mack posted this as his status this morning.  Drawing from the past helps.

Gaudete Sunday. Lament & longing have long marked Advent sentiments…  Advent in its truest sense serves as sacred space shaped by that longing & lamentation that lingers in the lukewarm embers of restless hearts grown cold & inattentive in the face of sharp destructive winter winds & dwindling light. Without that practical and real sense acknowledging a less-than-perfect world, a sensibility ancient in origin yet present to us on this somber Advent “rejoicing” Sunday, our dedication to anticipation & preparation celebrating the beauty of the Incarnation at Christmas is just pretending.

Another friend, Mary Momot Ofs shouted with thanksgiving this morning, “Today the 3rd anniversary of being cancer free!!! My wish is for more people to be able to say that!”  Being reminded to see the good things in life and not to focus only on the bad, helps.

Prayer helps too.  So we will pray together and individually.  We will pray as we weep and rend our garments.  We will pray and struggle to rejoice in the understanding that to rejoice is a much deeper thing than to be happy and it flows deep beneath the turbulent waters of daily life.

So let us pray for all who were touched by this tragedy, the scars of which will never disappear on this earth.  Let us also pray for the conversion of our own hearts that will lead to the conversion of our culture, leading us to a world where life is so cherished that these things never happen.

Victims at Sandy Hook

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