Two things today-
#1- today is the third Sunday in Advent, also known as 'Gaudete Sunday'. The celebrant wears 'rose' or 'pink' colored vestments at Mass, and we light the pink candle on the Advent Wreath. I heard a wonderful explanation for the reason why 'rose' or 'pink' is the liturgical color for this week while listening to the Catholic Channel. I've heard lots of reasons but this one was so striking that I wanted to share it with you.
They say that the night is always darkest before the dawn. At dawn, the sky is a deep rose and gradually becomes pink, and then, we see the light of the sun.
This imagery reminds us that we waited in darkness for the promised Savior, Jesus. His coming was the fulfillment of the promise of the Father--dawn and light that triumphed over darkness.
In Advent, it is a time of waiting...but when we get to the third Sunday of Advent, it is almost Christmas- and the readings at Mass repeat, "Rejoice!". So, we rejoice at the dawn because it points us to the light that will overtake the dark very soon! Isn't that a great image?
#2- I had to share with you an amazing book that I just finished reading. It is called, How Dogs Love Us. This was a fascinating experiment by a neuroscientist to decode the brain of dogs. There is a lot of science in this book, but the story itself is incredible. If you click on the link you can go to the Amazon link.
I knew all my life that my dogs loved me-and they knew how much I loved them. I really like the recent story that Pope Francis supposedly said that we will see our beloved pets in heaven. I know the Church has always taught that animals have inanimate souls- but that didn't mean they wouldn't be in heaven, right? Although, apparently, the quote attributed to Pope Francis is not quite correct- but a guy named Pope FRANCIS ...hello! He took the name of the Saint who is the patron saint of animals and the environment! Zillions of churches have the annual, "blessing of the animals" all over the world! How is this not understood- that our precious pets are waiting for us in heaven?
Anyhow, about the book- the experiment proves that dogs have, "theory of mind" which means that they have an extraordinary empathy with human emotions; that they do love us and that they share a most unique relationship of friendship and love with humans among all of the animal kingdom.
Now, you will cry when you read the chapter, "Lyra". I bawled my eyes out. So, be prepared. But by the end of the book, you will, "Rejoice".
And that is what Gaudete Sunday is all about.