Truly we should rejoice in the Lord: Gaudéte in Dómino. This is introduced in the Introit and carried throughout the Mass, especially the Epistle where St. Paul tells the Philippians, “The Lord is nigh, rejoice in the Lord.” We pray that our faith and hope in Jesus Christ our Lord, always increase! Like St. John, Precursor of Our Lord, who announced the coming of the Messiah, telling of His majesty and greatness, we must join the Baptist in effacing ourselves before Him never be afraid to give testimony of the true Light – the Savior of the world. At Christmas Christ will come to deliver us more and more from the bondage of sin.
The third Sunday of Advent, so called from the first word of the Introit at Mass (Gaudete, i.e. Rejoice). The season of Advent originated as a fast of forty days in preparation for Christmas, commencing on the day after the feast of St. Martin (12 November), whence it was often called “St. Martin’s Lent”– a name by which it was known as early as the fifth century. The introduction of the Advent fast cannot be placed much earlier, because there is no evidence of Christmas being kept on 25 December before the end of the fourth century (Duchesne, “Origines du culte chrétien”, Paris, 1889), and the preparation for the feast could not have been of earlier date than the feast itself. In the ninth century, the duration of Advent was reduced to four weeks, the first allusion to the shortened season being in a letter of St. Nicholas I (858-867) to the Bulgarians, and by the twelfth century the fast had been replaced by simple abstinence. St. Gregory the Great was the first to draw up an Office for the Advent season, and the Gregorian Sacramentary is the earliest to provide Masses for the Sundays of Advent. In both Office and Mass provision is made for five Sundays, but by the tenth century four was the usual number, though some churches of France observed five as late as the thirteenth century. Notwithstanding all these modifications, however, Advent still preserved most of the characteristics of a penitential season which made it a kind of counterpart to Lent, the middle (or third) Sunday corresponding with Laetare or Mid-Lent Sunday. On it, as on Laetare Sunday, the organ and flowers, forbidden during the rest of the season, were, permitted to be used; rose-coloured vestments were allowed instead of purple (or black, as formerly); the deacon and subdeacon reassumed the dalmatic and tunicle at the chief Mass, and cardinals wore rose-colour instead of purple. All these distinguishing marks have continued in use, and are the present discipline of the Latin Church. Gaudete Sunday, therefore, makes a breaker like Laetare Sunday, about midway through a season which is otherwise of a penitential character, and signifies the nearness of the Lord’s coming.
INTROIT Philippians 4: 4-6
Rejoice in the Lord always: again I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men: for the Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous: but in everything by prayer let your petitions be made known to God.(Ps. 84: 2) Lord, Thou hast blessed Thy land: Thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob. v. Glory be to the Father…
Incline Thy ear, we beseech Thee, O Lord, to our petitions: and, by the grace of Thy visitation, enlighten the darkness of our minds. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God., Forever and ever. R. Amen.
Collect for the Blessed Mother
O God, Who didst will that at the message of an angel Thy word should take flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary: grant that we, Thy suppliants, who believe her to be truly the mother of God, may be helped by her intercession with Thee.
Collect for God’s Holy Church
Graciously hear, O Lord, the prayers of Thy Church that, having overcome all adversity and every error, she may serve Thee in security and freedom. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever. R. Amen.
EPISTLE Philippians 4: 4-7
Lesson from the Epistle of Blessed Paul the Apostle to the Philippians. Brethren, Rejoice in the Lord always: again I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men: for the Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous: but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Psalm 49: 2,3, 5
Thou, O Lord, that sittest upon the cherubim, stir up Thy might and come. V. Give ear, O Thou that rulest Israel: that leadest Joseph like a sheep. Alleluia, alleluia. V. Stir up, O Lord, Thy might, and come to save us. Alleluia.
GOSPEL John 1: 19-28
At that time the Jews sent from Jerusalem priests and levites to John, to ask him: Who art thou? And he confessed: I am not the Christ. And they asked him: What then? Art thou Elias? And he said: I am not. Art thou the Prophet? And he answered: No. They said therefore unto him: Who art thou, that we may give an answer to them that sent us? He said: I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the Prophet Isaias. And they that were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said to him: Why then dost thou baptize, if thou be not Christ, nor Elias, nor the Prophet? John answered them, saying: I baptize with water: but there hath stood one in the midst of you, whom you know not. The same is He that shall come after me, who is preferred before me: the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to loose. These things were done in Bethania, beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
R. Praise be to Thee, O Christ.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 84: 2-3
Lord, Thou hast blessed Thy land: Thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob: Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of Thy people.
Be appeased, we beseech Thee, O Lord, by the prayers and sacrifices of our humility: and where we lack pleading merits of our own, do Thou, by Thine aid, assist us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R. Amen.
Secret for the Blessed Virgin Mary
Strengthen in our minds, O Lord, we beseech Thee, the mysteries of the true faith, that, confessing Him Who was conceived of the Virgin to be true God and true man, we may deserve, through the power of His saving resurrection, to attain everlasting joy.
Secret for God’s Holy Church
Protect us, O Lord, who assist at Thy mysteries, that, cleaving to things divine, we may serve Thee both in body and in mind. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever. R.Amen.
PREFACE of the Common
It is truly meet and just, and profitable unto salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks to thee, O Holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God, through Christ, our Lord. Though whom the angels praise thy majesty, the dominions adore it, the powers are in awe. Which the heavens and the hosts of heaven together with the blessed seraphim joyfully do magnify. And do thou command that it be permitted to us join with them in confessing thee, while we say with lowly praise:
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Isaias 35: 4
Say, ye faint-hearted and fear not: behold our God will come, and will save us.
We implore, O Lord, Thy mercy: that these divine helps may expiate our sins, and prepare us for the approaching feast. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever. R. Amen.
Postcommunion for the Blessed Virgin Mary
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may, by His passion and cross, be brought to the glory of His resurrection.
Postcommunion for God’s Holy Church
O Lord our God, we pray Thee that Thou suffer not to succumb to human hazards those whom Thou hast been pleased to make sharers of divine mysteries. Through the Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R. Amen.