4th Sunday of Lent, Laetare Sunday
The Collect of the day bids me ask for compunction of heart, Grant, we beseech Thee, O Almighty God, that we who justly suffer for our deeds may be relieved by the comjort of Thy grace, through Christ Our Lord.
Sorrow, joy! Sorrow for my sins, joy for my salvation! Sorrow for having been a cause of the sufferings of Jesus, joy for having been the beneficiary of the redeeming suffering!
It seems that the Church dare not leave her children too long in the throes of the sorrowful mysteries without sounding at least one note of joy, one word of comfort; that is why on Gaudete Sunday in Advent and on Laetare Sunday in Lent, the violet vestment is replaced by the rose vestment.
Today's entire liturgy is a hymn of joy, from the first word of the Introit to the last word of the Collect, and even throughout the Epistle and Gradual: I was glad when they said to me: Let us go into the House of the Lord. The Gospel tells of the multiplication of the loaves.
But I feel that it is more fitting to make sorrow dominant. I cannot see my Savior approach His crucifixion without sharing His grief. For me that part of the Redemption is infinitely rich and for Him that portion of suffering is most overwhelming.
Justly afflicted, says the Collect. Oh! how justly! I shall go into the House of tke Lord, but at what a cost to the divine Guide who leads me there. The bread will be multiplied on my way and nothing will be wanting to my sanctification, but at what a cost to Him, the Divine Wheat, who has been crushed for love of me.
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)