The Cause of our Joy

The VerbumQUO for today is "Laetáre", which in English is the verb "Rejoice" or "To be joyful." It is taken from today's Introit and is why today is called Laetáre Sunday. The theme of joy - the noun - in the midst of Lent resounds throughout today's liturgy for the Fourth Sunday of Lent.
Michael Cain
Editor, The Daily Catholic

      Editor's Note: This series highlights one word from the Proper of the day's Mass. Taking the Latin Verbum and Quotidianum, which mean respectively "Word" and "Daily", we have coined the word "Verbumquo" by contracting quotidianum to quo and running it together as VerbumQUO for this feature series, thus "The Daily Word," as in the sum of the message, the 'quotient', if you will. It is also our hope that in choosing the Latin word with its meaning and etimology more will be attuned to hearing the word read at the altar and better comprehend the beauty of the Mother tongue. Hopefully in this Time of Lent we can gain a higher appreciation and contemplation on how the Daily Proper of the Holy Mass applies in our lives in alignment with the will of Christ and His Blessed Immaculate Mother and His Mystical Bride, His Holy Roman Catholic Church.

    The VerbumQUO for today's Proper of the Fourth Sunday of Lent is Laetáre which is, of course, the verb "Rejoice" as a form of "to be joyful" or "be full of joy" and the form of this verb translates into the noun "joy." Thus, the VerbumQUO chosen today, Laetáre - pronounced LAY-TAR-AYE - with the emphasis on the accent or bold in the phonetics, is the Latin verb "to be joyful" or "Rejoice." There really is no English definition derived from this Latin word, which also can be translated Gaudete as "Rejoice" which we observe in the midst of Advent. The closest we have from this is the French for "joy" which Webster's provides the following:

    "rejoice" - verb, [From the Old French resjoir (3rd pl. pres. rejoissent) from re + Old French esjoir to rejoice, from es- (Latin, ex) - Old French joir from Latin gaudere to rejoice. To give joy to; to gladden - v.i. To feel joy or great delight. - rejoicer, noun, rejoicing, noun Act of one who rejoices; joy; also an occasion or expression of joy. Joy noun, [Old French, joie, from Latin gaudia, plural of gaudium joy, from gaudere to rejoice, be glad.]" (From this we get the phrase joie de livre - the joy of life.) "1. The emotion excited by the acquistion or expectation of good; gladness; delight. 2. State of happiness; bliss. 3. That which causes happiness."

    What greater cause of happiness than God, and what greater worship of Him than in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass which Father Faber called "the greatest thing this side of Heaven." That is why the Holy Mass begins with joy as we see in the Opening Antiphon for the Prayers at the foot of the altar before the Judica me in the Ordinary of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass:

      V. Introibo ad altare Dei.
      R. Ad Deum qui laetificat iuventutem meam.
      V. I will go in unto the altar of God.
      R. To God who giveth joy to my youth.

    This joy will be shortlived in this season of Lent for next Sunday, which is Passion Sunday, until Holy Saturday the Judica me will be omitted that we might focus on the Passion. But for today it is a time of joy. This theme resounds throughout today's Proper of the Mass for Laetare Sunday beginning with the Introit from Isaias 66: 10-11:

      Laetáre, Jerúsalem: et convéntum fácite, omnes qui dilígitis eam: gaudéte cum laetítia, qui in tristítia fuístis: ut exsultétis, et satiémini ab ubéribus consolatiónis vestræ. V. Laetátus sum in his, quæ dicta sunt mihi: in domum Dómini íbimus.
      Rejoice, O Jerusalem, and come together all you that love her; rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow: that you may exult, and be filled from the breasts of your consolation. V. I rejoiced at the things that were said to me: We shall go into the house of the Lord.

    For this day, Dom Gueranger weighs in with why this Sunday is dedicated to the Joy of the Lord:

    "The seventy years' captivity will soon be over. Yet a little while, and the captives shall return to Jerusalem. This is the idea expressed by the Church in all the chants of today's Mass. She ventures not to pronounce the heavenly Alleluia; but all her canticles bespeak jubilation; for, in a few days hence, the the house of the Lord will lay aside her mourning, and will be keeping the gladdest of her feasts. In the Collect, the Church acknowledges that her children deserve the penance they are going through; but she begs that, today, the hope of the coming divine consolations may refresh their spirits. The full force of the closing word of her prayer, is that they may breathe awhile."

    Yes, this is a respite - a day of drinking in the joys of an oasis in the midst of the desert of Lent for the children of the New Jerusalem - Holy Mother Church and the Heavenly Jerusalem - are no longer slaves as today's Epistle points out from Galatians 4: 22-31 in which the Apostle Paul says:

      Fratres: Scriptum est: Quóniam Abraham duos fílios hábuit: unum de ancílla, et unum de líbera. Sed qui de ancílla, secúndum carnem natus est: qui autem de líbera, per repromissiónem: quæ sunt per allegoríam dicta. Hæc enim sunt duo testaménta. Unum quidem in monte Sina, in servitútem génerans: quæ est Agar: Sina enim mons est in Arábia, qui conjúnctus est ei, quæ nunc est Jerúsalem, et servit cum fíliis suis. Illa autem, quæ sursum est Jerúsalem, líbera est, quæ est mater nostra. Scriptum est enim: Laetáre, stérilis, quæ non paris: erúmpe, et clama, quæ non párturis: quia multi fílii desértæ, magis quam ejus, quæ habet virum. Nos autem, fratres, secúndum Isaac promissiónis fílii sumus. Sed quómodo tunc is, qui secúndum carnem natus fúerat, persequebátur eum, qui secúndum spíritum: ita et nunc. Sed quid dicit Scriptúra? Ejice ancíllam et fílium ejus: non enim hæres erit fílius ancíllæ cum fílio líberæ. Itaque, fratres, non sumus ancíllæ fílii, sed líberæ: qua libertáte Christus nos liberávit.
      Brethren: it is written that Abraham had two sons; the one by a bond-woman, and the other by a free-woman. But he who was of the bond-woman was born according to the flesh; but he of the free-woman was by promise. Which things are said by an allegory. For these are the two testaments; the one from Mount Sina, engendering unto bondage, which is Agar: for Sina is a mountain in Arabia, which hath affinity to that Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children: but that Jerusalem which is above is free, which is our mother. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not; for many are the children of the desolate, more than of her that hath a husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born according to the flesh persecuted him that was after the spirit, so also it is now. But what saith the Scriptures? : Cast out the bond-woman and her son; for the son of the bond-woman shall not be heir with the son of the free-woman. So then, brethren, we are not the children of the bond-woman, but of the free; by the freedom wherewith Christ hath made us free.

    The renowned Benedictine Abbot relates in volume 5 of The Liturgical Year the following on this Epistle:

       "Let us, then, rejoice! We are children not of Sina [Sinai], but of Jerusalem. Our mother, the holy Church, is not a bond-woman, but free; and it is unto freedom that she has brought us up. Israel served God in fear; his heart was ever tending to idolatry, and could be kept to duty only by the heavy yoke of chastisement. More happy than he, we serve God through love; our yoke is sweet and our burden is light (St. Matthew 11: 30). We are not citizens of the earth; we are but pilgrims passing through it to our true country, the Jerusalem which is above. We leave the earthly Jerusalem to the Jew, who minds only terrestrial things, is disappointed with Jesus and is plotting how to crucify Him. We also have too long been grovelling in the goods of this world; we have been slaves to sin; and the more the chains of our bondage weighed upon us, the more we talked of our being free. Now is the favorable time; now are the days of salvation: we have obeyed the Church's call, and have entered into the practice and spirit of Lent. Sin seems to us, now, to be the heaviest of yokes; the flesh, a dangerous burden; the world, a merciless tyrant. We begin to breathe the fresh air of holy liberty, and the hope of our speedy deliverance fills us with transports of joy. Let us, with all possible affection, thank our divine Liberator, Who delivers us from the bondage of Agar, emancipates us from the law of fear, and making us His new people, opens to us the gates of the heavenly Jerusalem, at the price of His blood."

    What beautiful words that have been so lost today when the modern conciliar church seeks to appease man rather than God; seeks to placate the Jews in their bondage by telling them a lie that their wait for the Messias is not in vain and that another will come when He has already come and freed His people. It truly gives us cause to rejoice in our freedom, but to also reflect in prayer on those still in bondage to the political correctness of the times in pleasing man through ecumenism, humanism and the heresy of universal salvation. In the Gradual (Psalm 121: 2, 7) and Tract (Psalm 124: 1-2) we can see the truths of the New Jerusalem as Dom Gueranger explains:

       "The Gradual expresses the joy felt by the Gentiles, when invited to enter the house of the Lord, which has now become their own. The Tract shows God protecting His Church, the new Jerusalem, which is not to be conquered and destroyed as was that first one. This holy city communicates her own stability and security to them, that are in her, for the Lord watches over both the mother and her children."
      Laetátus sum in his, quæ dicta sunt mihi: in domum Dómini íbimus. Fiat pax in virtúte tua: et abundántia in túrribus tuis.
      I rejoiced at the things that were said to me: We shall go into the house of the Lord. Let peace be in Thy strength, and abundance in Thy towers.

      Qui confídunt in Dómino, sicut mons Sion: non commovébitur in ætérnum, qui hábitat in Jerúsalem. Montes in circúitu ejus: et Dóminus in circúitu pópuli sui, ex hoc nunc et usque in sæculum.
      They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Sion: he shall not be moved forever that dwelleth in Jerusalem. Mountains are round about it: so the Lord is round about his people, from henceforth now and for ever.

    The Gospel ties in perfectly with this theme for it is in the desert that Christ's followers have come to hear Him, unmindful of their own needs of food and drink, so thirsty are they to hear the Word. In the midst of this arid time, Jesus rewards them with the loaves and fishes, the former a precursor to the Bread of Life that ever refreshes in Holy Communion. We see the miracle in today's Gospel from Saint John 6: 1-15:

      In illo témpore: Abiit Jesus trans mare Galilææ, quod est Tiberíadis: et sequebátur eum multitúdo magna, quia vidébant signa, quæ faciébat super his, qui infirmabántur. Súbiit ergo in montem Jesus: et ibi sedébat cum discípulis suis. Erat autem próximum Pascha dies festus Judæórum. Cum sublevásset ergo óculos Jesus, et vidísset quia multitúdo máxima venit ad eum, dixit ad Philíppum: "Unde emémus panes, ut mandúcent hi?" Hoc autem dicébat tentans eum: ipse enim sciébat quid esset factúrus. Respóndit ei Philíppus: Ducentórum denariórum panes non suffíciunt eis, ut unusquísque módicum quid accípiat. Dicit ei unus ex discípulis ejus, Andréas frater Simónis Petri: Est puer unus hic, qui habet quinque panes hordeáceos, et duos pisces: sed hæc quid sunt inter tantos? Dixit ergo Jesus: "Fácite hómines discúmbere." Erat autem fœnum multum in loco. Discubuérunt ergo viri, número quasi quinque míllia. Accépit ergo Jesus panes: et cum grátias egísset, distríbuit discumbéntibus: simíliter et ex píscibus quantum volébant. Ut autem impléti sunt, dixit discípulis suis: "Collígite quæ superavérunt fragménta, ne péreant." Collegérunt ergo, et implevérunt duódecim cóphinos fragmentórum ex quinque pánibus hordeáceis, quæ superfuérunt his, qui manducáverant. Illi ergo hómines cum vidíssent quod Jesus fécerat signum, dicébant: Quia hic est vere Prophéta, qui ventúrus est in mundum. Jesus ergo cum cognovísset, quia ventúri essent ut ráperent eum, et fácerent eum regem, fugit íterum in montem ipse solus.
      At that time, Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee which is that of Tiberias; and a great multitude followed Him, because they saw the miracles which He did on them that were diseased. Jesus therefore went up into a mountain, and there He sat with His disciples. Now the pasch, the festival day of the Jews, was near at hand. When Jesus therefore had lifted up His eyes, and seen that a very great multitude cometh to Him, He said to Philip, "Whence shall we buy bread that these may eat?" And this He said to try him; for He Himself knew what He would do. Philip answered Him, Two hundred penny-worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one may take a little. One of His disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, saith to Him, There is a boy here that hath five barley loaves and two fishes; but what are these among so many? Then Jesus said: "Make the men sit down." Now there was much grass in the place. The men therefore sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves; and when He had given thanks, He distributed to them that were set down. In like manner also of the fishes, as much as they would. And when they were filled, He said to His disciples, "Gather up the fragments that remain, lest they be lost." They gathered up therefore, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above to them that had eaten. Now those men, when they had seen what a miracle Jesus had done, said, This is of a truth the prophet that is to come into the world. Jesus therefore, when He knew that they would come to take Him by force and make Him king, fled again into the mountain Himself alone.

   In The Liturgical Year the Abbot Gueranger has some beautiful words on this holy Gospel:

       "These men, whom Jesus has been feeding by a miracle of love and power, are resolved to make Him their King. They have no hesitation in proclaiming Him worthy to reign over them; for where can they find one worthier? What, then, shall we Christians do, who know the goodness and the power of Jesus incomparably better than these poor Jews? We must beseech Him to reign over us, from this day forward. We have just been reading in the Epistle, that it is He Who has made us free, by delivering us from our enemies. O glorious liberty! But the only way to maintain it, is to live under His Law. Jesus is not a tyrant, as are the world and the flesh; His rule is sweet and peaceful, and we are His children rather than His servants. In the court of such a King 'to serve is to reign.' What, then, have we to do with our old slavery? If some of its chains still be upon us, let us lose no time, let us break them, for the Pasch is near at hand; the great feastday begins to dawn. Onwards, then, courageously to the end of our journey! Jesus will refresh us; He will make us sit down as He did the men of the Gospel; and the Bread He has in store for us will make us forget all our past fatigues."

    This beautiful reality is carried out in the Offertory and given credit in the Secret whereby we beg God to increase our devotion, our stamina for Lent and ask, as His children, to gain from the merits of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass the grace to persevere for, as Dom Gueranger says, "we are assisting, for it is the source of our salvation." He adds the following comments for the Communion and Postcommunion for today's Mass:

       "In the Communion-anthem, the Church sings the praise of the heavenly Jerusalem, which is figured by the basilica of Holy Cross, as we have already explained. She speaks of the joy of the tribes of the Lord, who are assembled in this venerable temple, and are contemplating, under the graceful symbol of the rose, the divine Spouse, Jesus. The fragrance of His perfection draws our hearts after Him. The divine mystery of the Bread of Life has been brought before us, that we might believe and love it. The Church, therefore, in the Postcommunion, prays that we may have the grace to receive this august mystery with becoming respect and careful preparation."

    The Abbot speaks of the Basilica of the Holy Cross which is the Station at Rome for today's Mass and the rose he mentions is the "golden rose" - a tradition first begun by Pope Leo IX in the eleventh century. This medieval tradition began in the Lateran Palace where the Pontiff blessed a golden rose - another reason today the vestments are rose-colored, rather than violet - and, in procession, the Pope would hold up the golden rose for all to see in his journey to the Basilica of the Holy Cross where he would bequeath the rose with joy to a worthy person or country of honor as a show of respect and gratitude by the Holy See. The rose represented a symbol of joy and, as Fr. Gueranger points out in prayer:

    "O God! by Whose word and power all things were created, and by whose will they are all governed! O Thou that art the joy and gladness of all Thy faithful people! we beseech Thy divine Majesty, that Thou vouchsafe to bless and sanctify this rose, so lovely in its beauty and fragrance. We are to bear it, this day, in our hands, as a symbol of spiritual joy: that thus the people that is devoted to Thy service, being set free from the captivity of Babylon by the grace of Thine only-begotten Son Who is the glory and the joy of Israel, may show forth, with a sincere heart, the joys of that Jerusalem, which is above, and is our mother. And whereas thy Church, seeing this symbol, exults with joy for the glory of Thy Name; do Thou, O Lord! give her true and perfect happiness. Accept her devotion, forgive us our sins, increase our faith; heal us by Thy word, protect us by Thy mercy; remove all obstacles; grant us all blessings; that thus this same Thy Church may offer unto Thee the fruit of good works; and walking in the odor of the fragrance of that Flower, which sprang from the root of Jesse, and is called the Flower of the field, and the Lily of the valley, may she deserve to enjoy an endless joy in the bosom of heavenly glory, in the society of all the saints, together with that divine Flower, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen.'"

    Oh, what we have lost in the greater majority of the Church today because of the conciliar church's insistence on wreckovating not only the holy Altar of the Lord, but gutting the essence of the propitiatory sacrifice and eliminating such wisdom of a one-year liturgical cycle where Holy Mother Church, in her inspired wisdom, provided nourishment for century upon century upon century and populated the heavenly Jerusalem. And that is what it is all about, salvation. The thrice-defined Dogma of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus - "Outside the Church there is no Salvation." There are not many churches where the Holy Ghost resides, but One Church, the very Church founded by Christ and reinforced in today's Proper of the Mass as the new Jerusalem, freed of the bondage of the Old Testament severity, and given the everlasting Bread of Life miraculously confected in every true Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It is truly a day to rejoice and to reflect on the Cause of our Joy.

Michael Cain, editor, The Daily Catholic

VerbumQUO for the FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT (Laetare Sunday