Monday, April 04, 2011

Laetare Sunday

The Fourth Sunday in Lent is called "Laetare Sunday" coming from the first words of the Introit in the Mass.  Laetare means "joyful" in Latin.  The vestments are rose (pink), like on Gaudete (which similarly means "rejoice").  

The Twelve Fruits of the Holy Spirit
Today our priest's sermon was on the Fruits of the Holy Spirit, and he focused upon the "joyful" aspect.   The twelve Fruits of the Holy Spirit are charity (or love), joy, peace, patience, benignity (or kindness), goodness, longanimity (or long suffering), mildness, faith, modesty, continency, and chastity. 

First of all, we must consider what a "fruit" is.  A fruit is something which comes from something else.  For example, the orange tree preexists the orange, which is the fruit of the orange tree.  The Holy Spirit is what precedes the Fruits of the Holy Spirit, obviously but an important factor to contemplate here is in order for a tree to produce fruit, it must be cultivated.  In order for the Holy Spirit to produce fruit in a person there must be cultivation and growth of the Holy Spirit within that person.  Baptism infuses Sanctifying Grace (the Holy Spirit) into a person - but if nothing is done to cultivate the Holy Spirit within that person, then there will never be any fruit. 

Charity/Love comes first.  If we have charity/love then we will have joy.  Joy brings peace.  Peace brings patience and so on.  And here on Laetare Sunday we are focused on joyfulness.  God is love, and when we are thinking on God - we are brought into joyfulness, for love brings joy.  When we think of anyone we love, we attain the fruit of joy.  If your memory is on a lost loved one - focus your attention on the joy that person brought you - and that fruit is yours!

This sermon helped me greatly in thinking on my daughter, who passed away on February 6th this year.  She truly brought much joy into our lives.  I thank the Lord for this sermon today - it was just what I needed to hear.
 

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