EDIT TO ADD:
I find myself adding a few more rejoices in my post after Vespers tonight. I found myself being full of joy for many more things here that have taken place. Especially after praying:
Father, precious in your sight is the death of the saints, but precious above all is the love with which Christ suffered to redeem us. In this life we will fill up in our own flesh what it is still lacking in the sufferings of Christ; accept this as our sacrifice of praise, and we shall even now taste the joy of the new Jerusalem.
As I ponder this day more, I need only to add one REJOICE, for the simple fact that it is our Lord’s grace that I am still here to have any day, good or bad. (END EDIT TO ADD)
Gaudete Sunday, the Third Sunday of Advent
A reflection on the rejoicing that has come about from a bad day…. No time for pride when humility is in order.
Yesterday morning, about three minutes before my children left for school, my daughter informed me she needed black shoes for her hand bell concert later that afternoon. The night before, I had taken her shopping for a shirt and we could have addressed it then. BUT she had not informed me of what she needed. I was not exactly joyful at the news she had withheld from me until that moment. She had found one shoe but was unable to find the other. With my health issues, it is next to impossible for me to go digging through a teenagers room, which looks as if a category 5 hurricane hit. Having not been able to get in both of the children’s rooms since May, we are talking complete disaster. I had been trying to teach my children the importance of “order”. If you take it, put it back. No one had the time to listen to that.
So, I gave her my shoes to which she complained; “They were to big!” which I new was not exactly truthful as she is almost the same size as I am. Last year, I had bought her a pair of boots only 2 sizes smaller than my size. She just didn’t like the shoes I had. “I’m a size 6!” she yelled at me, which was completely incorrect. Grudgingly she took them, with much hesitation and complaining. I was then advised she was going to be performing off school grounds for a Christmas show, which she never mentioned, nor my husband tell me about. She was getting a ride from school, but needed to be picked up at 5:45. I had planned on attending Holy Mass at 5:30 PM, for the feast of St. John of the Cross. Disappointment began to set in.
On our way to school, I was informed that one child did not have a lunch. After dropping of the children at school, I returned home, waited a while, and went back with a lunch. Returning back home, I had to get ready for a concert at the school directly after lunch. As I began to get ready, with only fifteen minutes to get back, I received a call from my daughter telling me to look for her black shoe. As I began to speak the phone when dead. I called the school back and the receptionist began to tell me that my daughter MUST have the black shoes. I had advised the receptionist that I was in no condition to go looking at this point, and I had given her my shoes to wear. She began to tell me that my daughter said they did not fit. I informed the receptionist that those were the only shoes we have at this time and my daughter would just have to make due with what she had, and the conversation ended there. I got up, went to both bedrooms and began to look for the shoe without success.
Again, back in the truck to return to the school for the concert after 10 minutes to get ready now. The street department decided that 1 PM was a perfect time to shut down traffic to re-stripe the street. I sat and the stress built within.
I arrived at the school, and as I entered Church and sat down, the children were almost ready to begin. As they did, I observed my daughter walking up without the shoes I had given to her, and wearing her white gym shoes. They began to play and the principal of the school came to me to tell me, my daughter was not going to be able to participate in the concert directly after this one, without proper black shoes. The tone she used was not in tune. Keep in mind, if you are in a hand bell concert, and you miss, or are not there to perform, the ENTIRE concert is thrown off without you. They would be leaving at 2:45. It was now 1:10 I looked up at our Lord on the cross, bit my tongue, and said okay. I will do something. She walked away, I got up from my seat, and walked out. Unable to watch my daughters performance, I jumped in my truck, fuming at the way this played out. Knowing without a doubt that none of this needed to happen. But it did. I looked down, realized I was almost out of gas, stopped at a station, fueled up and began to head to ANY store with black shoes.
As I got to the store, parking was miserable. I found a spot (REJOICE!) a little walking distance and took it. I walked into the store and headed to the shoe section. I found a few black shoes with many sizes. (REJOICE!) Okay…. What size? She was dishonest about the size this morning, so do I buy one in every size and then hope one of them fit her? I bought two different sizes. Went to check out, stood in line, got ready to pay and realized my debit card was missing. I looked at the cashier, and told him I needed to run out to my truck. Ran back out, got to my truck and realized my keys were missing. I tried my door and it opened (REJOICE!). I had left not only my debit card, but my keys right in view for anyone to take. They were both still there with my truck. (REJOICE!) By this time, my entire body began to ache. I walked back to the store, waited in line again, the cashier still had the bag of shoes (REJOICE!) and I paid for the them, drove back to the school, walked into the concert, sat down and immediately felt the pain in my back radiating into both of my legs. I could not sit there. I got up, walked to the office and dropped them off, with a message for my daughter to call me.
At that moment, I almost broke into tears. It was going to be a very ugly cry. The physical pain and the emotional were both adding up. I regained my composure, contemplating on our Lord and biting my tongue. (REJOICE!) I left, and went back home, with only a half an hour to head back to school and pick up my other daughter.
When I arrived home, the call came from my daughter. One of the pair of shoes I dropped off, fit perfectly. (REJOICE!)
After picking up my other daughter, my husband informed me that he was leaving early from work and would be picking up my daughter from the concert she was performing at the time she needed to be picked up. (REJOICE!). As they both arrived home, we ALL had an extensive conversation about the serious need for communication, personal responsibility, listening and following orders. (REJOICE.) The other pair of shoes I had bought, ended up fitting my youngest daughter. (REJOICE!).
Today, the pain in my back and legs is not as bad, and both of my daughters are taking this day to clean up their rooms completely. (REJOICE!)
REPENT! PREPARE! PREPARE! PREPARE! Yesterday is gone. We only have now. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. Do not put off what is needed now, so you can Rejoice!
The crowds asked John the Baptist,
“What should we do?”
He said to them in reply,
“Whoever has two cloaks
should share with the person who has none.
And whoever has food should do likewise.”
Even tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him,
“Teacher, what should we do?”
He answered them,
“Stop collecting more than what is prescribed.”
Soldiers also asked him,
“And what is it that we should do?”
He told them,
“Do not practice extortion,
do not falsely accuse anyone,
and be satisfied with your wages.”Now the people were filled with expectation,
and all were asking in their hearts
whether John might be the Christ.
John answered them all, saying,
“I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor
and to gather the wheat into his barn,
but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
Exhorting them in many other ways,
he preached good news to the people.