In this lesson we focus on the readings and themes for the Fourth Sunday in Lent. This lesson is intended to be a resource for those seeking to deepen their devotion as well as those seeking Theological instruction or doctrine and prayers for sermons. On Laetare Sunday, the Church uses rose vestments and we celebrate a short reprieve in the discipline of Lent. This lesson shares the many unique traditions associated with this Sunday.
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“Rejoice, O Jerusalem” resounds the Introit of the Traditional Mass on Laetare Sunday, instituting a reprieve in the midst of the penance of Lent. Today at Mass the priest wears rose-colored vestments instead of the typical penitential purple, signifying exteriorly the presence of an internal change in the Church year on this single day. Other changes in the traditional Liturgy include the use of the organ at Mass and Vespers as well as the deacons and subdeacons wearing dalmatics, instead of folded chasubles. “Rejoice, O Jerusalem,” commands the Introit. For thsoe of us who have abstained from meat during Lent—whether from meat or the even more traditional fasting from all eggs and dairy products—today is a day to consume those. There are no penances observed on this joyous day.
The Introit of this day's Mass, which begins with the word Laetare, is as follows:
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. (Isai: LXVI. 10. 11.) I rejoiced at the things that were said to me: We shall go into the house of the Lord. (Ps. CXXI. 1.)
Commentary by Dom Guéranger, O.S.B.
This Sunday, called, from the first word of the Introit, Lætare Sunday, is one of the most solemn of the year. The Church interrupts her Lenten mournfulness; the changes of the Mass speak of nothing but joy and consolation; the organ, which has been silent during the preceding three Sundays, now gives forth its melodious voice; the deacon resumes his dalmatic, and the subdeacon his tunic; and instead of purple, rose-coloured vestments are allowed to be used. These same rites were practiced in Advent, on the third Sunday, called Gaudete. The Church’s motive for introducing this expression of joy into today’s liturgy is to encourage her children to persevere fervently to the end of this holy season. The real mid-Lent was last Thursday, as we have already observed; but the Church, fearing lest the joy might lead to some infringement on the spirit of penance, has deferred her own notice of it to this Sunday, when she not only permits, but even bids, her children to rejoice!
The Station at Rome is in the basilica of Holy Cross in Jerusalem, one of the seven principal churches of the holy city. It was built in the fourth century, by the emperor Constantine, in one of his villas called Sessorius, on which account it goes also under the name of the Sessorian b... Please purchase this lesson to continue learning.
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