WDTPRS – 3rd Sunday of Advent: The childlike dash towards the long-desired thing

Our new rose set for Sung Masses on Gaudete and Laetare when we have an Asperges.  DONATE

We are coming to the 3rd Sunday of Advent, also nicknamed Gaudete…. the plural imperative of gaudeo, “Rejoice!”, the first word of the Introit chant.  This Sunday there is a relaxation of the penitential aspect of Advent, just Laetare Sunday does during Lent.

Yes, Advent is a penitential time, though not so much as Lent.  Advent is a time for joyful penance or penitential joy.

Remember: Real priests wear rosacea.

In the first week of Advent we begged God for the grace of the proper approach and will for our preparation.

In the second week, we ask God for help and protection in facing the obstacles the world raises against us. This Sunday we have a glimpse of the joy that is coming in our rose colored (rosacea) vestments, some use of the organ, flowers. Christmas is ever nearer at hand.

COLLECT – (2002MR)

Deus, qui conspicis populum tuum nativitatis dominicae festivitatem fideliter exspectare, praesta, quaesumus, ut valeamus ad tantae salutis gaudia pervenire, et ea votis sollemnibus alacri laetitia celebrare.

The infinitives in our Collect (expectare… pervenire… celebrare) give it a grand sound and also sum up what we are doing in Advent. L&S informs us that conspicio means, “to look at attentively, to get sight of, to descry, perceive, observe.” Alacer is, “lively, brisk, quick, eager, active; glad, happy, cheerful” and it is put in an unlikely combination with laetitia, “joy, especially unrestrained joyfulness”.

At the same time we also have votis sollemnibus. Votum signifies first of all, “a solemn promise made to some deity” (we have all made baptismal vows!) and also “wish, desire, longing, prayer”.

There is a powerful sentiment of longing in this prayer, God’s as well as ours.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that expecto is from ex- + pecto (pecto, “to comb”). Exspecto is “look forward to, await, long for, dread” in your L&S.  You can also comb through your copy of the etymological dictionary of Latin by Ernout and Meillet which says it is from ex– + *specio, spexi, spectum or ex- + spicio. Therefore, it is a cousin of conspicio: God “watches” over us and we “look” back at… er um… forward to Him. This word play is clever.

Furthermore, sollemnis, related to sollus, i.e. “totus-annus“, points to something that takes place every year.  So, it basically means “yearly, annual”.  Thus, by extension it means something that takes place at appointed times, such as rites of a religious character and that which is does by custom.


O God, who attentively watch Your people look forward faithfully to the feast of the Lord’s birth, grant, we entreat, that we may be able to attain the to joys of so great a salvation and celebrate them with eager jubilation in solemn annual festive rites.


Lord God, may we, your people, who look forward to the birthday of Christ experience the joy of salvation and celebrate that feast with love and thanksgiving.

You decide.

Rose vestments from the days of Fr. Finigan in Blackfen. Then came the regime change….

With the last two week’s of “rushing” in our prayers and doing good works, we have now the added image of eager and unrestrained joy, an almost childlike dash towards a long-desired thing.

Have earthly fathers watched this scene all of a Christmas morning?

Even so should we be in our eager joy to perform good works under the gaze of a Father who watches us, a Father with a plan.

The obsolete ICEL version captures little of the impact of the Latin prayer, that is, God the Father is patiently watching his people as we go about the Advent business of doing penance and just works in joyful anticipation Christ’s coming.

O God, who see how your people faithfully await the feast of the Lord’s Nativity, enable us, we pray, to attain the joys of so great a salvation, land to celebrate them always with solemn worship and glad rejoicing.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in ADVENT, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Prayerful says:

    ICEL translations seem really flat. Part might have been ideological, and part an effort at a sparse aesthetic, but usually it seemed boring and flat.

  2. priests wife says:

    Fr Z- please read this notice from the archdiocese of Portland about a woman- missing 7 days from the adoration chapel at Holy Rosary https://www.facebook.com/archdpdx/photos/a.874578709283254.1073741827.424037624337367/1242656222475499/?type=3&theater

    your readers are the kind of people who might see her at an adoration chapel- please consider sharing! Thank you

Comments are closed.