Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete. Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus: Dominus enim prope est. Nihil solliciti sitis: sed in omni oratione petitiones vestræ innotescant apud Deum. Benedixisti Domine terram tuam: avertisti captivitatem Jacob.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Let your forbearance be known to all, for the Lord is near at hand; have no anxiety about anything, but in all things, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God. Lord, you have blessed your land; you have turned away the captivity of Jacob. ~Philippians 4:4–6; Psalm 85 (84):1
The Chrysler museum has a very beautiful exposition of icons from the British Museum and the Museum of Russian icons in Massachusetts.
On Gaudete Sunday we mark the halfway point of our journey through the Advent season in preparation for the celebration of the Solemnity of the Nativity of our Lord. During these final days of preparation we can experience this exhibit as an oasis of tranquility and peace in the midst of all the busyness that often distracts us from what is most important, that is, our life in Christ.
When you enter the exhibition let an icon draw you into its gaze. Take a few moments and be attentive to the details. An icon can draw you into contemplation of the beauty of the Christian mystery. Take time to notice details that can stretch our religious imagination. There is a way of reading an icon, that, more than looking at art, draws one to contemplate the beauty of heaven, which is our human destiny. An icon can draw you into the mystery of the divine presence of God. This short video will help you read several icons and thus make your visit spiritually enriching.
Also remember the upcoming presentation at the Chrysler, Sound of the Saints.
On this third Sunday of Advent I decided to celebrate Mass at 9 as well as 11 am. The first Mass was at Saint Michael church. The parish choir sang the Alma Redemptoris Mater. Mass by Tomas de Victoria. There were twelve teenaged servers and two censers, there were candles and thick incense. Once again a full church and excellent congregational hymns that I was familiar with but instead of English texts they were in German.
After Mass I went to Bürgersaal for the second Mass. I had some time to explore the lower church where blessed Rupert Mayer is buried, and behind the altar is a museum with artifacts from his life and a video presentation. I was very drawn in to the presentation of his life and his resistance to the Nazis. On the wall was a quotation from him, “I say to you clearly that a German Catholic can never be a National Socialist.” I was very taken by his Gospel witness in the face of ideological fanaticism that was evil.
Mass at the Bürgersaal was exquisitely beautiful. The choir sang the J C Siblinger Mass for a women’s choir with harp. Once again a full church with great congregational singing.
After Mass I proceeded to Saint Peter church. When I entered you could still smell the aroma of incense. Another beautiful Baroque church.
From there I spent the whole afternoon until early evening at the Residenz which was the former residence of the Bavarian kings and has housed a museum since 1920. It sustained heavy bombing; however the restoration is once again remarkable. The Schatzkammer includes items as the Bavarian crown insignia, liturgical vessels and jewelry and furniture. I have included a few photos of a few of the many treasures housed there.
The palace is extensive and you get a sense of the surroundings of the court and how the tastes of the times change. The royal chapel was very beautiful.
When I left the museum I went right back to Saint Michael for an Advent concert that was put within a liturgical setting. A women’s choir from Saint Chapel performed Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols. Once again surrounded by great congregational singing and proclamation of the word and preaching! This Gaudete Sunday has been a Sunday of rejoicing. When I stepped into the streets I heard everyone wishing everyone happy Christmas, Frohe Weihnachten, not “happy holidays.” And that is refreshing and a cause of great joy.