Gaudate, Gaudate, Christus est natus. Ex Maria, Virgine, Gaudate!

g961.jpg

If my reckoning is correct, I’ve missed Gaudate Sunday. I was horribly late this year in purchasing Advent candles. I’m normally a very observant cultural Catholic. It should be the third Sunday of Advent, that is to say, a week ago. The great thing about Advent candles (a bit of a Lutheran as well as a Catholic and Anglo-Catholic tradition) is that you can really capture the excitement that gradually builds as Christmas approaches. So us adults can share in the fun of the time between the end of school and the big day (“is it Christmas yet?”)…

ADDITIONALLY: I also missed Hanukah… About eleven years ago, I had a Jewish flatmate and I was very privileged to celebrate festivals such as Passover with him and his friends. I’m interested to read about the Hanukah candle lighting rituals – the Hanuyikah. It has such a familiar feel – I wonder how many Jewish observances and rituals were transposed into early Christianity.

ELSEWHERE: David Tiley at Barista notes a regrettable coincidence with Hanukah.

Basically, you have four candles – and you light one each Sunday (and light each successive candle – ie on the Second Sunday of Advent you light the first two). Three are purple. As a liturgical colour, purple tends to mean contemplation – particularly in Lent. But in Advent, its meaning is somewhat different. It means watchful anticipation. The great thing about the third candle is that it is rose – a very rarely used liturgical colour that signifies joy. Hence – Gaudate Sunday – Gaudate is Latin for “Rejoice!”.

On Christmas day itself, or better at the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve, or when you return from Midnight Mass, you light all four Advent candles and one larger gold or white one. In Catholic theology, this is what’s called a sacramental. I like the parallel between the doctrine of the Incarnation and the use of earthly material things that still have a meaning far exceeding their lowly functionality.

So, in the spirit of Sophie’s evocation of Christmas past and future, I thought I’d let you know what we do to mark the occasion here in New Farm. My wish, Gaudate Sunday or not, is for everyone to have a very joyful day!

About Mark Bahnisch

Mark Bahnisch is a sociologist and is the founder of this blog. He has an undergraduate degree in history and politics from UQ, and postgraduate qualifications in sociology, industrial relations and political economy from Griffith and QUT. He has recently been awarded his PhD through the Humanities Program at QUT. Mark's full bio is on this page.
This entry was posted in Religion, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
17 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Nabakov
Nabakov
2022 years ago

My god, all these strange christian sects and cults are so confusing. I’ve also heard some of ’em practice ritual symbolic cannibalism.

Weird.

sophie
sophie
2022 years ago

Nice post, Mark. I love all the symbolism and ritual too–it’s very beautiful. And it’s absolutely true, about the beauty of the whole idea of the Incarnation being expressed in material, earthly terms..the abstract idea of God is not one that attracts me at all.
Dear, dear, Nabokov–that comment of yours was obviously designed to ruffle Catholic feathers, cultural or otherwise! I refuse to be drawn! Merry Christmas anyway.

michael carden
michael carden
2022 years ago

A friend of mine recentrly visted the US and came back with a gift for me – an Our lady of Guadalupe candle. It’s a candle encased in a glass sheath on which is a picture of the Guadalupe image. It’s quite gorgeous and I’ve put it beside my glow-in-the-dark Virgin Mary and my wooden Buddha. The Buddha, BTW, was taken up into Christianity sometime in the 4th/5th centuries under the name of St Josaphat. Stories about the Buddha coming back to Syria and Egypt from newly established Indian Christian communities so impressed the mother churches that they figiured he must have been a saint. Unfortunately I think Josaphat was purged by the Vatican 30 yrs ago but the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Christians still keep him in their calendars. ROme and the Vatican are just but one jurisdiction of the broader Catholic faith and traditions

caroline
caroline
2022 years ago

What’s the point of being culturally Catholic; the beautiful rituals are meant to express an inner reality of the sublimity of God. I direct you to Oscar Wilde, who loved the beauty and ritual of the Catholic faith and who, on his death bed, repented his sybaritic life and converted to the one true faith.

“Aint nothing like the real thing”, a quote from a popular song reveals, to me, our longing for the true and the absolute. Your consent to outward beauty means nothing.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

caroline, with all the respect in the world, who are you to judge the state of my faith? Can you see into my soul?

Your attitude is what annoys me about the sort of Catholic sectarianism I was complaining about on the previous post (linked above). The Church should be catholic in the true sense of the word. Wasn’t there something about lost sheep in the Gospel? Rather than trying to reach out, you seem more concerned with building a wall around your certainty.

To be honest with you, I find your comment offensive. I don’t want to get into this argument here though as it’s quite contrary to the spirit with which I wrote the post.

blank
blank
2022 years ago

ex virgine, actually.
virgo, virginis (third declension)
ex takes an ablative.

The form “virginae” does not exist.

kelli
kelli
2022 years ago

Thanks for the spirit of your message. The symbolism of joyful anticipation around Advent is beautiful indeed. There’s even more beauty in the anticipated event itself, and it’s very much an ‘earthly, material’ one. God, omnipotent, for our sakes and His glory poured into the body of a helpless child. To me, Christ’s body is the ultimate in ‘material things with a meaning far exceeding their functionality’.
Thanks also for openly sharing your spiritual journey/explorations, in this and previous posts. I’m sure you’re not discouraged by the strange perspective that you must hurry up and reach a definition of your faith that satisfies others. I hope you and God take your own sweet time!

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Thanks, blank, I’m not a classical scholar – found the verse on the Internet.

And thanks also, kelli, for your kind words. Hope you have a great Xmas!

rnr
rnr
2022 years ago

Mark

Have you heard the Steeleye Span version of Gaudate? If not is is well worth a listen. The full lyrics are as follows:

Chorus
Gaudete, gaudete Christus est natus
Ex Maria virginae, gaudete
Gaudete, gaudete Christus est natus
Ex Maria virginae, gaudete.

Verse 1
Tempus ad est gratiae hoc quod optabamus,
Carmina laetitae devote redamus.

Chorus

Verse 2
Deus homo factus est naturam erante,
Mundus renovatus est a Christo regnante.

Chorus

Verse 3
Ezecheelis porta clausa per transitor
Unde lux est orta sallus invenitor

Chorus

Verse 4
Ergo nostra contio psallat jam in lustro,
Benedicat domino sallus regi nostro.

Chorus

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Thanks, rnr – I haven’t heard it! Interesting that the verse you quote also has the noun form “virginae” – I’ve been thinking about that and the explation is probably that Church Latin is a different beast to Classical Latin!

Brendan Scott
Brendan Scott
2022 years ago

Nice reflection, Mark. Gaudate Sunday is indeed a bit of buzz in the old Mass – the rose vestments like that you’ve displayed here, rose incense, etc.. It has a counterpart in Lent (whose name I’ve forgotten), and marks a halfway point through Advent – not long to go now!

I’ll be in Sydney during Christmas, so I might be able to attend Midnight Mass at Our Lady of the Maternal Heart, Lewisham – should be fantastic!

Re Josaphat, the Catholic Encyclopedia has this to say: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02297a.htm
To be fair, it works both ways – many of the ceremonies in Buddhism (especially Tibetan) are thought to be derived from Catholic or Nestorian ceremonies.

Nabakov
Nabakov
2022 years ago

“…that comment of yours was obviously designed to ruffle Catholic feathers…”

I was actually having a go at religions per se. But hey, if you papist mackerel snappers wanna feel persecuted for a change…again, knock yourselves out – while you have the chance in this world.

“…the beautiful rituals are meant to express an inner reality of the sublimity of God…”

Yep, I like the bells and smells, the vox-friendly acoustics, the transcendental stained glass windows at magic hour (pre-rave party lightshows) and the general tranquil yet tantalising peace of a great cathedral as much as God’s other spawn. I just don’t see why some old bloke in a dress, who’s never experienced a guilt-free orgasm, should mediate yer life outside that experience.

If anything, I’m a Potterite Lifemanshipman.

” “Yes, why don’t you come to church for once, you old sinner?”

blank
blank
2022 years ago

virginae is just a mistake/typo.

In church Latin virginae and virgine would be pronounced the same.

In church Latin it is ‘virgine’.
Remember the Credo in Latin?
“Et incarnatus est de spiritu sancto ex Maria Virgine”

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

I’m sure you’re right about the grammar, blank – but it is odd that the same spelling turns up in every recorded instance of the chant – must be a particularly persistent scribal error!

blank
blank
2022 years ago

Here are 3 site where they’ve got it right!

hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/…/gaudete_gaudete_christus_est_nat.htm

http://www.csupomona.edu/~jcclark/emusic/lyrics/gaudete.html

http://www.trouz.net/texte/gaudete.html

and there are LOTS more!

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

ok, thanks, blank – we can’t have our ablatives misspelt I guess – it’s fixed!

johnj
johnj
2022 years ago