Blue is for boys and pink is for … ?
OK, it’s not for girls — at least not this Sunday, the Third Sunday of Advent. Today, you will see pink or rose colored vestments at Mass and the lighting of the pink Advent candle on the wreath. The pink or rosy color is meant to symbolize joy since this is Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday. Its title refers to the first word of the entrance antiphon: “Rejoice in the Lord always.”
The readings today also speak of joy, especially the psalm response: “My soul rejoices in God my savior.”
As many will recognize, the psalm response this Sunday is not from the Book of Psalms, but from Luke’s Gospel and are the words of Mary’s Magnificat.
So, there is a girl involved. As we reach the mid-point of Advent, our readings switch from a focus on the coming of the Lord at the end of time to the coming of the Lord within time. Likewise, our focus turns more to St. John the Baptist, who announced that coming, and to Mary, Jesus’ mother.
During this past week, we have honored Mary at both the feast of the Immaculate Conception last Monday (Dec. 8) and on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Dec. 12. On Dec. 17, the Gospel reading will give us Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus, ending with Mary: “Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.”
As you look around the church today, what reminds you of Mary, the mother of God? There are the obvious statues and stained glass windows. There may also be a rosary on a wall or a statue may hold a brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, given by Mary to St. Simon Stock in a 13th century apparition.
If your church has bells or a carillon, you may hear the Angelus rung at noon or 6 p.m. as you come or go from Mass. The Angelus prayer honors Mary through the greeting which the archangel Gabriel gave to Mary at the Annunciation.
Votive candles in the colors of blue and white also remind us of Mary — especially the blue, because the color white is a color that honors virginity, but also the resurrection and all the saints.
You may hear Advent hymns that remind us of Mary, such as “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming,” “Maria Walks Amid the Thorn” or even “O Sanctissima.”
There might even be the scent of roses in the air, since roses are the flower of Mary, and of her appearance as the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Through sights, sounds and scents, we are reminded that — with Mary — we await the coming of Jesus Christ.
Kasten is an associate editor of The Compass and the author of two books: “Linking Your Beads: The Rosary’s History, Mysteries and Prayers” and “Making Sense of Saints.”