Advent Week 3: The Candle of JOY – the fire of God’s love

“We were on fire in that light which is God, and yet we were not burnt. What is God?
We could never put it into words.” (St. Francisco Marto

(CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

The third week of Advent focuses on JOY and that is why the candle we light is pink, the liturgical color for joy. It is also called the “Shepherd’s Candle” because of the joy of the shepherds in the field who were told by the angel, “Behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord” (Lk 2:11).

St. Luke refers to Jesus as Savior, Messiah, Lord. This savior was born for ALL the people – Jew and Gentile alike. Rather than a political figure who would deliver just the Israelites from an oppressive government system, this Messiah would rescue all of humanity from sin and the condition of alienation from God.  After finding the baby lying in the manger, just as the angel had said, the shepherds went away glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen (cf Lk 2:20).

St. Francisco Marto, after having experienced the light of God at Fatima, could not explain in human terms what is God. He could only rejoice in the fire of His love that he felt inside. What is God for us?  Are we looking for a Messiah who can only deliver us from an earthly suffering?  How we limit God – making finite what is infinite.  The great saints who lived through some of the worst of situations kept their focus on the infinite glory of God and experienced great joy. He can do ALL things and nothing is impossible for Him.

What gives you joy? When you light the pink candle of Advent, ask the Messiah, the Savior, the Lord to give you that joy which cannot be put into words.

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