“It’s not pink; it’s rose.”
Laetare Sunday and its Advent sister Gaudete Sunday often find priests explaining how they are not dressed in a “pink dress,” but a rose chasuble. The vestment color for today inevitably draws the curiosity of the faithful.
Since the color is so rarely used, it seems to be one of those “Catholic memories” folks have from their childhood and love to relive each Advent and Lent. I often overhear fathers of young children proudly teaching them how to say two of the few Latin words they know, and how these Sundays are a bit of a “break” from the penitential season, and a time to rejoice in the glory that is to come at Christmas and Easter. The rose vestments symbolize this anticipation of glory while being in the midst of penitence.
For those of you with young children, I recommend taking purple paint and white paint from their art supplies to demonstrate what happens when the colors are mixed together in equal proportions. The resulting rose paint will help you explain the halfway point of Lent. During Lent, the clergy will wear purple and in Easter, the vestments will be white. The halfway mark of these two colors is rose, and rose reminds us of both the penitence of Lent and glory of Easter.
This is more than just trivia, it is a call to conversion. Lent, in many respects, is a microcosm of the whole of Christian life. The rose colored vestment should remind us that we are now halfway through Lent. Perhaps we have been good with our Lenten observances or perhaps not. Now is the time to examine how we have been doing up to this point.
If we have done well, recommit to your promise. If we have not done so well, recommit to your promise. Examine why you’ve failed or why you’ve succeeded. Then make the adjustments to continue the success or eliminate the failures.
We can take the same approach as we reflect on our lives. How have you lived as a Christian since last Easter? Perhaps well, perhaps not. Either way recommit. Examine why you have succeeded, or why you have failed overall or in certain areas. Then recommit to overcoming those sins.
The Lord delights in us. He delights when we make commitments to live better by His grace and when we recommit after failure or in success. So, rejoice this Sunday, and recommit to the Christian life.