Sunday Reflection, Third Sunday of Advent (December 14, 2014): Rejoice!


“Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.” — Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

This Sunday is the Third Sunday of Advent, or Gaudete Sunday (Rejoice!).  The readings can be found here. The theme a call to rejoice and celebrate God’s presence even in this Advent Season of waiting.  As Pope Francis said in his encyclical Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel):

“The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades. This is a very real danger for believers too. Many fall prey to it, and end up resentful, angry and listless. That is no way to live a dignified and fulfilled life; it is not God’s will for us, nor is it the life in the Spirit which has its source in the heart of the risen Christ.”

This week’s reflection comes from Sacred Space 102fm in West Limerick, Ireland (and is attributable to St. Louis University).  The reflection is short but powerful as it captures the essence of being joyful in the presence of God even a bad situation. You can read the full reflection here but set forth below is a summary:

“Henri Nouwen was once asked: “Are you an optimist?” His reply: “No, not naturally, but that isn’t important. I live in hope, not optimism.”

Teilhard de Chardin once said the same thing in different words when he was accused of being overly-idealistic and unrealistic in the face all the negative things one sees in the world. A critic had challenged him: “Suppose we blow up the world with a nuclear bomb, what then happens to your vision of a world coming together in peace?” Teilhard’s response lays bare the anatomy of hope: “If we blow up the world by nuclear bombs, that will set things back some millions of years, but eventually what Christ promised will come about, not because I wish it, but because God has promised it and, in the resurrection, God has shown that God is powerful enough to deliver on that promise.”

Hope is precisely that, a vision of life that guides itself by God’s promise, irrespective of whether the situation looks optimistic or pessimistic at any given time.”

Read Full Reflection

Other Resources:

Reflection for Gaudette Sunday Last Year
Living Space
Creighton Online Ministries


About William Ockham

I am a father of two with eclectic interests in theology, philosophy and sports. I chose the pseudonym William Ockham in honor of his contributions to philosophy, specifically Occam's Razor, and its contributions to modern scientific theory. My blog ( explores Ignatian Spirituality and the intersection of faith, science and reason through the life and writings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (pictured above).
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8 Responses to Sunday Reflection, Third Sunday of Advent (December 14, 2014): Rejoice!

  1. Lynda says:

    When we live in the light of the Resurrection, no matter our circumstances, we can say confidently with Julian of Norwich: “…all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well…” Thank you for sharing that beautiful quote from Teilhard. Have a meaningful and peace-filled Gaudete Sunday.

  2. Excellent commentary by Pope Francis on the state of our world today.
    In the days and weeks ahead, I hold on to Chardin’s insight: “Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.”

  3. Barry Blackburn says:

    Where exactly does the quote by Teilhard “Joy is the infallible sign…” come from? Did he write it in a letter? In one of his books? As a Rel. Ed. Dept Head, I had that quote on my office wall for 14 years–seeing it every day soooo I’m curious! Thanks for this. (B. Blackburn, Toronto)

    • Barry:

      Embarassingly, I do not know specifically where that quote came from. I probably should be more thorough :-). The quote is based on Philippians 4:4 and Teilhard liked the writings of St. Paul. I will try to find out the specific origins.

      W. Ockham

      • Barry Blackburn says:

        Dear W,
        Sincere Thanks for your reply. I should really THANK YOU for this wonderful, really wonderful site.
        Barry Blackburn, Toronto

      • Barry:

        Thank you so much for the kind words. I am glad you enjoy and stop by this site. It is a treasure of love and it is nice to connect with sincere people like you around the world.

        W. Ockham

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