Laetare Sunday is the fourth Sunday in Lent, and is a break in the fast of the 40 days of Lent. It is so named from the Introit to the Mass beginning, “Rejoice, O Jerusalem.” The Béguinage is no exception. Flowers are specifically allowed on this Sunday and the altar had wonderfully resplendent bouquets of daffodils from the courtyard which is now replete with nodding daffodils. Wordsworth’s familiar words from high school English class return to bless me:
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Now there is no lake in the courtyard unless the myriad of rather deep puddles qualify from the weeks of consistent rains but there are many tall trees under which these daffodils are sheltered.
The altar drapings changed from the penitential purple to the hopeful pink. Sunday afternoon held a wonderful concert, celebrating Laetare and rejoicing. The church was filled to hear a wonderful Bruggeling (native of Brugge) soprano, and of course our own Ignace Michaels at the organ.
There was a koffie drinken in the guest house afterwards with lively conversation. Koffie drinking is a cultural event here in Belgium no matter the hour. Being American, I like my coffee for breakfast but here it is more of a social institution rather than coffee for breakfast or exam studying. I nearly forgot – chocolates! Belgian chocolates are the most varied, and the best appeared at each of our places to celebrate Laetare. Supper held another special treat…homemade pizza! Many blessings – an oasis – to revive and encourage us in our continued Lenten journey toward Easter.