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Why rose vestments should remind us of the sunrise

Foggy summer sunrise in the Carpathian mountains

Andrew Mayovskyy | Shutterstock

Philip Kosloski - published on 12/16/23

Rose is meant to be a color of joy and is often the last and most brilliant color seen before the sun rises over the horizon.

The Church lightens the penitential season of Advent on the 3rd Sunday, permitting the use of rose-colored vestments.

This color, while often jokingly referred to as “pink,” has deep spiritual symbolism.

First of all, this color should remind us of hope, as an issue of The American Ecclesiastical Review explains:

On the third Sunday of Advent … when there is a momentary interruption of the penitential strains lest the soul wrapt in continuous darkness might become disconsolate, the Church permits—with the sounds of music and the flowers on the altar—a light purple approaching rose color, to indicate the tone of hopeful joy which mingles with and relieves the application to penance. It is the encouraging caress of the Spouse, our holy Mother, bidding her sons and daughters to keep on bravely in the spirit of faith.

In addition to being a symbol of hope, it should also remind us of the sunrise.

Rose before the dawn

Often when viewing the sunrise right before the sun begins to peak above the horizon, theclouds will reflect a brilliant rose colored glow.

The color rose, in this case, signals to us that the sun will soon rise. It should not be difficult to see the spiritual symbolism of wearing rose vestments near the end of Advent.

The Church signals to us that Christ, the Sun of Justice, will soon rise!

Even one of the Great Antiphons in the final days of Advent echoes this symbolism.

O Radiant Dawn,
splendor of eternal light, sun of justice:
come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the
shadow of death.

When you see rose vestments during Advent, remember the sunrise and lift up your hearts in hopeful expecation!

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