Sunday, February 01, 2009

Humiliating Priests

I found this on NLM, it is by the good Fr Jerome Bertram of the Oxford Oratory:

Among the treasures of ecclesiastical art, not the least important are the vestments. They were not made to enhance the priest but rather to humiliate him. The priest in his own clothes is only himself, and can attract people or repel them by his own character and his own abilities, or lack of them. But once vested in the raiment of the church, he ceases to be himself, he 'puts on Christ', speaking not in his own name but in that of the church. Vestments are a continual reminder to the priest that he is nothing, only the mouthpiece of the church at the service of the people; they are a continual reminder to the people that the man inside them does not matter, but only the eternal priesthood. They are not the property of the priest to display his affluence or his poverty; they are the property of the whole church, beautiful things for performing the service of the poor. Beauty and colour, splendour and art are offered for all to see and appreciate, so that the poorest outcast may enjoy treasures such that in other societies only the rich can see.


gemoftheocean said...

Beautifully said. I am glad to belong to a church that puts God given talents to His service.

Anonymous said...

Well said Father. The poor rarely have access to beautiful things. It is such a refreshing contradiction to know that the faithful, poor or otherwise can simply walk into the most beautiful spaces on the planet. Can receive the most perfect food essential to life, all for free. All honour glory and praise to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Strange how your post contrasts with Mgr Loftus's take on beauty in the Church. There always seems to be an appetite to strip our Lord in the name of envy and a will to power masquerading as "charity".

Anonymous said...

A poor man I met recently said of the Midnight Mass (which I know had some "hiccups"), "It was my first Mass, I loved the Latin, the singing, I loved the Vestments!"

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