Friday, May 24, 2013
THE DEVIL YOU SAY, AGAIN AND AGAIN? AND LITURGICAL CASUALNESS
To all the Italian Bishops, excerpts of Pope Francis meditation at a "Liturgy of the Word" below and the entire talk HERE.
“Do you love me?”; “Are you my friend?” (Cf. Jn 21:15 ff)
The question is addressed to a man who, despite his solemn declaration, was overcome by fear and went back on his word.
“Do you love me?”; “Are you my friend?”
The question is addressed to me and to each one of you, to all of us: if we avoid reacting too hastily and superficially, it encourages us to look within, to enter into ourselves.
“Do you love me?”; “Are you my friend?”
Every ministry is based on this intimacy with the Lord; to live in him is the measure of our ecclesial service, which is expressed in an openness to obedience, to emptying of self, as we heard in the Letter to the Philippians, to total giving (cf. Phil 2:6-11).
Moreover, the consequence of loving the Lord is giving everything - absolutely everything, even one’s very life - for Him: this is what must distinguish our pastoral ministry; it is the litmus test that shows how profoundly we have embraced the gift received in response to the call of Jesus, and how we are joined to the people and the communities that have been entrusted to us. We are not expressions of a structure or an organizational need: even with the service of our authority we are called to be a sign of the presence and action of the Risen Lord, and so, to build up the community in fraternal charity.
The lack of vigilance - we know – makes the Pastor lukewarm; he becomes distracted, forgetful and even impatient; it seduces him with the prospect of a career, the lure of money, and the compromises with the spirit of the world; it makes him lazy, turning him into a functionary, a cleric worried more about himself, about organizations and structures, than about the true good of the People of God. He runs the risk, then, like the Apostle Peter, of denying the Lord, even if he is present to us and speaks in His name; the holiness of the hierarchy of Mother Church is obscured, making it less fertile.
THE RECURRING REFERENCE TO THE DEVIL, THIS TIME AMONGST BISHOPS:
As it was for Peter, the insistent and heartfelt question of Jesus can leave us saddened and may leave us more aware of the weakness of our freedom, beset as it is by a thousand internal and external constraints, which often cause confusion, frustration, even disbelief.
These are certainly not the feelings and attitudes that the Lord intends to arouse; rather, the Enemy, the Devil, takes advantage of them to isolate us in bitterness, in complaints, and in discouragement.
MY FINAL COMMENTS:
As you can see in the video and as Rocco Palm states at Whispers in the Loggia: "While the event ranked as a liturgical occasion – and the Sistine Choir and ceremonies crew all donned choir dress – Papa Francesco and the prelates wore the simple "house cassock," which has been the new pontiff's invariable daily wardrobe since his election for everything but Masses. Following the rite, meanwhile, instead of the long-standing custom of prelates queueing up to pay their respects to the Pope at his throne, Francis spent well over a half-hour snaking through the multiple rows of seats in front of the main altar alone, warmly greeting the bishops one by one at their places."
This "casual or street wear" at a liturgy outside of Mass where everything else is not casual is a bit disconcerting from a liturgical point of view and must be driving the masters of ceremonies to high anxiety. Liturgically, there is a clash between the lesser ministers of this liturgy and the pope himself who is not vested for a liturgy. I am not sure what to make of this other than it is a set back for the liturgy of the Church apart from Mass.
It also appears that perhaps the pope was unaware of the nature of the liturgy since his lack of vesture for it is so odd and, well, illicit, especially for a pope. Not even for the solemn blessing at the end of this liturgy does the pope don a stole, the least that would have been expected. I wonder if he even met with the masters of ceremonies for them to inform him of the solemn nature of this "para-liturgy?" Keep in mind, for the pope to be in this solemn liturgical prayer containing the Liturgy of the Word, a blessing to the vested deacon and a solemn final blessing and to only wear a house cassock, the equivalent of a clerical shirt and suit, is, well, extremely unfortunate.
Even at the end, the MC is conferring with Pope Francis about what he is to do next, since the bishops would have come to him at his chair. But the MC does not know until the end that the Pope is going to go to the bishops and snake is way around the chairs to greet each of them. That's fine, but he should have met with the MC ahead of time to tell him that and the MC should have told him ahead of time, Holy Father wear at least a stole for the entire service, even if he has a phobia of mozzettas.
Typically a priest who wears as street clothes a house cassock, which is what Pope Francis wears, would don a surplice and stole at least for a non Mass liturgy and for more solemn celebrations a stole and cope. For the pope, typically it has been a surplice of a variety of styles, Benedict liked lace, the mozzetta and stole as pictured here:
And Pope John Paul II wearing the same: