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  #1  
Old Nov 27, '10, 4:03 pm
jkuebler jkuebler is offline
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Default What does the chasuble hide?

The Catechism tells us that in the Eucharistic Liturgy, the role of the celebrant is defined as “in persona Christi,” that is, he is acting in the person of Christ. We can certainly hear the person of Christ as the celebrant says Jesus’ words in Scripture and Prayer, but can we “see” the person of Christ? What we do see is the celebrant draped entirely in a Liturgical garment, the chasuble, with its symbolic Liturgical color. There are many depictions of Jesus in art that help us to visualize Him, but none of the familiar images depict Jesus wearing a chasuble.

In fact, under this Liturgical garment, the celebrant is actually wearing Sacramental garments. In dressing for a Sacrament, the celebrant first puts on a long white robe, the alb, and wraps a cord, the cincture, around his waist. Jesus is most often depicted and described as wearing some kind of long, white garment, which would have been gathered around the waist by a belt. White, although a practical color for the time and place, also symbolizes purity and innocence, the perfect Lamb of God, sacrificed for our salvation.

A long strip of cloth, the stole, is then draped over the shoulders, as a yoke is draped over an ox’s shoulders to harness it to its burden. Jesus Himself gave us this metaphor, “My yoke is easy; my burden is light.” The yoke/stole symbolizes Jesus’ mission: to proclaim the Kingdom of God (3rd Luminous Mystery), the mission that He passed on to His Apostles and their successors. Hiding these vivid and effective symbols under the chasuble seems to violate the proverb that Jesus also gave us: “You don’t light a lamp and put it under a basket.”

How and when could we expose these hidden Sacramental symbols during the Liturgy? As the Liturgy of the Eucharist begins, the Sanctus, with the Hosannas, recalls the beginning of the Paschal Mystery, Palm Sunday, when Jesus paraded into Jerusalem and the men took off their cloaks and placed them on the road in tribute to Him. The celebrant could enter into this action instead of just standing at the altar, waiting for the vocalizing to end. How fitting would be the 2nd line of the Sanctus, “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!” who, without the chasuble, can now be realistically “seen”.

We could then more easily visualize Jesus as the Paschal Mystery is re-presented during the Eucharistic Prayer. The celebrant both narrates and performs Jesus’ actions, extending the reality of the Last Supper and Sacrifice on the Cross to us. The white robe once again symbolizes the innocence of the Lamb as we vocalize the threefold Lamb of God litany, and the celebrant proclaims, “This is the Lamb of God, …”.

The Paschal Mystery continues as, after Communion, the Blessed Sacrament is reposed in the tabernacle and everyone sits quietly, symbolizing the quiet of Jesus’ time in the grave; then we all rise to our feet, symbolizing the Resurrection. After rising, the Paschal Mystery concludes, as Jesus gave the Apostles their final instructions and the Great Commission, “Go and teach all nations …” before taking His leave of them in the Ascension. Similarly, the celebrant gives us our final instructions, blessing, and our on-going assignment, “Go in peace to love and serve …,” before taking his leave.

The Liturgical chasuble is proper for the Liturgy of the Word which is defined by the various Liturgical cycles and feasts, but it should be removed for the Liturgy/Sacrament of the Eucharist, to permit the “person of Christ” to be more realistically depicted in the re-presentation of the Paschal Mystery.
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Old Nov 27, '10, 4:50 pm
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Default Re: What does the chasuble hide?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkuebler View Post
The Catechism tells us that in the Eucharistic Liturgy, the role of the celebrant is defined as “in persona Christi,” that is, he is acting in the person of Christ. We can certainly hear the person of Christ as the celebrant says Jesus’ words in Scripture and Prayer, but can we “see” the person of Christ? What we do see is the celebrant draped entirely in a Liturgical garment, the chasuble, with its symbolic Liturgical color. There are many depictions of Jesus in art that help us to visualize Him, but none of the familiar images depict Jesus wearing a chasuble.

In fact, under this Liturgical garment, the celebrant is actually wearing Sacramental garments. In dressing for a Sacrament, the celebrant first puts on a long white robe, the alb, and wraps a cord, the cincture, around his waist. Jesus is most often depicted and described as wearing some kind of long, white garment, which would have been gathered around the waist by a belt. White, although a practical color for the time and place, also symbolizes purity and innocence, the perfect Lamb of God, sacrificed for our salvation.

A long strip of cloth, the stole, is then draped over the shoulders, as a yoke is draped over an ox’s shoulders to harness it to its burden. Jesus Himself gave us this metaphor, “My yoke is easy; my burden is light.” The yoke/stole symbolizes Jesus’ mission: to proclaim the Kingdom of God (3rd Luminous Mystery), the mission that He passed on to His Apostles and their successors. Hiding these vivid and effective symbols under the chasuble seems to violate the proverb that Jesus also gave us: “You don’t light a lamp and put it under a basket.”

How and when could we expose these hidden Sacramental symbols during the Liturgy? As the Liturgy of the Eucharist begins, the Sanctus, with the Hosannas, recalls the beginning of the Paschal Mystery, Palm Sunday, when Jesus paraded into Jerusalem and the men took off their cloaks and placed them on the road in tribute to Him. The celebrant could enter into this action instead of just standing at the altar, waiting for the vocalizing to end. How fitting would be the 2nd line of the Sanctus, “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!” who, without the chasuble, can now be realistically “seen”.

We could then more easily visualize Jesus as the Paschal Mystery is re-presented during the Eucharistic Prayer. The celebrant both narrates and performs Jesus’ actions, extending the reality of the Last Supper and Sacrifice on the Cross to us. The white robe once again symbolizes the innocence of the Lamb as we vocalize the threefold Lamb of God litany, and the celebrant proclaims, “This is the Lamb of God, …”.

The Paschal Mystery continues as, after Communion, the Blessed Sacrament is reposed in the tabernacle and everyone sits quietly, symbolizing the quiet of Jesus’ time in the grave; then we all rise to our feet, symbolizing the Resurrection. After rising, the Paschal Mystery concludes, as Jesus gave the Apostles their final instructions and the Great Commission, “Go and teach all nations …” before taking His leave of them in the Ascension. Similarly, the celebrant gives us our final instructions, blessing, and our on-going assignment, “Go in peace to love and serve …,” before taking his leave.

The Liturgical chasuble is proper for the Liturgy of the Word which is defined by the various Liturgical cycles and feasts, but it should be removed for the Liturgy/Sacrament of the Eucharist, to permit the “person of Christ” to be more realistically depicted in the re-presentation of the Paschal Mystery.
We have no images of Christ so we cannot know what he looked like. From history we could assume how he may have dressed.

The stole represents the office of the priest. The chasuble represents the "yoke of Christ". That is why is more correct and symbolic for the chasuble to be worn over the stole although many clerics place the stole over the chasuble. It is more appropriate that the priest's outer vestment represents the "yoke of Christ" he bears than a vestment that emphasises his office.
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Old Nov 27, '10, 10:44 pm
EasterJoy EasterJoy is offline
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Default Re: What does the chasuble hide?

From the Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum
(On certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist, Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacrament, 2004)
http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/co...mentum_en.html
(Boldface mine: EasterJoy)

4. Liturgical Vesture

[121.] “The purpose of a variety of colour of the sacred vestments is to give effective expression even outwardly to the specific character of the mysteries of faith being celebrated and to a sense of Christian life’s passage through the course of the liturgical year”.[210] On the other hand, the variety “of offices in the celebration of the Eucharist is shown outwardly by the diversity of sacred vestments. In fact, these “sacred vestments should also contribute to the beauty of the sacred action itself”.[211]

[122.] “The alb” is “to be tied at the waist with a cincture unless it is made so as to fit even without a cincture. Before the alb is put on, if it does not completely cover the ordinary clothing at the neck, an amice should be put on”.[212]

[123.] “The vestment proper to the Priest celebrant at Mass, and in other sacred actions directly connected with Mass unless otherwise indicated, is the chasuble, worn over the alb and stole.”[213] Likewise the Priest, in putting on the chasuble according to the rubrics, is not to omit the stole. All Ordinaries should be vigilant in order that all usage to the contrary be eradicated.

[124.] A faculty is given in the Roman Missal for the Priest concelebrants at Mass other than the principal concelebrant (who should always put on a chasuble of the prescribed colour), for a just reason such as a large number of concelebrants or a lack of vestments, to omit “the chasuble, using the stole over the alb”.[214] Where a need of this kind can be foreseen, however, provision should be made for it insofar as possible. Out of necessity the concelebrants other than the principal celebrant may even put on white chasubles. For the rest, the norms of the liturgical books are to be observed.

[125.] The proper vestment of the Deacon is the dalmatic, to be worn over an alb and stole. In order that the beautiful tradition of the Church may be preserved, it is praiseworthy to refrain from exercising the option of omitting the dalmatic.[215]

[126.] The abuse is reprobated whereby the sacred ministers celebrate Holy Mass or other rites without sacred vestments or with only a stole over the monastic cowl or the common habit of religious or ordinary clothes, contrary to the prescriptions of the liturgical books, even when there is only one minister participating.[216] In order that such abuses be corrected as quickly as possible, Ordinaries should take care that in all churches and oratories subject to their jurisdiction there is present an adequate supply of liturgical vestments made in accordance with the norms.

[127.] A special faculty is given in the liturgical books for using sacred vestments that are festive or more noble on more solemn occasions, even if they are not of the colour of the day.[217] However, this faculty, which is specifically intended in reference to vestments made many years ago, with a view to preserving the Church’s patrimony, is improperly extended to innovations by which forms and colours are adopted according to the inclination of private individuals, with disregard for traditional practice, while the real sense of this norm is lost to the detriment of the tradition. On the occasion of a feastday, sacred vestments of a gold or silver colour can be substituted as appropriate for others of various colours, but not for purple or black.

[128.] Holy Mass and other liturgical celebrations, which are acts of Christ and of the people of God hierarchically constituted, are ordered in such a way that the sacred ministers and the lay faithful manifestly take part in them each according to his own condition. It is preferable therefore that “Priests who are present at a Eucharistic Celebration, unless excused for a good reason, should as a rule exercise the office proper to their Order and thus take part as concelebrants, wearing the sacred vestments. Otherwise, they wear their proper choir dress or a surplice over a cassock.”[218] It is not fitting, except in rare and exceptional cases and with reasonable cause, for them to participate at Mass, as regards to externals, in the manner of the lay faithful.
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Old Nov 28, '10, 12:58 am
patrick457 patrick457 is offline
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Default Re: What does the chasuble hide?

I believe a little history lesson is in order here.

The chasuble was descended from the Roman paenula or planeta, a simple, poncho-like cloak with a hole for the head to go through, hanging in ample folds round the body, with or without a hood. It was a very practical piece of garment, especially useful as protection against bad weather. This was originally worn only by slaves, soldiers and other people of low degree; in the 3rd century, however, it was adopted by fashionable people as a convenient riding or travelling cloak; and finally, by the sumptuary law of AD 382 it was prescribed as the proper everyday dress of senators, instead of the military chlamys, the toga being reserved for state occasions.


Back in the old days in Rome, it was customary that all ranks of the clergy, from the Pope down to the acolytes, wear a tunic with a planeta, which was what most people was wearing - eventually fashions changed, that by a certain point (one suggestion places it at the 6th century) the planeta became an exclusively ecclesiastical garment, but not an exclusively sacerdotal garment. In liturgical celebration, the deacons took off the planeta they had been wearing in the presbytery before the Liturgy begins, leaving them in their dalmatics, and gave them to acolytes to take care of for the rest of the Mass. Meanwhile, the celebrant - in this case, the Pope - wore his planeta for the duration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. (If you're curious, the subdeacons got to keep their planeta as well, though St. Gregory the Great did try to impose a rather short-lived reform of having them proceed in their tunics)

This is understandable, as deacons, as per their name, have quite a whole lot to do and need to have their arms free: the ancient planeta is so ample, it would fall down your arms if you hang them down (this is why chasubles got shorter: some found the planeta too tediously long and ample).


Bishop Maximianus of Ravenna (499-556), with the planeta folded/tucked to free his right arm (mosaic in San Vitale, Ravenna).


Bishop Ecclesius of Ravenna (reigned 522–532), presenting a model of San Vitale with his hands covered. This is how a planeta would look like 'in its natural state'.

There was not AFAIK, in the history of the Roman liturgy, any custom of divesting the priest off his planeta/casula or any attempt to introduce such a practice, until recently. I think the whole phenomenon of chasuble-less priests during the Mass is actually quite a modern one, and, as EasterJoy pointed out, is actually a violation of the rules. Sure, the whole Jesus imagery might be beautiful and all, but just because a chasuble-less priest would look more like the stereotypical image of Jesus (white robe, cloak and all), does not automatically mean we should insert a custom that is never before heard-of and foreign to our liturgy.

And just to comment on Jewish dress of the period. At the time of Jesus, it seems that woolen garments were more common than linen, and men often preferred to wear plain undyed (i.e. white/off-white) garments, or at least, those dyed in more lighter colors (say, saffron). Deeply colored clothes were seen more as the domain of women. Roman influence on Jewish garments can be felt in the presence of the clavi (colored parallel stripes) running down the length of tunics (haluq), more often made of two pieces of rectangular fabric sewn together, leaving openings for the head and arms - which are tucked with belts, yes. Another would be gamma-shaped or notched bands, also in a contrasting color, on the corners of their rectangular cloaks (tallit), the ancestor of modern-day Jewish prayer shawls (you can see something similar to it on the pic of Bishop Ecclesius above; notice the L-shaped design on the angel's cloak as well as the clavi on his tunic?). More devout and observant people would have the tzitzit or the tassels on the four corners of their mantles, in obedience to the commandment (Jesus seemed to have had these as well).
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Old Dec 18, '10, 2:26 am
patrick457 patrick457 is offline
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Default Re: What does the chasuble hide?

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There was not AFAIK, in the history of the Roman liturgy, any custom of divesting the priest off his planeta/casula or any attempt to introduce such a practice, until recently. I think the whole phenomenon of chasuble-less priests during the Mass is actually quite a modern one, and, as EasterJoy pointed out, is actually a violation of the rules. Sure, the whole Jesus imagery might be beautiful and all, but just because a chasuble-less priest would look more like the stereotypical image of Jesus (white robe, cloak and all), does not automatically mean we should insert a custom that is never before heard-of and foreign to our liturgy.
Something just struck me. If we're going to convince Father to take off his chasuble during the Canon, why not take it up a notch and suggesting that a Byzantine priest remove his phelonion during the Anaphora since it would be a better symbolism?
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Old Dec 19, '10, 8:36 am
PacoG PacoG is offline
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Default Re: What does the chasuble hide?

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Originally Posted by jkuebler View Post
The Liturgical chasuble is proper for the Liturgy of the Word which is defined by the various Liturgical cycles and feasts, but it should be removed for the Liturgy/Sacrament of the Eucharist, to permit the “person of Christ” to be more realistically depicted in the re-presentation of the Paschal Mystery.
You actually have it backward. In the tradition of the Western Chuch, the chasuble is a Eucharistic vestment. In the EF, the priest would remove the chasuble for the homily. The deacon would also remove his dalmatic when preaching the homily/sermon.

There are also plenty of representations of Christ the High Priest on the cross wearing a chasuble over an alb.

What authorities do you cite in support of your view? Or is it (like most post Vatican 2 innovation) a matter of personal opinion and conjecture representing what you think the tradition of the Church is?
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Old Dec 20, '10, 5:05 am
japhy japhy is offline
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Default Re: What does the chasuble hide?

The chasuble, in addition to being the sign of the yoke of Christ (moreso than the stole), is also a sign of charity, which is to be put on over all these other things. (cf. Col. 3:14)
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Old Jan 7, '11, 9:43 am
jkuebler jkuebler is offline
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Default Re: What does the chasuble hide?

My sincerest thanks to those who have replied to my post. I appreciate the learned instruction that you have provided to me concerning the history and the symbolism of the chasuble.
Yes, my perspective comes more from my heart than from my head. I see so much apathy at Mass, in the congregation and even on the altar. I understand that the recent revisions to Roman Missal are meant to stimulate our enthusiasm for the liturgy by rousing us out of our routine, and I look forward to this. I just wish that the Liturgy could "come alive" to more people. I know that if more people really understood what is happening, they would have no problem being enthusiastic, but the sad fact is, so many people don't understand. I was hoping to peel off just one layer that seems (to me!) to obscure the reality of the Christ's presence in the person of the priest.
I will continue to pray for an increased understanding of and enthusiasm for the Mass, for myself and others.
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Old Jan 7, '11, 3:33 pm
patrick457 patrick457 is offline
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Default Re: What does the chasuble hide?

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My sincerest thanks to those who have replied to my post. I appreciate the learned instruction that you have provided to me concerning the history and the symbolism of the chasuble.
Yes, my perspective comes more from my heart than from my head. I see so much apathy at Mass, in the congregation and even on the altar. I understand that the recent revisions to Roman Missal are meant to stimulate our enthusiasm for the liturgy by rousing us out of our routine, and I look forward to this. I just wish that the Liturgy could "come alive" to more people. I know that if more people really understood what is happening, they would have no problem being enthusiastic, but the sad fact is, so many people don't understand. I was hoping to peel off just one layer that seems (to me!) to obscure the reality of the Christ's presence in the person of the priest.
I will continue to pray for an increased understanding of and enthusiasm for the Mass, for myself and others.
You're welcome, and thanks BTW for coming back.

Now, if I could drop a piece of advice: many of these wacky innovations you see in some of our churches today (which are properly called 'liturgical abuses') do stem from the fact that some folks feel that the Mass is not too "alive" enough. Their intentions might be good, but the whole idea is, frankly, just wrong. Is it just me, or do I see a similarity between those people who introduce all sorts of foreign stuff into the Liturgy and Cardinal Glick's (from Kevin Smith's Dogma) brainchild Catholicism Wow! and its mascot, Buddy Christ, after the cardinal deemed the Crucified Christ as "wholly depressing"?

A bit unrelated, but I'd tell a story I heard about a priest in the Philippines who wanted to do a little addition to the Palm Sunday liturgy: they would reenact Jesus' entry into Jerusalem. First, he asked how Filipinos welcome their guests. Some of the suggestions were 'garland', 'archway', '(brass) band', and 'fireworks'. As there was no donkey, they had to make do with a horse. So out comes Father on Palm Sunday, wearing a flowing cope on horseback. The problem was there was a little mishap with the fireworks (the rockets flew forward, straight into the walls, instead of upwards into the sky), which scared the horse, forcing Father to dismount. So the priest-as-Jesus had to enter 'Jerusalem' with the horse tagging behind him!
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Old Jan 8, '11, 5:13 am
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Default Re: What does the chasuble hide?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkuebler View Post

The Liturgical chasuble is proper for the Liturgy of the Word which is defined by the various Liturgical cycles and feasts, but it should be removed for the Liturgy/Sacrament of the Eucharist, to permit the “person of Christ” to be more realistically depicted in the re-presentation of the Paschal Mystery.
The Bible says: altiora a te no quesieris. Seek not the things that are too high for thee, (Sir 3:22)

We are not allowed to change the Liturgy for any reason. The relationship of Christ and the priest in the Mass is mystery, beyond our understanding, and we should not boost that we make it visible. The decision belongs to the Church and the Church decided that the sacred vestment is removed only after the mass in the sacristy.
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Old Jan 8, '11, 7:03 am
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Default Re: What does the chasuble hide?

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I just wish that the Liturgy could "come alive" to more people. I know that if more people really understood what is happening, they would have no problem being enthusiastic, but the sad fact is, so many people don't understand.
I agree with you wholeheartedly.

How do we deal with this? I don't know.

There is only a limited amount of catechesis that can be done during the homily. If the parish offered catechesis / courses / formation, etc. on the liturgy how well would they be attended. I don't think they would be.

A start would be to see priests, deacons, and altar servers all vested properly. It would help to see the appropriate decorum and reverence from them. It would be a good start to see the priests doing the red and saying the black. Catechesis can be achieved by actions and good example.
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Old Jan 8, '11, 5:18 pm
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Default Re: What does the chasuble hide?

The chasuble is supposed to represent charity, or Christ. A stole, or pectoral cross in the case of a bishop is a symbol of office. The charity of Christ must cover all symbols of office. Many bishops incorrectly wear the pectoral cross over instead of underneath the chasuble.
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Old Jan 9, '11, 7:14 am
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Default Re: What does the chasuble hide?

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Many bishops incorrectly wear the pectoral cross over instead of underneath the chasuble.
That is quite true, they do. It should be worn over the alb but under the stole, (pontifical dalmatic) and chasuble. Many also still wear it on the chain when in vestments; it should be on a gold cord (Pope), gold cord interwoven with red (cardinals) or gold cord interwoven with green (all other bishops).
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