Pontifical Vesture: Putting on the Full Armor of God (Guest Post)
by PETER KWASNIEWSKI
Courtesy of photographer and NLM reader Christopher Owens, we have a feature article on the traditional vesting prayers, as recently witnessed at the Pontifical Mass at St. Peter's celebrated by Cardinal Burke. (The vesting prayers themselves were published in Latin and English at NLM a few years ago by Gregory DiPippo, with his learned commentary.)
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During the Solemn Pontifical Mass last week at St. Peter’s, I was remarkably struck by the image of the Bishop fully vested for liturgy, and, in this manner, leading his flock through the tumult of this world toward the heavenly gates. In the more ancient use of the Roman Rite, the Bishop wears the vesture fitting to all of the levels of orders, since, as Bishop, he possesses the fullness of orders.
As a photographer, I got the opportunity to witness up-close the vesting of His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, and the humility with which, as bishop, he submits himself to the Church’s liturgy in order to put on the full armor of God. Fortuitously, the epistle for this past Sunday, the 21st after Pentecost, was the passage from Ephesians, imploring the brethren to do likewise, to “put on the armor of God.” In this light, the cleric properly vested for the liturgy is an exemplar for us in our own daily spiritual battle. I thought I would share these photos with you, and the corresponding vesting prayers. (The prayers will be given here in English only; the Latin prayers may be found in the DiPippo article.)
The Buskins Shod my feet, Lord, unto the preparation of the gospel of peace, and protect me under the cover of thy wings. (Ephesians 6, 15 and Psalm 60, 5)
When the Cappa is removed Take off of me, Lord, the old man with his manners and deeds: and put on me the new man, who according to God is created in justice, and the holiness of truth. (Ephesians 4, 22 and 24)
When he washes his hands Give strength to my hands, Lord, to wash away every unclean stain; that I may be able to serve Thee without defilement of mind or body.
At the Amice Place the helmet of salvation, Lord, upon my head, to overthrow all the deceits of the devil, prevailing against the cunning of all enemies. (Ephesians 6, 17)
At the Alb Wash me clean, Lord, and cleanse me from my sin; that I may rejoice and be glad unendingly with them that have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb. (Psalm 50, 3 and Apocalypse 7, 14)
At the Cincture Gird me, Lord, with the belt of faith, my loins with the virtue of chastity, and extinguish in them the humour of lust; that the strength of all chastity may ever abide in me.
When he receives the Pectoral Cross Deign Thou, Lord Jesus Christ, to guard me, from all the snares of every enemy, by the sign of Thy most holy Cross: and deign Thou to grant to me, Thy unworthy servant, that as I hold before my breast this Cross with the relics of Thy Saints within it, so may I ever keep in mind the memory of the Passion, and the victories of the Holy Martyrs.
At the Stole Restore to me, Lord, I beseech Thee, the stole of immortality, which I lost in the transgression of the first father; and, though unworthy I presume to approach Thy sacred mystery with this garment, grant that I may merit to rejoice in it forever.
At the Tunicle May the Lord cloth me in the tunicle of delight, and the garment of rejoicing.
At the Dalmatic Cloth me, Lord, with the garment of salvation, and the raiment of joy; and ever place upon me the dalmatic of justice.
At the Gloves Place upon my hands, Lord, the cleanliness of the new man, that came down from heaven; that, just as Jacob Thy beloved, covering his hands with the skins of goats, and offering to his father most pleasing food and drink, obtained his father’s blessing, so also may the saving victim offered by our hands, merit the blessing of Thy grace. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who in the likeness of sinful flesh offered Himself for us.(Genesis 27, 6-29 and Romans 8, 3)
At the Chasuble O Lord, who said: my yoke is sweet and my burden light: grant that I may be able so to bear it, so that I may be able to obtain Thy grace. (St. Matthew 11, 30)
At the Mitre Place upon my head, Lord, the mitre and helmet of salvation; that I may go forth unhindered against the snares of the ancient foe, and of all my enemies. (Ephesians 6, 17)
At the Ring Adorn with virtue, Lord, the fingers of my body and of my heart, and place upon them the sanctification of the sevenfold Spirit.
At the Maniple I pray Thee , Lord, that I may merit to bear the maniple in lamentation; that with joyfulness I may receive a portion among the just. (Psalm 125, 67)
Guest author Christopher Owens is finishing his Master' Degree in Theology at the International Theological Institute in Trumau, Austria. He plans to continue his studies toward an STL in Thomistic Theology. You can see his photography work at http://cdo.photography/