Throughout history our insightful forebears have inserted into rituals which exalt some mere mortal certain elements intended to deflate, remind that we are mortals.
For example, in ancient Rome during a general’s triumph a slave stood beside the triumphator in his chariot and repeated “Respice te, hominem te memento … Look behind you, remember that you are a man (i.e. you are not a god”) and “Memento mori … Remember that you are going to die”.
The the rite of coronation of Popes, up to 1963 at least, as the new pope was carried into St. Peter’s Basilica in the sedia gestatoria, the procession would halt three times. One of the MC’s would kneel and and hold up on a rod a piece of burning flax. He would say, “Sancte Pater, sic transit gloria mundi! … Holy Father, in this way the glory of the world passes!”
An old rite was repeated at the funeral of Otto von Hapsburg, who would have been Emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
A reader sent an email with a link and explanation, which I share:
A traditional ceremony during the funeral is when the procession of mourners arrives at the gates of the Capuchin Church, under which the Imperial Crypt lies, and the Herald knocks on the door. A Capuchin then asks “who demands entry?” The Herald responds with the name and title of the deceased. The Capuchin then responds “we don’t know him/her.” The same procedure is repeated once. Only on the third attempt, when the Herald responds with “a sinful, mortal human being”, the gates are opened and the dead Habsburg admitted into the Crypt.
We all need reminders that we are not as special as sometimes we think we are. Special? Yes, for we are made in God’s image and likeness, we died for us
And here is the Sic Transit during the coronation of Bl. John XXIII… which I think should never have been abandoned.