A snip from the Holy Father’s sermon for Epiphany:
Is there perhaps something of Herod also in us? Perhaps we also, sometimes, see God as a kind of rival? Perhaps we also are blind before His signs, deaf to His words, because we think the place limits on our life and don’t allow us to dispose of existence at our pleasure? Dear brothers and sisters, when we see God in this way, we end up feeling dissatisfied and discontent, because we don’t allow ourselves to be guide by Him who is at the foundation of all things. We must rid our minds and hearts the idea of rivalry, the idea that to give space to God is a limit on ourselves; we must open ourselves to the certainty that God is omnipotent love who takes nothing away, doesn’t threaten, on the contrary, is the One capable of giving us the possibility of living in fullness, to experience true joy.
This is an echo of the end of his sermon for his inaugural Mass in 2005.
“Are we not perhaps all afraid in some way? If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to him, are we not afraid that He might take something away from us? Are we not perhaps afraid to give up something significant, something unique, something that makes life so beautiful? Do we not then risk ending up diminished and deprived of our freedom? And once again the Pope said: No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great.”
Great words. Great vestments, too! I have to say, however, that the Holy Father’s Roman vestments would seem more complete with the fanon and the falda. At least the fanon. Without it, he looks like a pre-Conciliar archbishop.
What Benedict says about blindness is a beautiful statement that reminds me of Jesus’ words “Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.” (NAB) and the precursor to that in Psalm 24:3-4 where it says “Who may go up the mountain of the LORD? Who can stand in his holy place? The clean of hand and pure of heart, who are not devoted to idols, who have not sworn falsely.” (NAB) Why would a Jew go up to the mountain of the LORD if not to see the LORD?
The genius he has in covering with few words spiritual blindness, its cause, its effects and the cure is wonderful.
As has been usual for the Epiphany in the pontificate of Benedict XVI, there were no concelebrants today. The Holy Father was the sole celebrant. He used the Eucharistic Prayer I (the Novus Ordo- adapted form of the Roman Canon). According to internet sources the mitre belonged to Benedict XV. The new people taking care of the musical setting are doing a fine job. Great improvements. And its good to see that the “entrance sequence”, so to speak, of silver-trumpet-march, followed by Tu es Petrus, followed by the introit, is being adhered to since the new people took office. It helps set the tone and remind people that this is a Papal Mass.
Sadly, this was a missed opportunity for a return of the fanon. It would have fitted the chasuble perfectly. Why is it taking so long for someone in the office of Papal Ceremonies to have the idea of asking the Pope to restore the use of the fanon. I’m confident that Benedict XVI has only not worn the fanon yet because the idea was not floated with him. Not knowing him personally, but knowing his style and his love for the liturgy and for dispays of continuity, I’m confident that he would accept the idea.
Nice fiddleback, nice thurible.
JPII wore the fanon at least once, why not B16?
Even better would be if he stopped doing versus populum.
You might get your wish this Sunday on the Feast of the Baptism. For the past three years the Holy Father has celebrated ad orientem using the original high altar in the Sistine Chapel. I pray that he does the same thing this year too. And heck, if you’re celebrating ad orientem and already using Latin, that’s pretty close to a full-blown TLM! Maybe Sunday’s the day. Of course, we would have probably already heard something, but you can’t stop me from praying!
Either way–TLM or Latin Novus Ordo facing East–I can’t wait! I’m tempted to wake up early and watch it live on EWTN.
Honestly I had forgotten about the pic of JPII wearing the papal fanon, so I dug around a bit.
Jack in KC
“Even better would be if he stopped doing versus populum.”
Then he would be doing it in a very new and very wrong way, at least at St. Peter’s. The St. Peter’s is oriented such that the celebrant at the high altar faces the congregation while facing East. At one time, it is thought, the congregation faced away from the altar during the Eucharist, and looked out towards St. Peter’s Piazza, to welcome the rising Sun, the symbol of Christ. At any rate, the popes have always celebrated Mass at St. Peter’s facing East and, therefore, facing the congregation.
Were the pope to celebrate Mass at the opposite side of the altar, he would neither celebrate ad orientem nor versus populum. He would simply be facing West, to no purpose.
I watched the Mass via EWTN’s website. Very nice-love the sound of the silver trumpets and the ‘Tu es Petrus’ sung by the choir at the beginning. Beautiful vestments as well.
The words of the Holy Father from your snippet, Father Z, are very enlightening!
I’m glad to hear that the silver trumpets are back; I didn’t realize the fanfare had been restored.
I realize Pope Benedict’s (perfectly reasonable) modus operandi is to sort of sneak bits of tradition into papal ceremonies here and there, allowing them to accumulate over time, and that he won’t simply be restoring the full pre-Conciliar magnificence of Papal Rome all at once. Perhaps he never will completely restore it; there seems to be alot of back-and-forth going on.
One element of the Papal liturgy I wish he would restore, however–and one thing that we haven’t yet seen from Pope Benedict–is the pontifical throne and dais. Prior to the pontificate of John Paul I, the pontifical throne and dais were erected in the choir, beneath the Cathedra Petri, and it was a magnificent sight. The tall throne was covered in either white or red fabric (red for consistories and during penitential seasons), as it sat majestically beneath an elaborate canopy and dossal, flanked by the flabelli (ostrich feather fans).
The current habit of simply plopping an audience chamber throne in front of the altar disappoints me, considering what used to be done, instead.
Would that I could speak to the music or vestments; instead what struck me were what you posted of his sermon Fr. then instantly the hope that the hurt and angry nuns in the U.S. heard the words of the Holy Father this time. End of point on that, no rabbit hole, but Fr had to reference it; I thought it was so accurate and timely.
//We must rid our minds and hearts the idea of rivalry, the idea that to give space to God is a limit on ourselves; we must open ourselves to the certainty that God is omnipotent love who takes nothing away, doesn’t threaten, on the contrary, is the One capable of giving us the possibility of living in fullness, to experience true joy//
as the message in ’05 might have been missed
//If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to him, are we not afraid that He might take something away from us? No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great.” //
Thank you for posting this Father.
What struck me WAS what you posted, not were. Sorry, typo.
Are these the same vestments that we wore in 2009?
The vestments shown in the photos that your link directs us to were worn by the Pope on Januray 1 of this year, but those he wore at Epiphany are different. The chasuble worn on the Epiphany was rather more elaborate, and the miter was different, too. The tall mitra preciosa worn on Epiphany appears to me to be the miter of the Holy Father’s WWI-era predecessor and namesake, Pope Benedict XV, although I am willing to be corrected on that point.
It would be nice to see the Pope make use of both the precious miter and the cloth of gold miter, as was once the case…and also the falda…and the fanon…and the rationale…and the gauntlets…and the maniple…and the buskins…and the sandals…but I quibble.