Fr. Nikola will share a thought twice a month in our parish bulletin The Navigator to help parishioners “maximize” their Mass experience. For more meditations by Fr. Nikola on the liturgy, see his blog Finding the Plug.
At every celebration of the Eucharist the main celebrant dresses in a vestment called a chasuble, and the deacon usually wears a dalmatic. These vestments weren’t invented for the liturgy; the chasuble was adapted from a garment used by the ancient Greeks and Romans for protection against bad weather, much like a poncho.
By the third century the chasuble became a common elegant vestment, used daily and made of fine material and decorated with purple drapery. By the end of the IV century it was reserved for senators by the Roman emperor Theodosius, with people only wearing a reduced form.
In the VI century St. Gregory the Great described the dalmatic and chasuble as the official vestments for liturgical use, even though they were still used by civil servants as well. However, with the arrival of the Barbarians by the end of the VI century, fashions changed radically. The clergy, however, continued to use the dalmatic and chasuble, as we do today, albeit with some adaptations.
In the third century, the use of these vestments was a testimony to the emperor’s support of Christian worship and his acknowledgement of who the true emperor was: Our Lord. Today they remind us that our worship revolves around Our Lord too.
Let’s all show our appreciation for Our Lord by dressing in our Sunday best whenever we attend Mass.
(As printed in The Navigator 7/2/2017)