LIBERA ME, Domine, Iesu Christe, ab omnibus iniquitatis meis et universis malis,
fac me tuis semper inhærere mandatis et a te numquam separari permittas. Amen.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Mmm . . . pondering an unexpected mistake

Now I’m not going to say who was involved . . . but I witnessed a rather unexpected thing on Saturday evening when I went to the vigil Mass of Sunday at the Oratory.

As you’ll remember, this was the Mass of Christ the King . . . so it was White : indeed, being the Oratory, it wasn’t just ‘white’ – there were ten lit candles on the High Altar, and the four large reliquaries on the lower shelf with the four episcopal statues on the higher shelf between the large candlesticks . . . so very grand indeed.

And what was the unexpected thing ? Well, the fact that when another priest came out of the Sacristy to assist with Holy Communion, he was wearing a green, rather than a white, stole . . . which was definitely not what I (or, I suspect, anyone else) was expecting : and I suppose that I have to be honest and admit that my first reaction was that this was just dreadful.

On thinking about it, however, I realized that, although it would have been better if it had not happened like that, in reality it probably didn’t make that much difference, for two reasons.

The first is that, however hard I may find it to credit this, there are a large number of people, even at the Oratory (and perhaps even more elsewhere) who simply neither know nor care about these things . . . and the second is that I have a deep suspicion that it will all be utterly irrelevant in heaven in any case . . .

So, although my immediate reaction was – shall we be tactful – horrified, when I thought about it I had to accept that what mattered was the truth and importance of the Most Holy Sacrament, and not the fairly trivial issues of the liturgy . . . trivial, anyway, in the context of Heaven, which is where I trust that we shall all eventually end up : so although the mistake was, in one way, irritating and inaccurate, in the global scheme of God’s love as bestowed upon us in Heaven it was simply unimportant . . . which is perhaps a valuable lesson for all of us : getting it right is a valuable tribute which we owe to God, but of no consequence whatever in the context of the effect it has upon us.

(And I hasten to add that the photo was not taken on Saturday; I have simply included it because it show the High Altar looking grand with all those reliquaries on it !)


  1. If you look at the Liturgical books I think you will find that any Litugy may be celebrated in the colour of the season, not just of the feastday or solemnity.

  2. You got horrified over the colour of a stole?!

  3. As an Anglican, my lectionary told me that Christ the King was Red or White. So I wore the first mentioned. Further confusion!