So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Monday, August 11, 2014

Eyes to See

The divine is in the details. A photo of the recent ordinations for the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest is beautiful and good for several reasons. Among those reasons are the details circled in the photo.

Image: Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest

Cardinal Burke's biretta (white circle). His biretta is held so that one can see the cross. The biretta is held close to his heart, a heart centred on Christ. The viewer's eye is led to the cross of Christ. Other's (e.g., yellow circle) hold their birettas in a similar manner. Notice that Cardinal Burke's right hand is higher than his left.

New priest's hands (black circle). His angled hands held at the breast, like those of his brothers, symbolize a flame pointing to heaven and a heart centred on God. His thumbs are surely crossed, right over left. Recall that their hands have been annointed. They are changed men, men who are configured to Christ. They are icons of the Lord.

Priest in black ferraiolo (blue circle). Notice how the hands of both priests flanking Cardinal Burke are clasped right over left. The symbolism of right over left can be explained several ways: righteousness over sin; holiness over worldliness; salvation over damnation; and so forth.

One could look at this photo and see a nicely arranged, colour coded group of men that one encumbered by a certain bias might dismiss as mere eye candy. That would be an unfortunate conclusion based on a misguided assumption. Given even the few details narrated, details which could just as easily be instructive and spiritually enriching for the person openminded enough to gaze with intent and not merely gawk, there is a feast here for more than just the eyes. The photo is a mini-catechism on the Faith, the ordered structure of the hierarchy of the Church and joy, the joy of new priests and the joy of older priests whose vocation of service is affirmed and celebrated at the welcoming of new brothers into their midst. Laudetur Jesus Christus!

One thing this particular photo doesn't capture is the full impact of the cappa magna that His Eminence is wearing. (Go to the NLM site for additional links and Mr. Phil Roussin's flikr site for additional photos). A monsignor(?) is holding the end of the cappa (to the right of Card. Burke). The red cappa flows like a river of blood and adds to the reminder that cardinals are prepared to shed their blood in defence of the Faith, not as suicide bombers who strap explosives to their bodies but as faithful disciples of the Prince of Peace who are clothed in the shed blood of Christ. The cappa may seem extravagant, but when considered as a symbol of the Faith of the martyrs, we should all pause and reflect on the cost of discipleship.

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