|Archdiocese of Melbourne/June 27, 2015|
A theologian who does not love art, poetry, music and nature can be dangerous. Blindness and deafness toward the beautiful are not incidental; they necessarily are reflected in his theology.—Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI). The Ratzinger Report (p. 130).
Prayer when donning the amice [Vatican site: Liturgical Vestments and the Vesting Prayers]:
After the washing of the hands, the vesting proper begins.
2) The priest begins with the amice, a rectangular linen cloth, which has two strings and is placed over the shoulders and around the neck; the strings are then tied about the waist. The amice has the purpose of covering the everyday clothing, even if it is the priest's clerical garb. In this sense, it is important to recall that the amice is worn even when the celebrant is wearing a modern alb, which often does not have a large opening at the neck but fits closely around the collar. (!!!!) Despite the close fitting neck of the modern alb, the everyday clothing still remains visible and it is necessary for the celebrant to cover his collar even in this case.
In the Roman Rite, the amice is donned before the alb. While putting it on the priest recites the following prayer:
Impone, Domine, capiti meo galeam salutis, ad expugnandos diabolicos incursus.
Place upon me, O Lord, the helmet of salvation, that I may overcome the assaults of the devil. (If more priests had been wearing the amice and had taken seriously the prayers, perhaps they might have avoided failing their vows and/or falling into the grievous error of the abuse of children!)
With the reference to St. Paul's Letter to the Ephesians (6:17), the amice is understood as "the helmet of salvation," that must protect him who wears it from the demon's temptations, especially evil thoughts and desires, during the liturgical celebration. This symbolism is still more clear in the custom followed since the Middle Ages by the Benedictines, Franciscans and Dominicans, who first put the amice upon their heads and then let it fall upon the chasuble or dalmatic.