Lenten Journey – Physical Preparations and the Vestments

Day #3 of the Lenten Journey into the Divine Liturgy by Fr. Vazken Movsesian.

On this 3rd Day of the Lenten Journey into the Divine Liturgy we continue on the theme of preparation, by examining the vestments and vesting process of the priest. The priest as well as each participant of the Divine Liturgy must prepare her or himself spiritually, emotionally and physically, for such an awesome experience as the one expressed in the Divine Liturgy. Physical preparation is the easiest to comprehend.
In the vestry of the church, the priest takes offers a prayer request as he dons each piece of his vestment. He begins from the top, by placing the crown on his head and praying, “Put, O Lord, upon my head the helmet of salvation to fight against the powers of the enemy, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Often, the crown is considered a sign of royalty, in this case, the prayer likens it to a helmet in preparation against the forces of evil. The challenges in life are remembered, that life is one defined by responsibilities to love and proclaim the light of Christ. The obstacles to do so are many. The helmet is a reminder of that struggle to love, even when the obstacles persist and even when his love is misunderstood or even rejected.
Next the priest wears the white robe by praying, “Clothe me, O Lord, with the garment of salvation and with a robe of gladness, and gird me with the vestment of salvation.” Note here, that the physical robe is not merely defined by its color of purity, but by a condition of gladness. The joy of salvation transcends time, not to be understood only in terms of a time to come, but as a living expression within the heart of the priest.
The stole is next placed over the neck of the priest as he prays, “Clothe my neck, O Lord, with righteousness and cleanse my heart from all filthiness of sin.” Here we remember Christ’s words, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. “In fact, the High Priest himself, Christ, demands that we take the yoke, symbolic of the burdens attached to life, with the gentle reminder that in meekness and in purity of heart, we are able to endure and overcome our difficulties and challenges.
The deacon, wears a similar stole, but only partially on his or her shoulder. It refers to the same yoke of Christ.

It is here that we break for this 3rd day of the Lenten Journey, with a mediation on that yoke. From the vestments we have discussed thus far, we understand that the spiritual warfare of the Christian is a challenge to love. Often, we merely think of the Christian experience and struggle as a challenge to abstain from certain types of behavior. In fact, the Christian understanding of struggle is quite the opposite – it is one of engaging in the good, by loving, sharing of the self through humility and meekness. The Christian is called to do, not to abstain, that is, to take on the yoke, the burden offered by Christ, to love unceasingly, even against the odds and obstacles. It is the higher challenge that defines us in our faith and certainly in our life. Today we mediate on the transformation process thus far expressed by the crown, the robe and the stole – the fight to love, to do so with joy and to understand the awesome responsibility that comes with it. Tomorrow we continue on this spiritual journey and continue examining the other vestments.

Physical Preparations and the vestments – the crown, the robe, the stole and the demand to love.
Lenten Recipe 3: Spicy Peanut Noodles

Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for epostle.net
Background Lent Song: Here I Am to Worship played by Heidi 

Get A Lenten Journey with Fr. Vazken delivered by email
View in iTunes
Play/Stream on BluBrry
Listen via Stitcher Radio

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *