Sunday, February 04, 2007
This time on today's chasuble.
White outline of a triangle on the green background of the vestment. On each of the three sides of the triangle are three gold slash marks that extend from the outside and cross over into the inside of the white triangle where they form yet another triangle in the negative by the position at which they stop. On each side one of the three slash marks is longer than the other two. There are no other marks to indicate what this symbol is supposed to mean. My first impression was that the slash marks represented power going out of the triangle.
The best online description of the triangle symbol I could find is this one at About: Alternative Religion which states:
The upward pointing triangle is the alchemical symbol for fire. One of the four classical elements, fire has the properties of heat and dryness, and symbolizes the "fiery" emotions- love, hate, passion, compassion, empathy, anger, etc., as well as spiritual aspiration- those actions of intent which bring us closer to the divine. Fire is represented in numerous cultures as the tringle, symbolising rising force.
The symbolism of the upward-pointing triangle symbolises rising energy. The element is sometimes represented by a sword or knife; when paired with the chalic of water, it is referred to as the blade.
In Paracelsian alchemical tradition, the elemental spirits of fire are salamanders.
The fire symbol is derived from the medieval magical Seal of Solomon.
Zodiac signs ruled by the element of fire are: Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius.
Given that this symbol on the priest's chasuble had a triangle within a triangle, that would translate to the power within, or even perhaps the god within, radiating fire or energy.
One can twist this into a Catholic symbol by superimposing the concept of the Trinitarian God, and the indwelling Holy Spirit, radiating love, I suppose; but that is hardly the first thought that comes to mind when viewing this chasuble from the pew within the cultural context of a Christian nation rapidly converting to Paganism, and the triangle representing various elements of the new religions that are arising.
So what can one assume when the priest comes out to say Mass wearing such a vestment?
- The priest is ignorant of the symbolism of what he is wearing?
- The priest is knowledgable of the symbolism of what he is wearing and wears it for the purpose of deception?
- The priest has decided to adapt a pagan symbol to a Catholic meaning and doesn't care whether the laity in the pews get the true Catholic message or interpret the Pagan message?
What if this same priest
- Leaves out the Kyrie
- Elevates the host but does not elevate the chalice
- Says the Creed so quickly that it is impossible to say it along with him
- Combines the separate prayer over the bread and the prayer over the wine into a single prayer over the bread and wine in the prayer of preparation of the gifts
- Says Mass in 43 minutes?
What is the message of this combination of symbol and shortening of prayer? This is the same priest who turns the moment before the readings begin into his first homily of the day, and follows the readings with his second homily.