Part 1 of 3: Vesting Prayers
When a priest puts on his vestments for Mass, there are prayers with each piece of vestment, as each piece has a spiritual significance. Unfortunately, I don’t have the space to describe all the symbolism and the prayers associated with each piece of vestment, but rather I want to make some general reflections on this.
Reflecting on these prayers, I think there are at least two things that we all can draw from this.
1 – Importance of Prayerful Preparation: First of all, I think it’s important for us to remember that taking some time of personal prayer before Mass is an important part of really entering into the Mass. Allowing ourselves those moments of quiet and meditation just before Mass can allow our busy minds to calm down, to quiet ourselves to really entering into hearing the Word of the Lord. Also, there’s just something about taking time to sort of “spiritually clothe” ourselves, covering ourselves in prayer…clothing our mind so we can be attentive and focus on the mystery of God, clothing our heart to be open to God’s movements, and clothing our whole body so we may be fully engaged in worship with our whole being – physical, mental, and spiritual.
2 – Spiritual Battle: Secondly, these preparatory vestment prayers that the priest prays draw heavily upon Paul’s words of putting on the “Full armor of Christ” in Ephesians 6. It is important to remember that a part of the work of the Mass is spiritual battle! That we come to do prayerful battle for the sake of the world: we pray against the forces of evil at work in the world, we intercede for the healing and salvation of others, we worship God in His majesty and power and invite that saving power into all the world, all areas of our personal lives, and the lives of those we love (especially for all those who are far from Christ, or who do not go to Church). We don’t just go to Mass for ourselves, but part of our Sunday obligation to go each week and do spiritual battle as Church is on behalf of the world.