FatherZ expresses this misgiving as he discusses his own ministry in Holy Mass and his own coming to terms with its “trappings”. Indeed, the caricature of humility and poverty from the media, and others who should know better, when they talks about Pope Francis’ simplifications when St. Francis himself spared no expense for the beauty of his church, vestments and appointments. FatherZ passionately writes:
And when Jesus was in Bethania, in the house of Simon the leper, There came to him a woman having an alabaster box of precious ointment, and poured it on his head as he was at table. And the disciples seeing it, had indignation, saying: To what purpose is this waste? For this might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. And Jesus knowing it, said to them: Why do you trouble this woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me.
For the poor you have always with you: but me you have not always. For she in pouring this ointment upon my body, hath done it for my burial. Amen I say to you, wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, that also which she hath done, shall be told for a memory of her. Then went one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, to the chief priests, And said to them: What will you give me, and I will deliver him unto you? But they appointed him thirty pieces of silver.
Link to painting a stained glass store.
Back when I resisted the liturgical kissing of my hand when being handed a chain, spoon or chalice, I had made the mistake of imagining myself to be more humble by that resistance. That was a mistake. Ironically, my resistance to those gestures turned the gestures into being about me. Submission to the gestures, on the other hand, erases the priest’s own person and helps him to be what he needs to be in that moment: priest, victim, alter Christus. The trappings, the rubrics, the gestures erase the priest’s poor person. Resisting these things runs the risk of making them all about the priest again.
In a sense, I had made the objection of Judas about the precious nard which the woman brought to the Lord. Jesus responded that the precious stuff should be kept for His Body, which was to be sacrificed. People who object that we should have only poor liturgy are falling into the argument of Judas. We must submit to the precious and sublime in recognition of the truth of what is going on. To pit the sublime and complex and precious and beautiful against the low, simple and humble is schizophrenic and not Catholic.
There is no real conflict of the humble and the sublime in liturgical worship