MY CATHOLIC FAITH: WHY DO WE WEAR VIOLET /PURPLE DURING LENT IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH?
When you look around your church, you may have noticed that some things look different during the Lenten season, perhaps the first being the use of purple during Mass. The priest’s chasuble (the outermost liturgical vestment) and the deacon’s Stole are all purple. The altar is also covered with a purple cloth.Why is this so?
LITURGICAL COLOURS IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
The practice of using different colours for vestments and other liturgical objects during the various seasons of the church year seems to have begun in Jerusalem in the 12th century. As the custom spread, usage varied considerably. The liturgical colours were standardised throughout the church in the period after the Council of Trent in the mid-16th century.
Thus, According to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, the purpose of the variety of colour of the sacred vestments is to express outwardly the specific character of the mysteries of faith being celebrated and to give a sense of the passage of the Christian life throughout the course of the liturgical year. (GIRM #345)
The four basic liturgical colours are white, red, green and purple. White is used during the Easter and Christmas seasons, on feasts of the Lord, of Mary and of Saints who were not martyrs, and on other special solemnities. Red is used on Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Pentecost and on feasts of martyrs.Green is used throughout Ordinary Time and violet or purple in Advent and Lent. The colours express emotions and ideas that are associated with each of the seasons of the liturgical year.
WHY IS PURPLE WORN DURING LENT?
Firstly, we must remember that during His passion, Jesus was dressed in a purple robe. This robe belonged to Herod, and it was the most expensive color available in the Roman Empire. Since Jesus is the King of Kings, the mocking gesture of dressing Him in a purple robe was actually indicative of His royal dignity. Thus, the association of purple with royalty reminds us of Jesus’ resurrection and hope of newness that will be celebrated on Easter Sunday.
Futhermore, purple is a symbol of the offense surrounding our sins. Just like Jesus was mocked about being royal, we necessitated this suffering through our sins. Purple is a sorrowful and mournful color, for this reason when we look at the purple vestments and church decorations, we are called upon to remember what was done for us.
More so, Purple symbolizes both the pain and suffering leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus as well as the suffering of humanity and the world under sin.
Color is an unspoken language that creates an immediate, emotional connection with the meaning of an event. Colors play an important part in the liturgical year of the Catholic Church, Hence the color violet reminds us that we are living 40 days of reflection, penance, and spiritual conversion.
Thank you for reading, God bless us all.
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