Priests should celebrate liturgy “in the person of christ

In his homily at the Chrism Mass on Green Thursday, the Pope exhorted priests to love God and neighbor. "A person without love is dark within," he said, "Let us ask the Lord to remove all hostility from our innermost being, to take away from us every sense of self-sufficiency, and to clothe us truly with the robe of love."

Further, Benedict XVI called for. Urges priests not to despair of the burden of their ministry. Instead, they should look to Christ, who endured obedience, weakness, pain and darkness. "The more we love him and become lovers with him, the easier for us his seemingly oppressive yoke becomes," the pope said.He reminded priests to exercise their liturgical ministry "in the person of Christ". The vestments of worship are symbols of the priesthood and a clear sign that celebrants stand at the altar in place of another, he said. The tunic and stole would correspond to the festive garment that the father puts on the Prodigal Son when he returns home.

"Making soiled clothes white" Before the service, priests must become aware of how far they are from Christ and "how much dirt exists in our lives," says Benedict XVI. God's love alone can "make our soiled garments white.". In his remarks, the pope also referred to the traditional prayers priests had to say before the liturgical reform when putting on vestments in the sacristy.As a starting point for his homily on the symbolism of priestly vestments, the pope cited a story by Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, "Looking at God". In it, a shepherd asks a king to exchange clothes with him so that the king can learn "what God is doing" through this exchange.

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