Tuesday, January 18, 2011


black vestments

I usually celebrate Masses for the Dead wearing black vestments. I think black is a dignified color, and there is dignity in the sorrow of a Christian. However, I also believe that wearing black vestments do not rule out the message of the resurrection in funeral masses, as some would opine. We look towards the morning of the resurrection, a morning that is yet to come; we are still in the darkness of this world, that is why black is significative, more suitable for funerals than violet and white (though I also wear them in funerals, but only during Easter season) Violet is used for mourning, however it is also used as a color for penitence. Black is the only color exclusively used for the dead. 

"But isn't black a little too morbid?" someone may ask.
 To which I reply, "DUH?"  What could be more morbid than death?

Nowadays many people prefer to touch on the topic of death with pincers and gloves; they prefer to have a palliative view  of it rather than look at it straight in the eye. Perhaps one reason why so many people are afraid to live for real these days is because they are afraid of death. As I have always believed, though it is true that death could be thought of as the end of life, its termination, its antithesis, its opposite, nevertheless our faith in Christ risen and victorious allows us to realize that death is a part of life, a passage, a threshold to a new life, an invitation to a reunion of a definitive kind, something to celebrate. That's why the Catholic liturgy sees it as a celebration based upon the hope of eternal life. The Catholic Faith teaches us not to have any fear of death, but allows us to see it in its grandeur, its beauty, it tragedy, and not only that, but as also as a promise, a budding to new life.

This is the reason why, though as of now many priests do not appreciate the use of black in funerals for fear of stepping upon modern-day sensibilities fearful of death, I prefer to wear black in funerals over which I preside, because for a Catholic, even black is a color of hope.

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