Monday, April 4, 2011

On Our Knees

From our Pastor's note in our Sunday bulletin:
Preparation of the worship space is always excellent but I'd like to focus on [our] attention to the Eucharist until the Lord's Body has been 'reposed' in the tabernacle and the sacred vessels purified. In some congregations as soon as the tabernacle doors makes the sound of closing there is a sudden roar as the congregation rushes to be seated. This happens whether the sacred vessels have been purified or not. I am so impressed that our congregations attenttively wait until the holy vessels and the particles of the body and Blood of Christ are reverently cared for by the deacon or the priest. Only when the vessels are properly purified do I see the congregation sit for the short period of meditation. Although my phrasing is a bit too simple, our congregations demonstrate their love for Christ our Savior by watching carefully that our friend is securely given a proper place of rest before we ourselves recline.
I am so thankful to attend Mass at a parish where this kind of reverence for The Lord is expressed. At other parishes in my Diocese I have seen some real inconsistency when it comes to kneeling. At my previous parish the entire congregation sits down when distribution of the Eucharist begins, and they sit after Communion when they feel like sitting. At other parishes they stand during the consecration because kneeling has been reduced to an optional posture. Still other parishes do not provide kneelers and say, "we don't have to kneel."

Actually, you kind of do: "In the dioceses of the United States of America, they should kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer, except when prevented on occasion by reasons of health, lack of space, the large number of people present, or some other good reason. Those who do not kneel ought to make a profound bow when the priest genuflects after the consecration. The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise." (General Instruction of the Roman Missal: II. The Different Elements of the Mass, Movements and Posture. My emphasis. Click here to read more from the GIRM.)

Note that the "should" is qualified by spelled-out exceptions.

Granted, remaining on your knees until the vessels are purified is not necessarily spelled out in this online presentation of the GIRM; reverence, however, isn't an act of law, but an act of love. I look at it this way: if the Lord Jesus stood before me in all of his glory, would I be able to stand there, or would I fall not just to my knees, but to my face and beg for His mercy?

I therefore must remain on my knees, because even though I can't see Him, I believe He is there.

May the Heart of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament be praised, adored and loved, with grateful affection, at every moment, in all the Tabernacles of the world, even till the end of time.


Eddie Ray said...

One hour a week is nothing compared to the sacrifice Jesus made for us.
I say remain kneeling until the priest sits down no matter what church your in. Another thing I see that erk's me is these people that let there kids stand on the kneelers.When I was a kid you got your ear twisted for even thinking about it.

Gina said...

So true! A few moments on our knees is nothing in comparison!

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