Monday, March 24, 2014


MY COMMENTS FIRST:  As a teenager, what was being taught to us by all the stripping of popular piety and traditional forms of reverence experienced in the 1962 Roman Missal, such as kneeling and the so-called "useless repetition" of our unworthiness, is that only God could save us poor miserable sinners as we approached him not with a haughty bodily position of standing, heads raised, and receiving Him triumphantly in the hand, but kneeling, striking one's breast each time the "Lord, I am not worthy..." was proclaimed not once, not twice, but three times, before Holy Communion! The priest had already done this not once, not twice but three times prior to his reception of Holy Communion.

Then those who were freed of all venial sin, had not broken the fast and had been absolved of mortal sins, if these had been committed, humbly approached the altar with heads bowed, hands folded and kneeled at the altar railing in humble anticipation of their Savior who alone saves them.

Kneeling for Holy Communion is the most humble acknowledgement that "I am a sinner" and in Christian humility showing it by the bodily posture of kneeling, which is of humble acknowledgement of one's sinful status and seeking God's forgiveness. Standing is not. Especially at Holy Communion standing in the Latin Rite is a sign of the haughtiness of those who wanted to diminish our sense of sinfulness after Vatican II by its false "spirit" and our "right" to Holy Communion would be emphasized. "I'm okay, you're okay" of the 1970's isn't served well by kneeling for Holy Communion! To say that only Christ saves us and not our own abilities and haughtiness goes against the spirit of the 1970's when standing for Holy Communion was shoved down the throats of the collective Catholic Church of that time and by denigrating the 1500 year tradition of kneeling for Holy Communion in humble acknowledgement of the truth of whom we are: SINNERS!

Pope Francis: humility is the path to salvation

(Vatican Radio) Our salvation is not just in observing the Commandments, but in the humility to always feel the need to be healed by God. This was the message voiced by Pope Francis during Mass on Monday morning at the Casa Santa Marta.

Pope Francis’ homily on Monday found inspiration in these words that Jesus addressed to his fellow citizens in Nazareth: “No prophet is accepted in his hometown”. It was a place where he never worked miracles because “they had no faith”. Jesus recalls two biblical episodes: the miracle of the healing of the leper Naaman, and the meeting of the prophet Elijah with the widow of Serapta who shared her last morsel of food and was saved from famine. “Lepers and widows – Pope Francis explained – in those days were the outcasts of society”. And yet, these two outcasts, welcomed the prophets and were saved, while the people of Nazareth did not accept Jesus because “they felt so strong in their faith”, so sure of their faithful observance of the Commandments, they felt they had no need for other salvation”.

“It is the tragedy of observing the Commandments without faith: ‘I save myself because I go to the Synagogue every Saturday, I try to obey the Commandments, I do not want to hear that the leper or the widow is better than me!’ They are outcasts! And Jesus tells us: ‘if you do not put yourself on the margins, if you don’t feel what it is to be an outcast, you will not obtain salvation’. This is humility, the path of humility: to feel so marginalized that we need the Salvation of the Lord. He alone saves us, not our observance of the law. And they did not like this; they were angry and wanted to kill him”.

The Pope observed that this was the same anger initially felt by Naaman, because he felt that Elisha’s invitation to wash himself seven times in the Jordan was ridiculous and humiliating. “The Lord asked him for a gesture of humility, He asked him to obey like a child, to be ridiculous”. Namman turned and went off in a rage, but afterwards his servants convinced him to do what the prophet asked of him. That act of humility healed him. “This is the message for today – the Pope said - in this third week of Lent: if we want to be healed, we must choose the road of humility”.

"In her Canticle Mary does not say she is happy because God was looking to her virginity, to her kindness or to her sweetness – all of them virtues that she possessed – no: because the Lord was looking to her humility, the humility of His servant, her smallness. This is what the Lord looks for. And we must take heed of this wisdom and put ourselves on the margins so that the Lord may find us. He will not find us at the center of our certainties. That is not where the Lord looks. He will find us on the margins, in our sins, in our mistakes, in our need for spiritual healing, for salvation; that is where the Lord will find us”.

“This – Pope Francis highlighted – is the path of humility”:

“Christian humility is not within the virtue of saying: ‘I am not important’ and hiding our pride. No, Christian humility is telling the truth: ‘I am a sinner’. Tell the truth: this is our truth. But there is another truth: God saves us. He saves us when we are on the margins; He does not save us in our certainties. Let us ask for the grace of having the wisdom to put ourselves on the margins, for the grace of humility so that we may receive the Lord’s Salvation”.


Anonymous said...

"Haughty standing position"? Is that why we stand for the entrance procession, the reading of the Gospel, when a guest enters our home, when our mother, or the Pope enter the room? Standing shows respect. You seem to be talking about groveling. I believe that our Father, God, like our own human fathers, wants our love and respect. I don't think he's looking for or comfortable with groveling.

Kneeling Catholic said...

Now just wait a minute there, Anonymous!

you clearly seem to have a problem with kneeling, per se. (equating it with groveling)

I feel I must remind you that the Saints in heaven kneel and our Lord knealt. Miguel Pro chose to kneel as he was martyred. Even suitors still kneel to propose to their sweethearts. Kneeling has an intensity that more ordinary postures --like standing--do not have. Call it groveling if you will, but kneeling puts us in very good company. (does it not?)

John said...

I grovel to God -Jesus Christ- willingly every day. I am very thankful that I can.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Interesting, the apologetic I remember the most to convince us Catholics who had no problem whatsoever kneeling for Holy Communion (except for knee issues) was the derogatory word "groveling" and the same examples as the first comment indicates. We're talking about receiving our Lord in the transubstantiated Bread and Wine, a unique presence of the Lord, and different theologically, ontologically and dogmatically from the presence of Christ in the priest and His word proclaimed at Mass. We do not say either once or thrice, "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but speak but the word and my soul will be healed" before the procession or during or at any time prior to hearing the Word of God or prior to any other time, prior to receiving Holy Communion. And the general rubric is to kneel to say "Lord I am not worthy..." and extension of which is to remain kneeling to receive our Lord's Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

Anonymous said...

Fr.McD, have no problem whatsoever with kneeling. There are times when it is quite Holy Communion, if you wish. My point is that, in spite of your obvious opinion to the contrary, standing is not some kind of a disrespectful, chip-on the shoulder, "haughty" position. (BTW, I know what the Holy Communion is all about. I don't really need First Communion instructions.)

While I'm here....Kneeling Catholic, Saints in Heaven have knees? Did the Rapture or the Final Judgement already come, and I missed it?

Kneeling Catholic said...

Anonymous said... >>>
Fr.McD, have no problem whatsoever with kneeling. There are times when it is quite Holy Communion, if you wish. My point is that, in spite of your obvious opinion to the contrary, standing is not some kind of a disrespectful, chip-on the shoulder, "haughty" position. (BTW, I know what the Holy Communion is all about. I don't really need First Communion instructions.) <<<<

dear Anonymous,

You have already gone too far to make the claim that you have nothing against kneeling. I don't buy it! Gratuitously, you labelled it 'grovelling'.

Many people who stand for Communion do not do it to keep from 'grovelling', they just have never thought kneeling was an option, or are afraid of being conspicuous.

Then there are those who would insist upon standing to make their own personal statement against 'grovelling' before Jesus even if most of the other faithful are kneeling. I do fear for these people's immortal souls and I pray you are not one of them.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be the atheist who follows the commandments without Faith? They are the ones that Francis didn't think should be converted to the Gospel because that would be "solemn nonsense". As usual, what is he talking about? He makes no sense whatsoever.

John Nolan said...

The general custom as it has developed in the Latin Church over the last millennium is to stand for public prayer and kneel for private devotions. It is also customary to kneel before the Blessed Sacrament, particularly when It is in plain sight or when It is being received in Holy Communion.

But these are customs, they varied slightly from place to place and should not be invested with too much significance. If altar rails are in situ, people will kneel; if not, they will stand. What is obnoxious is receiving the Host in the palm of the left hand and transferring It to the mouth with the fingers; it is no less objectionable when done kneeling.