Dear Friends in Christ,
Over the past few weeks you may have read, through our parish communications, or viewed in the Atrium, the new kneelers that will be replacing the old. The new will provide three additional inches of kneeling room in our back section of pews and the screws currently coming through the cushions will no longer be a problem. When the total of $60,000 is collected, the installation will happen. Some are hoping that the installation will happen sooner rather than later!
You may have read the June 14th Mary Mother Messenger, our weekly email communication, where I directed you to an excellent article by Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted. The two part article was published By Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted on May 15, 2005 in the Online Edition – May 2005; Vol. XI, No. 3, The Catholic Sun. The Catholic Sun is the publication of the Phoenix Diocese. The six topics he addresses are the following: Kneeling for the Eucharistic Prayer, Even Jesus Knelt to Pray, The Devil Has No Knees, Why We Kneel During Mass, Standing Out of Love for Christ, and the Nine Postures of St. Dominic.
Today I’d like to share with you some of the Bishop’s article that addresses kneeling for the Eucharistic Prayer. The Bishop writes,
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (third edition) speaks of the proper posture for the laity during the Eucharistic Prayer. In paragraph 42, it states: “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, 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.”
“Of course, it is understood that some of the elderly and disabled will not be able to kneel. In chapels in nursing homes and similar environments, kneeling is often not possible.”
“The practice of kneeling assists our whole person to be attentive to the Lord, to surrender to His will, to lift our soul and our voices in worship. Indeed, it points to the heart of what faith in Christ is all about. We see this reflected already in the earliest days of the Church. In the Acts of the Apostles we are told that Saint Peter “knelt down and prayed” (9:40), and that Saint Paul “knelt down and prayed with them all” (20:36); we see how the first Christian martyr Saint Stephen fell to his knees and prayed that his enemies be forgiven (cf. 7:60), and we see how the whole community, men and women and children, prayed on their knees. (cf. 21:5)
Of course the one creature who is not present at Mass with us on The Lord’s Day is the Devil . . . other than to distract us or keep us from coming ourselves! Why does the Devil have no knees? The Bishop explains, “According to Abba Apollo, a desert father who lived about 1,700 years ago, the devil has no knees; he cannot kneel; he cannot adore; he cannot pray; he can only look down his nose in contempt. Being unwilling to bend the knee at the name of Jesus is the essence of evil.” (Cf. Is 45:23, Rom 14:11)
In contrast to the Pride of the Devil, the Bishop encourages otherwise with the invitation, “Come, let us bow down and worship. Let us kneel before the Lord who made us.”
I agree with the Bishop, “What we do with our knees gives evidence of what we believe in our hearts. When we kneel down beside the bed of a dying person, when we stand up for the dignity of the unborn child, when we genuflect before Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, we say louder than any rhetoric what matters most in our lives. Knees express what we believe and make clear what we will live and die for.”
Let’s continue to Live Jesus!
Consider your contribution to the Kneeler Project as a memorial gift in honor of a loved one! Thank you!
My Love in Christ, through Mary, Mother of the Church,
Fr. Jim Perkl, Pastor