My Very Dear Sisters and Brothers,
I thought of sharing with all of you some thoughts on the different postures we have during our liturgical celebrations.
We have three basic postures during our different liturgical celebrations, i.e., we stand, sit or kneel. In some Eastern Rites prostration is also a done posture, which in our Latin Rite is used only on Good Friday by the celebrant before the start of the liturgical action of the day; also, during an ordination rite the candidate prostrates himself on the ground while the All Saints litany is chanted. We also bow and genuflect.
Sitting is the posture for listening and reflection; we sit to listen to the word of God read from Scripture; we sit while the Word of God is explained to us in sermons and homilies; and we sit as we reflect in silence over what we heard and take it to heart for our lives. Standing is the posture for prayer; the Jews from whom our Christian
tradition derives much, always prayed standing and with arms extended heavenward. We kneel when we adore… when we are in the presence of the Lord, “before whom all knees shall bend, in the heavens, on earth and in the underworld.” (Cf. Phil.
2:10) Bowing is a posture of respect, as is genuflection which has its overtones in the royalties of old.
Having said the above, it has to be added that the human physical condition is something to be factored in to the postures that we adopt during our liturgies. Those of us elders know that our limbs are no more as supple as they used to be and we hear
our bones creaking as we try to genuflect; and for those among us with bad knees or replaced knee-caps, kneeling becomes a herculean ordeal. It is therefore my suggestion that rather than kneeling in agony, simply adopt a posture that is comfortable, sit down may be, as standing up could inconvenience those behind us, apart from making
Coming to some actual praxis, I suggest that we all sit down after we have received communion during Mass, while the others stand in line for communion, till we stand for the concluding prayer. I am by no means discouraging kneeling as a devotional posture, leaving it to your individual choice. But if it is hard on your knees, by all means sit down; the same goes for standing… if that hurts your back, please sit down. I am certain the Lord does not want you to bring on physical harm to yourself in the process of adoring him. What is required is your PRESENCE WITH HIM, no matter the posture.
May all of you have a wonderful week ahead
---Fr. Joe Kadaprayil SDB