.- Kneeling during mass plays a central role in worship and must be encouraged in Catholic parishes, said Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted. In his recent column in the Catholic Sun, the bishop of Phoenix offered strong reasoning in favor of kneeling during the consecration at mass, a practice lost in many Arizona parishes and elsewhere.
“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,” said Bishop Olmsted.
The human body has a vital role in the “full, conscious and active participation in the Sacred Liturgy,” he said.
He cited the General Instruction for the Roman Missal, which states that worshippers “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.”
He pointed out how kneeling was a sign of worship and humility practiced in Biblical times and how the Bible says that Jesus and the Apostles knelt to pray.
“To bend one’s knee before God [in Biblical times] was a profound act of worship; it stated boldly yet simply that God is the source of all power and that the one on bended knee is ready to place his life and all his energy at the service of the Lord,” he wrote.
He also cited St. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians as the “strongest theological foundation for kneeling”: “At the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth.” (2:6-11)
“Kneeling is more than a gesture of the overly pious,” he wrote. “It is a fundamental act of faith, a strong expression about Who stands at the center of one’s life and Who stands at the center of all creation.
“Bending the knee at the name of Jesus is a decisive act of those with athletic souls and humble hearts. There is nothing passive about kneeling in humility and adoration,” he continued. “When the knees act in response to a heart that loves Christ, there is unleashed a force so strong it can change the face of the earth. Grace is the name we give to this force.”
He added that 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,” he said, citing Isaiah and Romans. “But when we kneel at Jesus’ name, when we bow down in service of others, and when we bend the knee in adoration, we are following in the footsteps” of the saints.
For the full article, go to: http://www.diocesephoenix.org/pressRoom/bishopColumn.htm