Thursday, September 15, 2011

Kneeling no more?

Yesterday, I visited the seminary I studied in and I decided to say a prayer in the big chapel. The seminarians were just about to pray the Midday Prayer for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. I observed one thing which disturbed me...the seminarians did not kneel at any point of the prayer. They sat through the hymn (we said it standing) and the psalms and reading. They stood for the collect and then, for the Angelus (In our time, we knelt during the Angelus during weekdays and stood for it during Sundays.) Afterwards, at the end of the prayer, some simply left while the others sat for some silent prayer. I did not see anyone kneel.

In the evening, I shared this with some members of the exorcism team. One of them said that when a seminarian kneels in prayer, he is oftentimes judged as a showoff! I am disturbed at this prevailing culture in the seminary. Now I am not at all surprised that many priests are reluctant to make acts of reverence. Perhaps, they do not like to look too pious? But then, aren't priests supposed to be pious? Shouldn't acts of reverence (like kneeling) be second nature to them? How can priests lead the faithful in acts of piety if they themselves are not pious?

The Belgian missionaries then taught us the value of piety. Towards the end of my stay in that seminary, small group Masses in the oratories became more and more fashionable and the big chapel was used less and less. I remember that the oratories did not encourage kneeling as these were in the amphitheater style. Perhaps kneeling became less fashionable also to the point that this is now seen as a sign of religious hypocrisy.

But we should kneel before the Lord. "So that at Jesus' Name, every knee should bend in the heavens, on the earth, and under the earth..." so would St. Paul say. Man becomes most a man when he kneels before his Creator!

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you completely. I had the unfortunate opportunity to visit a Church on vacation and noticed that the people stood during the ENTIRE Eucharistic prayer! It seems to fly in the face of what I was taught while discerning my vocation with the Institute of Christ the King. My superior taught us all that kneeling is the greatest act of worship one can give to God.