Catholic Customs and Practices #2 “Postures and Gestures” Mr. Pablo Cuadra Religion Class
Postures and Gestures• The Catholic practice of postures and gestures has one characteristic:• The ability to turn people away from the mundane, the worldly, the everyday, and direct them toward the sacred, the transcendent, the eternal.
When should Catholics bow their heads?• When you pass by a Church, bow your head and make the Sign of the Cross to honor the Real Presence of Christ in the tabernacle.• Any time you hear the Name of "Jesus“.• Men should remove their hats and bow their heads when passing a church or when His Name is spoken; this practice is for both inside and outside of Mass.
When should Catholics bow their heads?• Cross yourself and bow the head when the priest and the cross walk down the aisle before and after Mass.• Any time you hear "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (or "Holy Spirit")" mentioned together.• Bow your head at solemn blessings given at Mass during the dismissal.
What is the proper way to bow one’s head?• Simply lower your chin toward your throat and hold a moment.
What does striking the breast express?• Jeremiah. 31:19 "I turn in repentance...I strike my breast“.• This gestures expresses regret and sorrow for our sins.• It is a sign of contrition for the mistakes of the past and the sins of the present.
What is the proper way of striking one’s breast?• With either a fist or with the tips of the fingers, held close together, strike your chest over the heart.• This practice has fallen into disuse in the liturgy of English speaking countries.• It continues to be in use in the liturgy of other countries.
When are we supposed to strike our breast?• Formally, during the mass’ confiteur.• The Confiteor is a Catholic prayer in which the person saying the prayer confesses to God and the saints that he has sinned and asks the saints for intercession.• Note: In the revised rites following Vatican II, the prayer is said in a shortened form.
ConfiteorOld Version (Traditional) ICEl VersionI confess to Almighty God, I confess to almighty God,to blessed Mary ever Virgin, and to you, my brothers and sisters,to blessed Michael the Archangel, that I have sinned through my own fault,to blessed John the Baptist, in my thoughts and in my words,to the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, in what I have done, and in whatto all the Saints and to you, brothers (and to you I have failed to do.Father), Therefore I ask the blessed Mary,that I have sinned exceedingly, ever virgin, all the angels and saints,in thought, word and deed: and you, my brothers and sisters,through my fault, to pray for me to the Lord, our God.through my fault,through my most grievous fault.Therefore I beseech the blessed Mary,ever Virgin,blessed Michael the Archangel,blessed John the Baptist,the holy Apostles Peter and Paul,all the Saints, and you, brothers (and you Father),to pray to the Lord our God for me.Amen.
What is the proper way to make a profound bow?• Bow at the waist in the manner of the Japanese (about 30o forward.)
What are the occasions for a profound bow?• During the part of the Nicene Creed that says: “For Us Men and for Our Salvation, He Came Down from Heaven.”• Any time one hears the Trinitarian formula: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is the practice in the monastic community.• Praying before the Holy Icons (if one is Eastern Catholic).
When are we supposed to double kneel?• Any time the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, to show adoration and humility.• During the consecration of the Eucharist.• During Confession (If one is Eastern Catholic)• During private prayer.
When are we supposed to kneel with the left knee?• When greeting or leaving the Pope or other hierarchs with the rank of Bishop or above and who have jurisdiction over you (only when the Pope is not present) -- e.g., to the Bishop or Archbishop of your diocese, not of a neighboring diocese.• During the left-knee genuflection, a kiss is given to the hierarchs ring. Then stand.
When are we supposed to kneel with the right knee?• Genuflect toward the Tabernacle where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved.• Make a genuflection each time you pass in front of the tabernacle. (except when youre in procession, such as standing in line for Communion, or returning to your seat afterward).• Remind yourself when genuflecting toward the Tabernacle that you are kneeling before God. Praying mentally, "My Lord and My God"
What is a prostration?• Prostrations, are gestures that signify total humility and penance.• Prostrations are made during the Rite of Ordination, during rites of religious profession (i.e., entry into religious orders).• Prostration are also made postures of penance in religious orders, and by anyone during private prayer before a Crucifix or the Blessed Sacrament.
The Kiss of Peace• Describing the custom of exchanging the greeting of peace at Mass St. Augustine in the 4th century says, "After the Lords Prayer, say Peace be with you. Christians then embrace one another with a holy kiss. This is the sign of peace."• In the primitive church at Rome and in the Eastern Church, the kiss of peace was offered after the first part of the Mass and before the Eucharistic Prayer. Early baptismal documents also indicate that the exchange of peace was reserved only for the faithful, and so catechumens were dismissed before the Prayer of the Faithful, which was followed by the Kiss of Peace.• In the Western Church the sign of peace was moved quite early to where it is as Augustine described it and where it is today. The Western Church saw a close link between peace and communion--peace with one another before receiving the Prince of Peace.• In the Middle Ages the laity were excluded from the sign of peace and it was then dropped altogether from the Mass; the only remnant of the rite was the action of the priest kissing the altar. Vatican II restored the ancient rite of peace to all who participate at mass.• Custom dictates how the kiss of peace is exchanged in each country: a handshake, an embrace, words of peace, or other actions. In Japan, for example, the celebrant bows deeply to the congregation who in turn bow towards him and then bow respectfully to one another. It is a sign that works well in their culture. How the sign of peace is given will vary, but its meaning remains the same. Thomas Keevey
What is an oran?• An oran is a solemn posture of prayer. It designates the act of supplication.• To make this posture raise arms either at your sides and with hands up to shoulder height, or raise arms up over your head as a child would when wanting his father to pick him up.
When are we Catholics supposed to make use of the orans?• Priests and bishops perform this gesture during the Mass.• Laypeople sometimes adopt this position during private prayer.• It should not be used by the laity at the Mass. To avoid interrupting the meaning and unity of the prescribed rites for the liturgy. Early church catacombs
Prayer of Humility by Merry Cardinal del Val, secretary of state to Pope Saint Pius XO Jesus, meek and humble of heart, From the fear of being That others may be loved more than I,Hear me. humiliated, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, O Jesus. That others may be esteemed more than I,Deliver me, O Jesus. From the fear of being Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.From the desire of being loved, despised, That, in the opinion of the world,Deliver me, O Jesus. Deliver me, O Jesus. others may increase and I may decrease,From the desire of being extolled, From the fear of suffering Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.Deliver me, O Jesus. rebukes, That others may be chosen and I set aside,From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, O Jesus. Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.Deliver me, O Jesus. From the fear of being That others may be praised and I go unnoticed,From the desire of being praised, calumniated, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.Deliver me, O Jesus. Deliver me, O Jesus. That others may be preferred to me in everything,From the desire of being preferred to others, From the fear of being Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. forgotten, That others may become holier than I,Deliver me, O Jesus. Deliver me, O Jesus. provided that I may become as holy as I should,From the desire of being consulted, From the fear of being ridiculed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.Deliver me, O Jesus.From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, O Jesus.Deliver me, O Jesus. From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, O Jesus. From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, O Jesus.