Act of Adoration
By Hugh J. McNichol
During a recent Sunday Mass I was fascinated to notice the number of people that fail to make a reverence to the Blessed Sacrament before sitting down in the pew. The act of genuflection when entering a church is a tradition that is rooted in our Catholic psyche, our essential belief in the Real Presence and is an essential sign of Catholic identity.
Is there a reason individuals no longer make a sign of reverence in Church?
Have Catholics become so secularized in our religious observances that we forget to pay homage to the Eucharistic Lord?
I think that as Americans we might have a bit of an issue with bowing to a monarch or some other type of plenipotentary. After all we instigated and fought a revolution to free us from the constraints of "class" structure in the United States. But when it comes to the act of homage in religion... we sometimes think that it is an exercise in the democratic unnecessity of showing respect. We need to teach clearly in our faith that the act of latria is worship extended to God and God alone. The genuflection made in our Church echoes and reflects our theological comprehension of God's living presence among us. It is significant to note that we genuflect only to revere the Eucharistic Lord. During the liturgy our posture reflects our wonderment and awe of God's immense power.
I don't think it has become unpopular to offer a sign of reverence intentionally among the faithful. I do think it has become a pseudo blend of American antimonarchial tendencies as well as a growing loss of comprehension of the sacred among us.
Our lives are filled with secular activities and things which quite frequently do not remind us of God among us. Quite the contrary, God is often displaced by other ritual that wraps us up in ourselves and the frantic activities of human lives. It is an appropriate time to once again make our churches sacred spaces that permit the solitude of prayer as well as a liturgical space directed to the worship of God through our sacraments. We can begin this appreciation of sacred space by not using the church as the local meeting place for personal conversations and activities. Remember people have come there to pray. If there is a need to have conversations...maybe the parish could offer a coffee and tea get-together in the hall after each Mass. It would accomplish two things; fellowship and our need to converse would be completed.
Stop the unnecessary running around and preparations before each Mass. The choir director changes hymn numbers, the pastor checks the amount of Eucharist in the tabernacle, the ushers shove weekly bulletins into the racks, the reader taps the microphone (Why God knows. It is not good for the microphone or the auditory reception of the people sitting there!), the organist practices, and the guitar player strums...well you get the point. There is a cacophony of sounds that do not prepare us to celebrate the mystery of the Eucharist. Let's use some common sense and again courtesy. We come to church to pray and prepare to celebrate the sacraments. It is perhaps the only chance some people get to hear God in the silence of their hearts.
I am convinced that what we really need is a contingent of old I.H.M. nuns with pointers to fill the role of porter. That would straighten out the whole mess. There would be no "bold brazen articles" running around making the sanctuary so chaotic.
Let's put the Blessed Sacrament back into the center of the Altar. If we know He is present our focus will be on the Eucharistic Lord. God knows, we are past the point of treating the Eucharist like an ICBM missile, always moving the Lord around to play a sort of liturgical "cold war defense theory". We need to seek Him...it is not the other way around. If our churches are not built properly then it is a perfect event to have a dreaded "committee" to get the place back into proper liturgical form.
Also, stop opening and closing the tabernacle to check on Jesus. It reminds me of a child checking to see if the light stays on or goes off in the refrigerator when the door is closed. Properly determine the amount of Eucharist needed and confect appropriately at the Eucharistic liturgy. It is the Bread of Life. Don't use old bread at the banquet.
Finally remember we are there to worship the Creator of the Universe. There is no need for high technology such as cellular phones, palm pilots and laptops. God is a simple fellow. He only needs a bit of quiet adoration to get his point across to us. Church is a place to worship appropriately the Word made Flesh lets do it right.
http://www.trinettc.com DE, US
Hugh McNichol - President, 302 6339348
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