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Kneeling for Communion May 27, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, General Catholic.
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A priest in the Diocese of Madison, WI, has a blog post concerning a recent change in his parish, where the bishop has encouraged all communicants to kneel.  The priest has set out a kneeler, and he states that now the majority of his parishioners kneel:

Prior to offering the option of kneeling and receiving on the tongue (which was offered with much teaching), I may have had a small handful of people who felt comfortable enough to receive on the tongue.  Since offering the option, I now have 60-70% of my parishioners receiving this way. 

It is difficult to describe how much it has helped so many who were, as Bishop speaks about, ”desensitized” before making the choice to receive in this way.  Now they approach in a much more discerning and serene way.  I have even noticed such things as people choosing to get a bit more dressed up for Mass.  Praise God!

A word of caution:  For those parishes who choose to do this, I would say that the divine benefits far outweigh the earthly costs. In other words, I have come to understand, over 22 years of priesthood, that if we are going to choose to do the hard work of reversing the trend in our churches of a growing ‘cult of the casual’ and ‘privatization’ of our faith,  we are going to be met with FIERCE opposition.  Having encountered such disproportionate hostility toward any efforts to call us to a deeper reverence (while introducing each effort with much love and much teaching), has left me convinced that this is particular turf the devil does not want to give up without a fight.  Which tells us this is all the more reason why this is a fight in which we must engage.

Amen and Alleluia.  I should note that there is a video of Bishop Morlino of Madison explaining to the faithful why kneeling for Communion is a great idea.  Our Holy Father has given us the example of kneeling by requiring that all who approach him to receive the Blessed Sacrament to kneel.

For the past 15 months or so, my, oldest daughters, and I have been kneeling to receive Communion.  We generally do so at parishes where this is not the norm.  We have felt called to kneel due to our growing awareness of just what an incredible Gift Christ makes of Himself in the Sacrament, and how this Sacrament is the sustaining force in our life.  We are also very aware of our unworthiness to receive the Blessed Sacrament – to take Christ’s Flesh into our bodies, to become as one with Him as we can, which is what He most desires.  We have not done this in order to try to convince other people to do so, although a very few at one parish we attend have joined us.  In our receiving Communion kneeling and on the tongue (which is how Episcopalians receive Communion!), we have had some priests be supportive or at least tolerate it, while others have been outright hostile.  We had one priest state that we were in a state of rebellion and suffered from the sin of pride – that priest later apologized.  Nevertheless, there have been alot of curious glances and some outright hostility, but I think this is the direction the Church is moving – towards far greater reverence in reception of the Blessed Sacrament. 

And, I think the priest at the blog originally linked, Fr. Rick Heilman, makes a very good point when he says this is something the devil does not want to see happening in the Church.  He knows that obedience, faithfulness, and humility are all virtues that bring us closer to God, and decrease his terrible power.  Should a local priest feel inclined to encourage his parishioners to receive Communion kneeling, he could expect fierce opposition.  He could expect this opposition even should he simply regularize the option to receive Communion in this manner.   But, I think the words of Fr. Heilman and Bishop Morlino on the tremendous benefits this practice brings should be kept in mind – and the fact that where kneeling has been tried “the divine benefits have far outweighed the earthly costs.” 

These divine benefits will eventually lead to earthly benefits, as well, such as higher Mass attendance, greater giving, etc.  I pray this practice becomes much more widespread.

Comments

1. kneeling catholic - May 27, 2010

What in the world?!! You’re me! I hope you get more followers than me!

🙂

k.c.

tantamergo - May 28, 2010

I started reading your blog shortly after we started kneeling. Your writing helped me to stick with it even when we were getting some criticism early on. I thank you for showing us that we weren’t the only crazy people out there motivated to do this. I pray that as time goes on, we will see more and more people kneeling to receive Communion!

2. Dave in Dallas - May 29, 2010

Hi, just started reading your blog. Kneeling part I think “could/would” be more reverent. I remember getting on the tongue when I was a kid, and works well for wafers, but for those parishes that bake own bread and then cut up into little squares I think it would be a little more difficult to get it to set on the tongue with out falling off…. yeah I know too much analysis… it’s the engineer in me coming out… lol
It was nice to see in the monthly? newsletter from our parish a note from the priest about appropriate clothing at church. He didn’t ban men from wearing shorts… but stressed that we should dress appropriately…


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