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  #1  
Old Jun 1, '07, 9:13 pm
Denae Denae is offline
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Default When to prostrate yourself?

When is it apropriate to prostrate oneself? Outside Mass? Inside Mass? Only in front of the Eucharist? Or not in front of it? *melodramatic* I'm so confused!!
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Last edited by Denae; Jun 1, '07 at 9:14 pm. Reason: spelling error
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  #2  
Old Jun 1, '07, 9:30 pm
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LilyM LilyM is offline
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Default Re: When to prostrate yourself?

Many Catholics have gone through their entire lives without prostrating themselves in prayer. So it's certainly never mandatory. Except for a priest when he's being ordained - I believe it forms part of the ordination ceremony.

I think in the context of Mass it's best to stick within the range of what people usually do at Mass - so standing (at times), sitting, kneeling rather than prostration. Unless you're in an Eastern Catholic liturgy where this normally takes place, not that I know of any that do so.

Outside of this - in the context of Eucharistic Adoration for example - it's unusual but not unheard of, to prostrate in the presence of the Eucharist (or even the Tabernacle) so I'd say it's fine. Just choose a spot that doesn't block the free passage of anyone else (don't prostrate yourself in front of the door or in the aisle, for example).

Of course within your own home anything goes - you can stand on your head if you feel like.
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Old Jun 1, '07, 9:47 pm
Denae Denae is offline
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Default Re: When to prostrate yourself?

*smile* I knew it wasn't mandatory, I was asking when is it apropriate if you wish. thank you for the advice though!!
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Old Jun 2, '07, 2:00 am
C Bautista C Bautista is offline
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Default Re: When to prostrate yourself?

Instead of genuflecting at adoration, I suppose you could say I prostrate myself. It's sort of a double-kneed genuflect plus a bow all the way to the ground. Not like, laying down completely, though. Something I've always done, sort of, since I've come to understand the nature of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

I recall a story of a Protestant and a Catholic priest. The priest is going to retrieve something from a small chapel which is currently in a state of adoration of the Eucharist. He kneels briefly as he comes near the alter, fetches what he was looking for, and
returns to his Protestant friend.

"You kneeled in front of the alter... why do you do that?" Asks the Protestant.

"Why, we Catholics believe that the Eucharist is the body of Christ Himself," replies the priest simply. The Protestant frowns.

"If I believed that I was in front of God Himself, I think I'd be kneeling a little bit longer," he says thoughtfully.

It seems to me that we often forget that God Himself is the Blessed Sacrament. How are we to humble ourselves before Him eternally if we cannot humble our physical body before Him for a short amount of time? It seems that prostrating oneself (or at least lowering oneself significantly) is surely appropriate before God.
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Old Jun 2, '07, 2:12 am
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Default Re: When to prostrate yourself?

Quote:
Originally Posted by C Bautista View Post
Instead of genuflecting at adoration, I suppose you could say I prostrate myself. It's sort of a double-kneed genuflect plus a bow all the way to the ground. Not like, laying down completely, though. Something I've always done, sort of, since I've come to understand the nature of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

I recall a story of a Protestant and a Catholic priest. The priest is going to retrieve something from a small chapel which is currently in a state of adoration of the Eucharist. He kneels briefly as he comes near the alter, fetches what he was looking for, and
returns to his Protestant friend.

"You kneeled in front of the alter... why do you do that?" Asks the Protestant.

"Why, we Catholics believe that the Eucharist is the body of Christ Himself," replies the priest simply. The Protestant frowns.

"If I believed that I was in front of God Himself, I think I'd be kneeling a little bit longer," he says thoughtfully.

It seems to me that we often forget that God Himself is the Blessed Sacrament. How are we to humble ourselves before Him eternally if we cannot humble our physical body before Him for a short amount of time? It seems that prostrating oneself (or at least lowering oneself significantly) is surely appropriate before God.
Why? God appoeared directly to Jacob, Moses and others directly many times - are any of these ever recorded as having prostrated himself before God??? To be sure they expressed unworthiness to be in his presence, but not always by prostration!
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Old Jun 2, '07, 2:29 am
C Bautista C Bautista is offline
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Default Re: When to prostrate yourself?

I suppose this is true.

It just seems like prostration (or something close) is very easily accommodated in adoration and is a way to humble oneself before God in a very physical and immediate way without disturbing others who might be there.

If there's a time for it, it seems to me that adoration is that time.
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Old Jun 2, '07, 2:46 am
Al Masetti Al Masetti is offline
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Default Re: When to prostrate yourself?

It might be inappropriate to prostrate yourself if there is any possibility of someone seeing you do it.

There is always a chance that someone's "motivation" might be to be seen by others.

Jesus gave us the order to pray by going into our room with the door closed.

There is another quote that even our right hand should not know what our left hand is doing.
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Old Jun 2, '07, 6:04 am
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Default Re: When to prostrate yourself?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LilyM View Post
Many Catholics have gone through their entire lives without prostrating themselves in prayer. So it's certainly never mandatory. Except for a priest when he's being ordained - I believe it forms part of the ordination ceremony.
A priest also prostrates himself at the beginning of the Liturgy of the Passion and Death of Our Lord on Good Friday.

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Old Jun 2, '07, 9:17 am
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Default Re: When to prostrate yourself?

I prefer not to prostrate myself at the church. I don't want to distract people praying at the church. I do prostrate myself in the morning at home before going to work - it helps remind me to be His servant in my daily activities.
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Old Jun 3, '07, 11:01 pm
Woodstock Woodstock is offline
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Default Re: When to prostrate yourself?

Quote:
Originally Posted by C Bautista View Post
Instead of genuflecting at adoration, I suppose you could say I prostrate myself.
This is what we do in the Eastern churches as well. It looks like Muslims bowing to pray (they stole it from us).

We haven't done any prostrations for a while as we only stand in prayer during the entire Easter season, ending on Pentecost. We had kneeling prayers on Pentecost to mark their return.

We make these prostrations most often during Lent when almost every prayer is marked by constant prostrations. We start the Great Fast with Forgiveness Vespers, during which we go to every person in the church, prostrating in this manner, and asking for forgiveness. On the weekdays, we frequently make prostrations depending on the particular prayer cycle and liturgical attendance we maintain.

Here's an example:

Quote:
Before discussing the matter of prostrations, I would like to underscore once again the fact that one's external [gestures] have a meaning of secondary importance, or perhaps it would be better to say, have a derived meaning. The external is of no value unless it is corresponds to an internal meaning. Thus, the internal is greater than the external. For example, before making the sign of the Cross, one must direct one's heart and mind toward the Crucified Lord. Before making a prostration, one must feel one's submission and obedience to God. Before kissing an Icon or placing a candle before it, one must have love and reverence for the one depicted on the Icon. It is only under those conditions that the Church permits the use of external rituals and symbols.

On prostrations, and what kind are to be done during the Liturgy.

Full prostrations are, however, called for during Liturgies served on weekdays. The first full prostration in the Liturgy is done after the Creed, as the priest says "Let us give thanks unto the Lord!" ... He thanks the Lord for all of His blessings, both those we know of and those unknown to us, and for the peaceful sacrifice ("a mercy of peace"), that we are about to offer. Thanks to this prayer of thanksgiving, the entire impending church service is known as the "Eucharist," from the Greek word meaning "thanksgiving." All of the faithful perform the first full prostration at this point as a sign of their thanks to God for their entire lives.
Everyone makes a second full prostration at the singing of "To Thee we sing…," i.e.. during the Mystery of the changing of the Holy Gifts, at the priest's words "changing them by Thy Holy Spirit. Amen. Amen. Amen!"

Christ Himself is present in the Holy Gifts. Everyone makes a third full prostration to the Mother of God at the words "Especially for our Most holy, Most pure, Most-blessed, Most-blessed Lady Theotokos and Ever virgin Mary." At this time, the Choir sings "It is truly meet to bless thee, the Theotokos…" We revere the Mother of God as "more honorable than the Cherubim and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim." By her was the Incarnation of God accomplished. She gave birth to God our Savior.

The ustav calls for a fourth full prostration at the singing of the "Our Father," the Lord's Prayer, for us is of absolutely unique importance. It is the greatest of prayers, for it was given to us by the Lord Himself (see Matthew 6: 9-13). As we pronounce the words "give us this day our daily bread," let us think not only of ordinary bread, but about the eucharistic Bread of which many soon are to partake. Let us pray that the Lord might give us "this day" His divine Bread, unto the healing of soul and body.
We make the fifth full prostration when the Holy Gifts are brought out for Communion of the laity, as the priest or deacon says "With fear of God, with faith and love draw nigh!" According to the Orthodox Faith, in the Mystery of the Eucharist bread and wine changes into the Body and Blood of Christ. We bow down before the Holy Gifts as before Christ Himself, for He is mystically present in them.

The sixth full prostration is done at the end of the Liturgy, after the singing of "We have seen the True Light…" At this point, the priest secretly prays: "Be Thou exalted above the heavens, O God, and Thy glory above all the earth!" In the Liturgy, this final appearance of the Holy Gifts to the people, and their subsequent transfer deep into the Altar, to the Table of Prothesis, depicts the Ascension of Jesus Christ into Heaven. The Gospel states that while Christ was ascending, the Apostles bowed down before Him (Luke 24: 52); likewise, at the final appearance of the Holy Gifts we make a full prostration. Those who have communed do not make this last prostration, for they not only observe and contemplate on Christ as the other faithful do, but they also have Him within themselves!
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