Hands Pressed Together While Standing During Mass


#1

I’m a convert to the Catholic faith from the Pentecostal movement. I converted in 2001, and while I participated in the Charismatic Renewal at first I eventually moved away from it. As a person who has been very expressive in prayer I decided early on that while I am standing during Mass, unless I am holding a hymn book or Missal I will stand with “hands pressed together” (like some altar boys). To me it is a beautiful posture and to have my hands folded while standing is a discipline that helps keep me focussed.

On the other hand I am almost always the only one doing this!

I have even been in a Mass with many holy people, even monastics, and not one had “hands pressed together”.

At times I think that people see someone like me with “hands pressed together” and may think I am trying to look holier than thou or somehow show off, or bring attention to myself or appear devout, while I just do it for the purposes I’ve stated. I guess it’s partly because I’m an artsy type guy and love to create beauty in worship and find “hands pressed together” a beautiful expression of devotion. (At home privately I usually pray in the Orans posture)

So, on one hand I feel I may be continuing an old beautiful practice and helping to keep that practice from disappearing,

and at the same time giving myself a posture of discipline to keep focussed and expressing reverence toward God, and on the other hand I feel it makes me stand out undesirably and people may be mislead into the idea I think highly of myself. Maybe many people are the “frozen chosen” as is said, but I like to have the positions and postures of prayer and Mass to me is all prayer.

I know there is nothing in the GIRM about it but I would like to see what people here with such diversity of opinion think about this subject.


#2

It’s pretty much your own call.

Personally, I have my hands at my side unless I have a book in my hand in the pew. When it’s time to move out to receive the Eucharist, I tend to lace my hands together. But that’s me.

I don’t do orans.


#3

in the first place this is a duplicate thread, welcome to the forums but please check out the stickies on the rules, makes everything run smoother. in the second place, what does it matter as long as you are not a 6 yr old using your hands to punch your brother or doing something else inappropriate. If this is what occupies your mind during Mass, perhaps you should focus more on the prayers and readings and less in your posture and appearance. It will certainly help you get more out of Mass.


#4

Well, it isnt a “duplicate thread” if you read it carefully.

And thanks for the rude reply. I expect many. I like them though, because it shows what people are really like.

Dont hold back, don’t be considerate.

Just take a punch.

It’s a wonderful world.


#5

I have my hands folded whenever I’m standing. I just do it because I was taught to do it. I’ve also seen some people stand with their hands pressed together. Normally I’m the only one doing it (that I notice anyway), but I have noticed that some older people do it as well. It doesn’t really bother me though, and I don’t think most people notice anyway. If it weren’t for the fact that it was during a daily Mass where there weren’t as many people, I probably wouldn’t have noticed that someone else was folding their hands as well.


#6

I usually have my hands pressed together, sometimes folded. I don’t do orans, and I don’t hold hands during the Pater Noster, not even with my wife. In our parish the hand-holders are usually family groups, and I’ve never had strangers trying to grab my hand. Just let them try to pry it loose from the other one! :stuck_out_tongue:

DaveBj


#7

I voted none. I usually rest my hands on the pew in front of me.


#8

Thank you all for your considerate replies. It’s wonderful, as I see people don’t really care or notice. So many times I ask a question somewhere (like the one about kneeling that I asked on this forum last year) and people just go really crazy answering and have very strong opinions. At least the one thing I do that seems a little out of the main stream is A not noticed, B accepted.

I just wanted to know what other people here do and what they think about it.

Thanks again!


#9

It depends on what is happening at the moment. At Novus Ordo my hands are pressed together unless I am holding a hymnal or exchanging the sign of peace. At Tridentine I’m more likely to be holding my missal.

JSA


#10

My husband has his hands together, so do I. ( like the picture of the praying hands )


#11

As you say you are a fairly new convert I can understand you think about your posture and actions during the Mass and infact this is a good thing to do. It is important to make the correct gestures and postures during Mass as a sign of reverance and love of God.

Personally I don’t think it matters what you do with your hands, whether you have them clasped together, by your side, resting on your knees or on the pew. As long as you feel comfortable and prayerful that is the main thing. I’m not a fan of the laity adopting the Orans, for me I feel this is for the Priest alone, but each to their own. :slight_smile:

It is easy to feel self-concious at Mass. I’m sure alot of people wonder if they are ‘coming’ across the right way, please though don’t fall into that, who cares what other people think.

Just be reverent and follow the norm of the Mass. :slight_smile:


#12

[quote=Marilena]My husband has his hands together, so do I. ( like the picture of the praying hands )
[/quote]

Yes, this is exactly what I do. I think we must fall into some 1% group of people nationwide who do this!

Maybe we are that group that likes more expressive prayer postures, or maybe we have been influenced by medieval paintings, but I do find that the physical posture is a posture that is the physical expression of the reverence I’m feeling.


#13

[quote=blessedstar]As you say you are a fairly new convert I can understand you think about your posture and actions during the Mass and infact this is a good thing to do. It is important to make the correct gestures and postures during Mass as a sign of reverance and love of God.

Personally I don’t think it matters what you do with your hands, whether you have them clasped together, by your side, resting on your knees or on the pew. As long as you feel comfortable and prayerful that is the main thing. I’m not a fan of the laity adopting the Orans, for me I feel this is for the Priest alone, but each to their own. It is easy to feel self-conscious at Mass. I’m sure many of people wonder if they are ‘coming’ across the right way, please though don’t fall into that, who cares what other people think.

[/quote]

Thank you for your kindness; it really matters.
I did feel self conscious, but wishing to continue this practice or discipline of pressing hands together, and now with the reactions I have received I see that most likely, generally, I’m not disturbing anyone or causes a scene, and this is all I was concerned about. Seems according to these answers that most people will not notice or care what I do in this regard.
Thanks for you reply.


#14

[quote=afvw]I know there is nothing in the GIRM about it but I would like to see what people here with such diversity of opinion think about this subject.

[/quote]

There are instructions on altar servers having hands joined in the Ceremonial of Bishops:

Joined hands
107 Unless the bishop is holding the pastoral staff, he keeps his hands joined: [Footnote 80: “Hands joined” means: “Holding the palms sideward and together before the breast, with the right thumb crossed over the left” (Caeremoniale Episcoporum, ed. 1886, I, XIX, 1).] when, vested, he walks in procession for teh celebration of a liturgy; when he is kneeling at prayer; when he moves from altar to chair or from chair to altar; when the liturgical books prescribe joined hands.
Similarly, concelebrants and ministers keep their hands joined when walking from place to place or when standing, unless they are holding something.

From Ceremonial of Bishops, Liturgical Press, 1989, ISBN 0-8146-1818-9, page 43.

I think the translation from the 1984 Caeremonial Episcoporum is confusing. The text from Caeremoniale Episcoporum (Liberia Editrice Vaticana, 1995) page 35, footnote 80 has: “Palmas extensas ac simul iunctas ante pectus habere, pollice dexterae super sinistro in crucis modum posito”. Somehow the translation of “palmas extensas” is “palms sideward”, rather than “palms extended”. So I think the Latin instruction is saying to have fingers together, as well as palms.

So, at least for Mass with a bishop, some lay people are required to have hands joined.


#15

Thank you VERY much. We all need this level of catechizing. I appreciate any knowledge of correct positions and postures. So much misinformation is available in my Diocese.


#16

Our Parish has many ‘orans’ advocates. I think they believe “active participation” means all kinds of gestures are appropriate, if it makes one feel good.
One of my Religious instructors said the reason for the right thumb over the left thumb( Caeremoniale Episcoporum) is the Latin Word for ‘left’ is sinister while the word for right is ‘dexter’. I don’t know what significance the meaning of these words is but sinister, to me, means devilish.
All these quasi-abuses are miniscule, compared with the woman having their feet washed at most parishes on Holy Thursday in contradistinction to “men Only” as described in the GIRM.
The whole thing started with the desire for genderless translations of the Scripture, the insistance on altar girls, and the preponderence of ‘ordinary’ Extra-ordinary Eucharistic ministers being women.
I think men and boys relinquish their heritage to the female gender and don’t complain to the Ordinary. Rather, like we do at home, we keep peace by not rocking the boat.


#17

Thanks for your reply. Our Diocese is filled with liturgical abuses of one sort or another and people often have been told that they aren’t abuses.

I just do my best to concentrate on the Mass and ignore the fact that there are abuses.

I have read that angels are present at the Mass, especially during the Consecration. I try to keep my awareness at that level.

I have had to leave a parish or two though when lay people give the homily while the priest watches.


#18

Well, I am a hand-folder … but for very practical reasons. I had an ice-skating accident in '86 which left me with impaired mobility and almost absent sensation in a major part of my right hand (index, middle and half of my ring finger–draw a line from there to impact point that was at the wrist). Lacing my fingers is the only way I can keep my hands together without spending all my time concentrating on keeping my hands together. My children are taught the ‘just put hands together, cross thumbs’ posture, and know that mommy’s hand doens’t always work right.

(With the hand trouble and the number of times I drop mundane things in my daily life, you can well guess how I receive communion, too. But then, that doesn’t stand out in my parish.)


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