Greetings all. Recently my church has started doing a Q&A section in our Sunday Bulletin. Essentially explaining why we do what we do at our parish.
This week, the Q&A tackled something I was wondering about. I’m curious about your thoughts:
"Why don’t we kneel during the Eucharistic Prayer during 9:30 Mass?
Standing – the practice of the early church – is actually the rule for conduct for the universal Catholic Church. However, during the feudal period kneeling was instituted, as the ordained took over the liturgical functions of the Mass further separating the lay people from action of the liturgy. While at the same time, a sense of unworthiness was added to the lay Catholic understanding and not receiving the Eucharist also became common practice. Vatican II dropped the ‘innovation’ of kneeling as part of its overall retrieval of the community aspect of Mass. Yet, many parishes today continue to kneel. In modern times kneeling is understood as an individual act of piety, and many feel it is ore reverent and respectful.
However, since the Eucharist is a communal act – not an act of personal piety – it is more appropriate to stand. Standing is communitatrian, expressing our unity in the body of Christ. It also recovers the notion from the early Church that we stand justified by the saving act of Christ’s death and Resurrection. It implies readiness to respond to the call to live our lives in the light of what we celebrate at Eucharist."
Given that I attended an Orthodox Church for 3 years before returning to Catholicism, I fully appreciate and understand this response. It jives with Orthodox theology and is, in fact, the far more ancient practice.