What are Catholics doing when they first kneel?


#1

As you know I am a convert or two years and so some things I’m still learning about. When I come into the church I walk down the aisle. genuflect by the pew, move by my pew, pull out the kneeler, kneel, cross myself and then pray.

                     At least I thought this is what you're suppose to do? But as I see others come in, when they first kneel, they **don't ** pray at all. They just cross themselves, stare straight forward a bit and then are seated. Do I have something wrong here? What are you suppose to be doing when you come into the church kneel and cross yourself? Better yet what do you really do?

#2

I think you’re just seeing people for whom it has all become routine and it is now just a simple sign of respect rather than a prayer. This happens to people with repetition. I try and kneel, cross myself, and remain down for a moment every time I enter or leave a pew or walk in front of the altar. I don’t always say a prayer, but try to show the respect necessary for passing through the presence of a King (the King of King’s to be precise). I think praying every time you genuflect is a good practice, I sometimes see people (even younger people) that don’t even genuflect. I try not to think about it though, as I have no idea of their situation and its not my place to worry about such things. I hope that helps some.


#3

[quote=justcatholic]At least I thought this is what you’re suppose to do? But as I see others come in, when they first kneel, they **don’t ** pray at all. They just cross themselves, stare straight forward a bit and then are seated. Do I have something wrong here? What are you suppose to be doing when you come into the church kneel and cross yourself? Better yet what do you really do?
[/quote]

Just Catholic,

When I am feeling devout, I say “Deliver us, when we draw near to Thee, O God, from coldness of heart and wanderings of mind, so that with steadfast thoughts and kindled affections we may receive Thee and hear Thy Holy Word.”

When I am feeling distracted, I count to twenty-three. That’s about how long the prayer takes.

When I am being (not feeling) sinful, I look at the people coming in.

  • Liberian

who is being more honest than he feels comfortable with


#4

I replied to this once and then got an error page, you know, the kind that pops up and tells you the server isn’t available or something and to hit “referesh” how annoying.

Anyway, why are you second-guessing yourself as a result of the percieved irreverance of another person? What makes you thank that person is not also praying? Have you seen inside their heart or known their struggles?

How do you know that they are not praying while seated?

Don’t worry about what others are doing, just do what you know to be right and if you percieve irreverance on someone else’s behalf just offer it to the Lord as well as your own inability to focus completely on him and tentency to be distracted by unimportant details.

Yes, genuflect toward the tabernacle then kneel and pray, or sit and pray, whatever you are able to do. Let God judge the hearts of those around you and if you are disturbed by something, see it as a way to increase in virtue as you pray for patience, understanding, or whatever virtue you are lacking in.


#5

I agree don’t worry about what they are doing.

Many of them probably just go through mindless motions because that’s what they do. It works because it gives them a fair shot at not raising too many eyebrows except those like yours.

Being a cradle Catholic this just seems so normal. People go into Church, and depending on their upbringing and training, they go through all sorts of variations on Holy Water use, crossing themselves, genuflecting here or there, bowing to the altar and genuflecting toward the Tabernacle, and all sorts of things. It’s like as long as they look pious and/or clueless and make holy looking motions that’s kind of how they automatically are inclined to behave in Church.

That may be a dismal picture, but as others have said, there are different kinds of prayer. Some actually involve just staring or even kneeling in silence with eyes closed. Therefore you can’t judge any one.

To answer what I think your concern is, there is nothing wrong with the way you do it, and yes other people range from going through reflexive motions to actually praying. You can’t really tell which are which, and that’s just as well you don’t know. That behavior is very common to us cradles, and I don’t find it particularly threatening. Gosh sometimes I get distracted like I’ll see the spotlights on the crucifix and remember I have to go buy light bulbs.

I cheat on all of this. Since I play the music, I always have fiddling to do before Mass and if I have extra time I’ll play some nice piano music before Mass for the others to either enjoy or curse. The last few weeks I’ve been playing excerpts of Beethoven sonatas in honor of the Holy Father, whom I read plays piano and like Beethoven and Mozart.

Wow. It’s amazing how I turn every discussion toward myself. Me, me, me. Gosh how annoying. If I had any faith, I’d realize nobody has to read these words of mine in order to live and breathe another day, and delete this message. Judge my faith by whether you are reading this. :whistle:

Alan


#6

You all missed my point and I apologize. Since this a general ritual which all Catholics do when entering the church, what is exactly the proper thing to do after crossing yourself and kneeling? That was my point. I thought you should say a short prayer. Is there a resource that I can read to give you proper instruction?


#7

[quote=justcatholic]You all missed my point and I apologize. Since this a general ritual which all Catholics do when entering the church, what is exactly the proper thing to do after crossing yourself and kneeling? That was my point. I thought you should say a short prayer. Is there a resource that I can read to give you proper instruction?
[/quote]

I personally get there early kneel and pray a Rosary. Then I usually say a bunch of “prayers before Mass” that are in our missalettes.

Some people may stare at the crucifix and say a little prayer thanking Jesus for His sacrifice.

It’s all a matter of personal preference. There’s really no official ritual.


#8

[quote=justcatholic]You all missed my point and I apologize. Since this a general ritual which all Catholics do when entering the church, what is exactly the proper thing to do after crossing yourself and kneeling? That was my point. I thought you should say a short prayer. Is there a resource that I can read to give you proper instruction?
[/quote]

For me, this is a time of adoration. I “stare” at the tabernacle in humble thanks for the Lord being truly present in the tabernacle. Perhaps these people are doing the same.


#9

I believe that it is a time to “recollect” ourselves–sort of a decompression from the thoughts and worries of the world and a time to prepare ourselves to be with our God and Saviour after the consecration. Calling to mind our sins, making sure that we have no mortal sins that would keep us from receiving our Lord in Holy Communion, and recalling our venial sins that we wish Him to forgive and give us the grace not to repeat.

It is a time to think of our special intentions, who we are offering our Mass and/or Communion for, think of all our prayer intentions that we wish to place before our King. A time to just reflect on what a miracle of love and mercy our presence at the Mass really is. A time to reflect on how we will be joining those in Heaven who are also worshipping and joining their offerings to those Jesus presents to the Father so that He can perfect our offerings and include them with His.

For me, it is also a time to recognize that if I were truly focussed on Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit, I wouldn’t notice that others are talking or not wearing what I consider appropriate clothing. A time to ask for help in perfecting my focus on Jesus alone, and also to celebrate with Him that those who may not yet be experiencing a melded relationship with Jesus are at Mass where they will receive graces more powerful than anything our technology has produced.

A time to rejoice that all of us present are traveling toward Him, and please, to pour His abundant graces on all of us, as well as on all those not present at Chruch, especially the unchurched, and the non–Christians, pagan and otherwise.

I especially pray that all will be saved as God would like, and for those who need prayers and graces, but have no one to pray for them. I also try to remember to pray for all those in Purgatory, and for all those in Purgatory and Heaven to remember all of us in their prayers and petitions.

This is a rather inclusive posting of the things I try to “recollect” before participating in the Mass. When distracted, I sometimes sit after greeting my Lord, and either read the Mass readings and reflect on what God wants me to hear, or read the day’s readings from my In Conversation with God meditation book. (1 of 7 books, put out by an Opus Dei priest–a great meditation set that has helped me learn about virtues, sacrifice, mortification, and our Faith in general, as my catechesis in my Faith was sorely lacking…)

Also, over time, as I come to learn that God knows me better than I know myself, I have a tendency to use fewer words, and just commune with Him. It is hard to explain, and though I might seem to be just staring blankly at Him, ;^) I am just basking in His presence. Always assume that anyone sitting or kneeling and just staring is so basking. They MIGHT be thinking of what they need to buy for dinner, but it is much more charitable to assume they are visiting with God in Church, unless they tell us different.

May God bless you and keep you and your loved ones faithful til the end.

In Christ’s peace and joy,

Robin L. in TX


#10

[quote=justcatholic]You all missed my point and I apologize. Since this a general ritual which all Catholics do when entering the church, what is exactly the proper thing to do after crossing yourself and kneeling? That was my point. I thought you should say a short prayer. Is there a resource that I can read to give you proper instruction?
[/quote]

Oh, well you do whatever you want. Some of the others are praying, some not as you’ve observed.

As long as you’re not disturbing others, you do what helps you get ready for Mass. Sometimes I’ll kneel a bit and pray or not, maybe just for looks as much as prayer because people expect that behavior so it makes them comfortable if I engage in it. Also when I’m not playing music I like to sit back and read the readings for the day before Mass so I can be ready to listen without reading along during Mass the way our pastor prefers.

Alan


closed #11

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