More on the body language of Mass, continued from last week’s post
Praying with hands open: Known as the orans, the priest uses this posture for many prayers during the Mass including the Eucharistic Prayer. In many parishes the congregation uses it for the Lord’s Prayer. Try this at home with your kids, lifting your hands to pray the Lord’s Prayer, for example.
Standing is one of the oldest postures of prayer. We stand during the opening procession of Mass and at other times throughout the liturgy, for certain prayers, as well as for the gospel, Prayers of the Faithful, and the Lord’s Prayer.
“I have my children stand when the congregation stands,” says Regina, mother of five. “I want them to learn that we do special things together as a group because God is there with us. It’s not just a place we go and adults participate and kids wait until it is over.” At home try standing around the table for mealtime prayer as a change of pace.
Bowing is a common gesture of reverence in many cultures. We bow before we receive Communion. Priests, lectors, and anyone approaching the altar bows as well, because the altar is a symbol of Christ.
Kneeling: Amy recalls the day her son knelt down in front of a Pieta statue and began praying. “He was in such intense prayer he had no idea we were watching. I think the act of kneeling in front of such a statue allowed him to center and focus his mind and body on his prayer.”
Kneeling is a posture of prayer associated with humility and submission. We kneel in prayer before Mass begins; during parts of the Eucharistic Prayer; and after Communion. Try it with kids for bedtime prayers now and then.
by Annemarie Scobey, from the pages of At Home with Our Faith, Claretian Publications’ print newsletter for parents on nurturing spirituality in the home. Winner of the 2010 General Excellence award from the Catholic Press Association. Here’s a sample issue.
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This week’s photo by Antonio Perez.