(Please excuse the poor choice of music for this YouTube video.)
I have no alternative but to attend a Novus Ordo Mass, except for every first Sunday of the month when a visiting priest comes to our city to celebrate a beautiful Traditional Latin Mass. Sometimes (not always) at the N.O. Mass I am the only one who, when reaching the priest distributing Holy Communion, kneels down to receive the Sacred Host on my tongue. I feel I cannot do otherwise at such a momentous occasion as the Sacred Body of Christ being received into my unworthy person. All around me I get stares and looks of surprise from the people who file up to receive standing. At first this embarrassed me terribly, not because of the ridicule I may have been making of myself in their eyes, but because knowing myself a sinner, I found it mortifying that they may think I was attempting to show myself up as ‘holier than thou’ – totally untrue of course. I offered up this suffering to the Lord and now with time it has become no more than a minor discomfort.
I must add that I have never had a priest refuse me Holy Communion for breaking the common custom here to stand to receive (as I have heard has happened to some Catholics on occasions, especially in the US) but once a priest made a very audible sigh to show me, and the other communicants nearby, his displeasure at my ‘audacity’!
Pope Benedict XVI emphasised, the practice of kneeling for Holy Communion has in its favour “a centuries-old tradition”, and that it is “a particularly expressive sign of adoration, completely appropriate in light of the true, real and substantial presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ under the consecrated species”.
Kneeling for Communion may be seen as a small thing in the great scheme of things (that many laugh off as unimportant) for after all, there are such multiple problems and dangers assailing us in Our Holy Catholic Church these days. However, we should never forget the old maxim: ‘Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi’ (As we Worship, so we will Believe, and so we will Live.) Perhaps the tradition of kneeling to receive Our Blessed Lord could start a gradual return of all that is holy and reverent in the practices within the Holy Liturgy once more.
“That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth” (Philippians 2:10)