Roman Style Mass Chasuble
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Gothic Style Mass Chasuble
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The Epistle appointed to be read during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass today is taken from Saint Paul's Epistle to the Galatians, Chapter 4, Verses 1-7.
Brethren: As long as the heir is a child, he differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed by the father: So we also, when we were children, were serving under the elements of the world. But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent his Son, made of a woman, made under the law: That He might redeem them who were under the law: that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because you are sons, God hath sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying: Abba, Father. Therefore now he is not a servant, but a son. And if a son, an heir also through God.
Gospel for the Sunday Within the Octave of the Nativity
Please stand for the Holy Gospel.
The Gospel appointed to be read during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass today is taken from the Holy Gospel of Saint Luke, Chapter 2, Verses 33-40.
At that time, Joseph and Mary, the Mother of Jesus, were wondering at those things which were spoken concerning Him. And Simeon Blessed them, and said to Mary His Mother: Behold this Child is set for the fall, and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted; And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.
And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the Daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser; she was far advanced in years, and had lived with her husband seven years from her virginity. And she was a widow until fourscore and four years; who departed not from the temple, by fastings and prayers serving night and day. Now she, at the same hour, coming in, confessed to the Lord; and spoke of Him to all that looked for the redemption of Israel.
And after they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their city Nazareth. And the Child grew, and waxed strong, full of wisdom; and the Grace of God was in Him.
Thus far are the
words of today's Holy Gospel.
In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen.
This is sometimes shortened to simply Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi: The Law of Praying is the Law of Believing. This simply means that you express, by a public, exterior liturgical act of worship, your own personal interior beliefs of the faith in your heart which is really the Spirit of God the Son in your heart.
So, in other words, you pray what you believe and you believe what you pray.
But HOW do you publicly express the Spirit of Christ that is in your heart?
One way is by public Liturgical prayers, most especially the prayers of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which prayers are the most perfect of all Liturgical prayers. Another way is by your exterior actions before the Most Blessed Sacrament reserved in the Tabernacle on the Holy Altar, specifically, for those who are physically able to do so, genuflecting towards the Most Blessed Sacrament, or at least bowing for those who are physically unable to genuflect.
The Feast Day of the Holy Name of Jesus, January 2, will be here very soon. Remember how the Apostle reminds all of us: “For which cause God also hath exalted Him, and hath given Him a Name which is above all names: That in the Name of Jesus every knee should bow [genuflect], of those that are in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth.” (Philippians 2:9-10).
But if we are to genuflect at the very mention of the Holy Name of Jesus, which is something that apparently has not been done in the church for many centuries, we should, at the very least, genuflect towards Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle on the High Altar, a.k.a. the Main Altar in the center of the Sanctuary.
The word Genuflection comes from the Latin genuflexio, which means: “bending of the knee”. It is an act of reverence which consists of bending the right knee until it touches the floor or ground.
Liturgically, the Faithful who pass before the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, which is customarily reserved in the Tabernacle on the High Altar, fastened to the back of the Church wall directly behind the High Altar, a.k.a., the Main Altar, in the center of the Sanctuary, are required to genuflect on the right knee as a sign of reverence, respect and devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament. Those who are physically unable to genuflect are to bow, if possible, from the waist, i.e. not merely with a bow of only the head.
So whenever you enter or exit the Sacramental Presence of Jesus Christ, please genuflect towards the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle. A fine example is always given to everyone by all of the Sir Knights of the Altar and all other Altar Servers who so faithfully serve Mass. They always genuflect whenever they walk from one side of the Altar to the other, even when carrying the heavy Missal on the heavy Missal stand.
Also, whenever the Blessed Sacrament is physically present on top of the Altar itself, most especially from the time of the Double Consecration during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, until the consumption of the Most Precious Blood in the Chalice by the Mass Celebrant, a double genuflection (kneeling on both knees) is required by all those who are physically able to genuflect. This does not apply when coming to receive Holy Communion. Nor does it apply to right after you have just received Holy Communion because then your body is a living Tabernacle! But it does apply if, for some reason, you need to leave for a few minutes, and also when you return.
A single genuflection with the right knee, by those physically able, is also required at all other times.
For example, you are required to genuflect during the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed at the words: Et incarnátus est de Spíritu Sancto, ex Maria Vírgine, et Homo factus est. (And was born of the Holy Ghost by the Virgin Mary, and was made Man.). You also genuflect during the Catholic Traditional Last Gospel, which is the beginning of the Gospel of Saint John, at the words: et Verbum caro factum est - and the Word was made flesh.
In addition, on Good Friday, once the Corpus (body) of Christ on the Crucifix has been revealed during the Good Friday Liturgy, even though the Blessed Sacrament is not reserved in the Tabernacle at this time, it is traditional to genuflect towards the Crucifix just as one would normally genuflect towards the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle.
Theologically, when you pray, you humble yourself to come in spirit before the High Altar of God in Heaven. In so doing, your entire being seeks to become united with God.
When you pray before the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle, you are physically present before the Throne of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, the Eternal Divine Logos, i.e. the Word of God made flesh.
Although your prayers come from your heart, they are frequently expressed, correctly and naturally, through your body, most especially when those of you who, trying to follow the Mass with your hand-size Missal, pray the greatest prayers of all, those Liturgical prayers of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and also when you genuflect since genuflection is a non-verbal prayer, as well as an exercise of the Virtues of Humility and Meekness.
Historically, some scholars claim the act of genuflecting in church comes from a Roman Imperial gesture of loyalty, fidelity, and obedience to one’s superior. When a Roman soldier was down on his right knee, humbling expressing these qualities, it was awkward for him to draw his sword from his scabbard - which was usually worn at his right side. Thus, genuflecting became a symbol that a person not only would not take up arms against a superior, but also that a person would be loyal and faithful to one’s superior as well as obey one’s superior.
Therefore, when you genuflect towards Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament Eucharistically present in the Tabernacle, you publicly profess to everyone - especially to Jesus Christ - your loyalty to Jesus Christ, your faithfulness to Jesus Christ, your own personal interior beliefs of the faith in your heart which is really the Spirit of God the Son in your heart.
“It can neither profit me, the speaker, to speak, nor you, the hearers, to hear, unless we comply with the things which are spoken, ...so let us not limit the display of our zeal to hearing only, but let us observe what is said in our deeds. For it is indeed a good thing to spend time continually in hearing the Divine oracles: but this good thing becomes useless when the benefit to be derived from hearing is not linked with it.” (Patriarch Saint John Chrysostom [b. Antioch, c. 347 A.D. - d. at Commana in Pontus on Friday, September 14, 407 A.D.], Patriarch of Constantinople [Thursday, February 26, 398 A.D. - Thursday, June 24, 404 A.D.], exiled from his See the 2nd time on Thursday, June 24, 404 A.D., Father and Doctor of the Catholic Church. Sermon on Romans 12:20; emphasis added.)
For our resolutions,
let all of us, by the Grace of God, firmly resolve to
always genuflect towards our Dear Lord in the Tabernacle for those who
are able, and those who are not able, to at least bow towards God the Son
Who is really present here in the Tabernacle.