Orans Posture

Since my entrance into the Catholic Church I have spent my days and evenings reading the Canon (laws of the Church), the Rubrics, and documents of the Church.  I have many more to read and understand, but one thing has been pretty clear, what should be done in Mass and what should not be done.

There is a posture taken by Priest called the Orans Posture in which they place their hands out and up when praying singularly for the Congregation.

Orans Posture

Orans Posture

In reading the rubrics prior to 1950, this was a position that only Priest were to take that were celebrating or con-celebrating when they were praying on behalf of the Congregation, and while the Congregation was silent.  The rubrics stated that the hands of a Priest, when praying WITH the Congregation were to be together “in a prayerful manner”.

If you read the rubrics now, it still has the Priest in this position when praying on behalf of the the congregation and people of the world, but continues to have the Priest take this posture when praying the “Our Father”, which now shows the Congregation praying, where before they did not pray with the Priest during Mass.  The Deacon, if present is still to be in the “prayerful manner”, which was described in the past as hands together, fingers extended and thumbs cross or fingers interlaced and crossed.  (The Deacon or non-concelibrating but present Priest were not to take the Orans Posture…)

In the late 60s to early 70s the Charismatic groups and Nuns in the United States started holding hands with the advent of the text from Vatican II.  There was never a proclamation to do so, and there was no rubrics changes published by the Church to do so, they just started to do it to show togetherness.

However if you go back in history, the only time we see this posture being taken was when a LEADER/ELDER/PRIEST was praying for the people, it was never a posture taken by the lay or religious people unless they were the ones leading the prayer and praying on behalf of the people present.

It was a practice to hold hands at the dinner table when praying, but never was it so while in Church or at a Religious service!

We need to go away from the attempt to become like the Ordained and return to our roots in this case.  Don’t get me wrong!

I am all for change when change needs to happen, but this is not a change that makes since or needs to happen.  It is taking our actions to us and away from God and our love and need to be with Him and returning our focus on ourselves and not Him!

In Christ

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Communion – Holy Eucharist – Part Two

In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for Worship (or to bow down) was hishtakhavah.  In each occasion of the use of this word (Gen 22:5 is the first use) worship consisted of a sacrifice (or in some rarer cases bowing down).  In the New Testament Greek was used, but the same meaning was attributed to that word.  In each case, the sacrifice dealt with a food (meat in most cases, unleavened bread in others) and blood.  This was as decreed by God as a reminder of the Covenant with God and His people.

In the New Testament, Jesus ends that Covenant, and creates a new Covenant with the People of God through His Death and Resurrection.  The new Sacrifice He requires is the Sacrifice of the Eucharist, which also becomes the Sacrament of the Eucharist in our consuming of His Body and Blood.

Justin Martyr wrote between 150-155 the “First Apology” to the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius a large book in which he outlines the liturgy of the times from the times of the Apostles until that time:  “Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president (priest) in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings … and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons.”

Martin Luther, the leading “Founder” of the Protestant religions, was VERY adamant on the fact that the Eucharist WAS the body and blood of Christ.  He fought for this being the 15th of was finally 14 agreed upon “foundations” for Protestantism.  Zwingli being the leading force in NOT allowing it as a foundation, by stating that Jesus could not be everywhere.  The Lutheran Church continued to believe in the Eucharist as being the living Body and Blood of Christ for many years.  (Some “sects” of the Lutheran Church no longer accept it, some still do.)

In today’s Mass of the Catholic Church, we recreate that Sacrifice of Jesus to God on our behalf, and the accept his Body and Blood as He requires of us though the Bible.

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The Titles Priest and Father

Over the last few years I have heard complaints of people calling Catholic Ministers Priest and Father.  To be honest, before I came to understand the reasoning for calling a Catholic Minister Father, I had a problem with that title myself.  After extensive research into this, I am more than happy to call them Priest (although I never had that problem), and I am as happy in calling them Father.

First let us talk about the title Priest.  Priest is a translation of the Greek presbýteros, which is translated into Elder or Leader.  It was the Greek word used to establish those appointed by God/Jesus to the position of leading His Church.  So, Priest is a valid title today, and many non-Catholic Christian Churches actually use the translated title of “Elder” in their Church today based on that same foundation.

Now, as to Father.  The attack on the Catholic Church stems form Matthew 23:1-12 in which Jesus tells us to call no man “father or “teacher”, where he is using figurative language to emphasize that all legitimate authority and truth ultimately come from God.  We cannot take these passages literally, or we would be reading a contradiction by Jesus in the 4th Commandment when He repeats “honor your father and your mother” in Matthew 19:19, and when he referees to “Father Abraham” in Luke 16:24.

In 1Corinthians 4:14-15, 1 Thessalonians 2:11, 1 Timothy 1:2 and Titus 1;4 Saint Paul calls himself each area their father in Christ Jesus through the Gospel.  He is calling himself Father, as he represents God here on earth.

Both titles are Biblical and appropriate to their position as given to them by God through Jesus.

In Christ!

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