Strong Men Genuflect
His Excellency, the Most Reverend Thomas John Paprocki, the Bishop of Springfield Illinois, has just instructed his priests to return to the Eucharist and the tabernacle to central focus of each parish.
This is welcome news, for it concentrates the attention of the liturgy on Jesus Christ and His mysterious presence in each parish.
In a time when chest-pounding, trash-talking and narcissistic indulging of taking selfies, His Excellency is emphasizing the greatness of the Mighty King and our proper understanding of who we are; humble and dependent creations who need to remember Our Lord.
In a time where bravado and individual pride is held in esteem, Bishop Paprocki reminds us of true strength:
“To genuflect means, literally, “to bend the knee.” In the ancient world the knee symbolized the strength of a man. If a man is struck in the knee, he stumbles and falls; his strength is taken from him. When we genuflect before the Lord, our strength is not taken from us; rather, we willingly bend our strength to the Lord and place ourselves humbly in his service. When we bend our knee to the Lord of heaven and earth we should hear the words of the Psalmist ever in our hearts, “Lord, I am your servant,” remembering that before the Lord every knee must bend (Psalm 116:16; cf. Philippians 2:10).
I must note here, that as important as the Eucharist is to the Church, and that the proper reverence to the Blessed Sacrament is “to bend the knee,” to genuflect, it does not replace another reverence made by all between the opening and the closing processions. During Liturgy between these processions, all who enter or leave the sanctuary, or who pass before the altar, make a deep bow, a bow from the waist toward the altar. Neither a deep bow or a genuflection is made to the tabernacle within the Mass between the opening and closing processions.18
In order to keep these words in our hearts and put them into practice, it is helpful to be purposeful and deliberate in the moment of genuflection. One may avoid a hasty and irreverent slide through an attempted genuflection by consciously touching the right knee to the ground and humbly pausing momentarily before rising again. In doing so, we not only pay proper respect to the Lord, but we also remind ourselves in whose presence we are.” (Paragraph 30-31).
Men of the New Emangelization are made strong through humble recognition of Jesus Christ. As Christ teaches in the very first line of the Sermon of the Mount (His very first sermon recorded in Matthew), “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matt 5:3).
There can be no greater strength than to possess Christ and the Kingdom.