“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God”.
Kneeling has always been seen as an act of surrender to God, a sign of deep respect and reverance.
Psalms 95:6 says, “Enter, let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before the Lord who made us. For this is our God, whose people we are, God’s well-tended flock”.
In the Mass, we are truly “God’s well-tended flock”. In the Mass is found the true worship of God through the liturgy.
In the Old Testament, we see King Solomon kneeling before the Altar of the Lord. 1 Kings 8:54 says, “When Solomon finished offering this entire prayer before the altar of the Lord, he rose from before the altar of the Lord, where he had been kneeling with his hands outstretched towards heaven”.
The Altar represents “holy ground” because this is where the great sacrifice continues before the assembly. God’s presence is made manifest before all through the invocation of the Priest.
Artists have shown this sign of surrender in many paintings, I love the scene with Charlten Heston in the movie “The Ten Commandments“!
God calls out, “Moses, Moses, He answered, ‘Here I am’, God said, ‘Come no nearer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob’. Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God”.
Quite simply, to kneel is to bend the knee, to fall or rest on the knees. That is what I picture Moses doing as he takes his sandles off.
Is there a time in your life when you recognized the power of God and simply went to your knees? Maybe an extreme situation?
At Mass we kneel at the consecration of the Eucharist. We recognize God working and as his presence is made manifested at the Altar in the form of bread and wine.
In the New Testament, we see kneeling as a sign of respect and great reverance. Matthew 17:14 says, “When they came to the crowd a man approached, knelt down before him (Jesus), and said, ‘Lord, have pity on my son, for he is a lunatic and suffers severely; often he falls into fire, and often into water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him’.
Jesus cures the boy, however, he tells the Apostles, “if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, move from here to there, and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you”.
Mark 1:40 states, “A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said, ‘If you wish, you can make me clean”. Moved with pity, he (Jesus) stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean’. The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean”.
This is another scene where tradition plays a role is the story of the man born blind whom Jesus heals.
There are many such stories in the New Testament where Jesus encounted the sick, the lame, and the blind. Jesus heals them all.
The Church has always believed in the Divinity of Christ and because of this has always placed Jesus as the object of worship.
We believe in the Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever amen!
John 9:35 says the following, “When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, he found him and said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ He answered and said, ‘Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?’ Jesus said to him, ‘You have seen him and the one speaking with you is he.’ He said, ‘I do believe, Lord,’ and he worshiped him”.
Like the scene with Moses, I can see this healed blind man kneeling to Jesus with gratitude.
There are a lot of such images found in the bible especially surrounding Jesus.
This also reveals the kind of adoration people gave Jesus. Jesus was clearly being worshiped as in the this scene.
In the early Church, kneeling signified penance. So thoroghly was kneeling identified with penance that the early Christians were forbidden to kneel on Sundays and during the Easter season, when the prevailing spirit of the Liturgy was one of joy and thanksgiving.
In the Middle Ages kneeling came to signify homage, and more recently this posture has come to signify adoration, especially before the presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
Kneeling is also a sign of respect as seen when a Knight is being elevated or even if a heavenly manisfestation such as the Blessed Virgin Mary or an angel appears.
Our worship is to God alone, therefore, we do not kneel before images or apparitions, but we recognize God at work through them.
There is a distinction of worhip given to God alone, and the respect given the heavenly realm.
Often times you will see an image of children kneeling before the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Kneeling is seen here as paying honor and respect with attention to the message that comes from Heaven.
Any true heavenly manisfestation would not allow you to worship such an event unless it was Jesus personally speaking such as the case with St. Faustina when Jesus appeared to her giving us the message of the Divine Mercy.
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