Monday, June 15, 2009

WHY WE KNEEL: Reason and Emotion

Hat-tip to Steve Ray's blog, which highlights an entire site devoted to Eucharistic miracles.

However, the miracle below, which took place in Chirattakonam, India in 2001, should remind us why bowing, genuflecting, and latria -- worship reserved for God alone -- are not only important but necessary when we encounter the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

The Rev. Fr. Johnson Karnoor, pastor of the church where the Eucharistic miracle took place, recounts in his deposition: “On April 28, 2001, in the parish church of St. Mary of Chirattakonam,  we began the Novena to St. Jude Thaddeus as we did every year. At 8:49am, I exposed the Most Holy Sacrament in the monstrance for public adoration. After a few moments I saw what appeared to be three dots in the Holy Eucharist. I then stopped praying 

and began to look at the monstrance, also inviting the faithful to admire the three dots. I then asked the faithful to remain in prayer and reposed the monstrance in the tabernacle. On April 30th, I celebrated the Holy Mass and on the following day I left for Trivandrum. On Saturday morning, the 5th of May 2001, I opened the church for the usual liturgical celebrations. I vested for Mass and went to open the tabernacle to see what had happened to the Eucharist in the monstrance. I immediately noted in the Host, a figure, to the likeness of a human face. I was deeply moved and asked the faithful to kneel and begin praying. I thought I alone could see the face so I asked the altar server what he noticed in the monstrance. He answered: ‘I see the figure of a man.’ I noticed that the rest of the faithful were looking intently at the monstrance.

“We began Adoration and as the minutes went by, the image became more and more clear. I did not have the courage to say anything and I began to cry. During Adoration, we have the practice of reading a passage from Holy Scriptures. The reading ofthe day was the one from Chapter 20 in the Gospel of John, which narrates the story of when Jesus appeared to St. Thomas and asked him to look at the wounds. I was only able to say a few words in my homily, and, having to leave for the nearby parish of Kokkodu to celebrate Mass, I immediately summoned a photographer to take pictures of the Holy Eucharist with the human face on it. After two hours all the photos were developed; with the passing of the time the face in every photo became more and more clear.”  

It is salient to note the Eucharistic martyrdom of the apostle St. Thomas in India, which Warren Carroll memorably recounts in his book The Founding of Christendom:

One day in A.D. 72 Thomas was praying in a cave on a hill called the Little Mount.  Brahmins from the temple of Kali attacked him.  One pierced his heart with a lance -- just as Christ's heart had been pierced [Jn 19:34], one of the wounds Thomas had demanded to touch before he would believe in the Resurrection [Jn 20:26-29].

For more on the Chirattakonam miracle, you can go to

And because this blog loves the Pope, here's Benedict XVI on the importance of kneeling and genuflecting:

...the spiritual and bodily meanings of proskynein [kneeling] are really inseparable.  The bodily gesture itself is the bearer of the spiritual meaning, which is precisely that of worship.  Without the worship, the bodily gesture would be meaningless, while the spiritual act must of its very nature, because of the psychosomatic unity of man, express itself in the bodily gesture.  The two aspects are united in the one word, because in a very profound way they belong together.  When kneeling becomes merely external, a merely physical act, it becomes meaningless.  On the other hand, when someone tries to take worship back into the purely spiritual realm and refuses to give it embodied form, the act of worship evaporates, for what is purely spiritual is inappropriate to the nature of man.  Worship is one of those fundamental acts that affect the whole man.  That is why bending the knee before the presence of the living God is something we cannot abandon.

-- The Spirit of the Liturgy, pp. 190-191

Please pray that Our Lady of the Angels parish may imitate her brethren in India by instituting regular Eucharistic adoration and devotion.


  1. Kneeling: like most everything in the archdiocese, it is slowly, imperceptibly being discouraged.

    It began with a failure to kneel at the reception of the communicant, sometime in the 1970s; then the failure to kneel at the Agnus Dei [Lamb of God]; then, a direct order from the Abp. not to kneel after reception of the eucharist in the pews, an illicit order frequently ignored by the faithful.

    I hear tell that in a particular parish in Anchorage, a priest actually dared to admonish people for failure to comply with this order by the Abp. One question: since the Abp. and the archdiocese violate so many liturgical norms, and have made disonedience into a virtue, how can they possibly complain?

    Two negatives make a positive in Math, Physics and Life: therefore, failing to obey disobedience means OBEDIENCE!

    Long live this blog.

    Dominic Savio

  2. Srs. Joyce and Joan are gone back to the Lower 48. I guess it is time for you to hang up this blog, because the priests are back in town! Yeah!

  3. No I believe Peter the Sinner is now on to slandering the priest. I believe he has a problem with women not the church. Get help.

    The priest will do a fine job. They are holy, holy, holy men whom only want what is best for the church. Have Faith people. God will not let you down.

  4. I believe he has a problem with women not the church. Get help.

    Your proof, Troll?

  5. Many critics reading this blog are, quite frankly, completely ignorant about liturgical norms. It is not their fault. Their ignorance has been studiously cultivated, from poor RCIA classes, poor CCD, weak and confusing sermons, failure by the Abp. to exercise his teaching office, and their own likely disobedience in their personal lives by the insidious, hidden and nearly universal practice of contraception.

    Therefore, their criticisms [and any reply to them] are basically "over their head". This doesn't mean that the at-times acrid exchanges should not take place here. The presentation of Truth is painful, and it takes time for it to be processed by the human mind and spirit. The fact that they are willing to engage in continuing conversation is a good sign. Personally, I have had the joy, many years ago, of abandoning my own resistance to the Church and the Truth she proclaims. Even though I still fail, as a concupiscient sinner in my own personal life, I do not deny the Truth.

    Most of the critics of this blog are basing their replies on emotion. They like nice people. That is their only gage upon what is happening in these parishes. They cannot understand why anyone would criticize "nice". Since they have not bothered to inform themselves on what Mass means, what the Sacraments mean, what importance liturgy is in worship, they rebel against those who look beyond "nice" into the Truth. They also see those who defend the Magisterium as Pharasaical. But the Pharisees were obsessed with ritual for its own sake, not for the proper worship of God. Rebelling in the opposite direction, critics of this blog make Magisterial norms into guidelines and suggestions that are cheerfully warped into something "nice".

    The priests do indeed have an opportunity to reform these parishes, but their collaboration with grostesque liturgical abuses indicates otherwise. Without a recognition of the complicity they have had in the damage, authentic reform will fall short.

    Gosh, I hope I am wrong. I would joyously LOVE to be wrong. I PRAY that I am wrong. God is full of surprises.

    In the meantime, I would ask that those who disagree with the blog recognize that their own Catholic formation has been flawed. Yes, you can reform it on your own, but it takes WILL. Until then, when you see something here you don't like, your remarks might begin with, "I know I haven't really researched Catholic teaching on this, but ..." Being TOLD what "Catholic" teaching is by "nice" people doesn't cut it. Get out the books, read the internet postings from authentic sources.

    Until then, you cannot understand this blog. Like me, you will hopefully find out that Truth is better than "nice" any day of the week.