Tuesday, August 26, 2014

silence, kneeling, candles

Back in my youth there is one thing you could count on; old people would keep silent when they were in Church, kneel when they prayed, and light votive candles for particular intentions. My association of those practices with the elderly is so strong, that it is a little disconcerting when I attend daily Mass nowadays where there are a lot of old people who are chatting in the chapel, and who only kneel when it is prescribed in the Liturgy. Otherwise they sit to pray. To top it off, only one or two votive candles is lit at at time.  It used to be the rack was almost all lit up.

Of course, this is a generation of old people that were in their 30s and 40s when I was a kid, so they were thoroughly formed by the "new" piety. As for kneeling, I know that many have knee problems that make kneeling problematic. Besides, there are no kneelers in the chapel and the main Church did not have kneelers for many years, so they probably got out of the habit. Heck, I don't always kneel when I pray. I think the silence would be encouraged if there were no buzzing florescent lights and if the chapel weren't carpeted. And if the priest would say something about it or put up a sign.

I've taken to lighting a vigil candle every time I go into the chapel just because--to give Glory to God and honor to the blessed Mother. Votive candles are evidence that one believes in "mediation" of God's Grace -- of sacramentality. It is a way to transform our work into prayer. When we pay for the candle our work becomes the candle, so to speak, which then is offered to God. And, of course, our prayer continues after we've left because it is our work that has become the prayer.

I think these three practices are important enough that I'd like to encourage any priest who reads this blog (hahahahahahaha) to talk to his congregation about it. Or put up signs.  Or something. Also, I hope that when I become the old generation, I'll be an good example.

[Shhhhhh. Light a candle!]

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