Last week we continued our explanation of the Mass by talking about rituals and body posture. We talked about how we use our bodies to express things that words cannot or by using different postures, we elevate or symbolize the different piety connected to the various parts of the Mass. Progressive solemnity is a way of highlighting important parts of the Mass by adding symbols and rituals in order to lend more attention and reverence to those elevated solemn moments. As a result, we sit as we listen to the first readings, and then we stand in order to show honor and respect to important moments like the Gospel and when we intentionally pray as a community.
Assuming postures as a group is also a way of highlighting our unity and community in solidarity with what we believe. Standing together in solidarity and coming forward together to receive the Eucharist, rather than as individuals, but as one body united, united in mutual ritual and symbol, is literally the definition of Communion. These common rituals and postures consciously and subconsciously remind us, that during the Mass we are not gathering as single worshipers with our own personal preferences and beliefs, but we are One in faith as Jesus desires.
As we continue to discuss the meaning behind the Mass, it is always important to continue to remind ourselves what we are doing and why we are doing it as we celebrate each and every Mass.
Rev. James V. Kirby