Sunday, July 1, 2007

Video: You are My God - Behavior during Benediction

There are some things I would like to point out from a standpoint of charity in an area that can be all too sensitive among more traditional-minded Catholics like myself.

Behavior during Mass and before our Eucharistic Lord can vary depending on what one was taught. Growing up in the 70's I can tell you I never experienced a Eucharistic Procession, Benediction, or Adoration. I grew up in an environment where a casual attitude was the norm during Mass - you know, Jesus meeting us where we are at - as friend, not as God. This casual attitude led to casual postures, right to the point of my sitting in the pew with arms outstretched like it was a parkbench - during Mass!!!

We first respect God by treating His Commandments as such, and not as the ten suggestions. And, by living the Beatitudes. Treating Jesus as friend can sometimes lead to an, "I'm ok, you're ok" position where we feel that Jesus will understand our choosing to do wrong over right. I had this attitude before discovering Grotto where good catechesis and grace showed me differently.

With regards to postures, I got some of my catechesis by observing, then doing research. I saw how people at Grotto bowed at various times and linked it to the name of Jesus and when the three Divine Persons are named. I found confirmation in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, realizing I was suppose to be engaged in this form of "active participation" - one involving posture, all along. For your reference, I have discussed this in a post on GIRM 275. I would later conclude that because we are to bow the head at the names of the three Divine Persons, that we should be bowing during any blessing because it is always done " the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit". Correct me if I'm wrong, but Benediction is no different.

I have not looked to see if there are actually norms for posture of the people during Benediction and if one of my readers can refer me to such a thing, I would love to follow up on it strictly for my own benefit and for the benefit of others who were never taught.

In the video below you will see young people standing during what appears to be Benediction, with their arms raised as if to "catch rays" from Our Lord. One might say, "they must be charismatics". I will tell you that it first took me aback because my only experience with Benediction is one where all who are physically able are kneeling with their heads down. I feel this is proper.

However, I want to point out to my readers, that we as Catholics need to understand that there is an entire generation of people who have never been exposed to our Eucharistic Lord in this way and it is pleasing first, to see them engaged. I have no doubt that the people you see in the video are indeed deeply in adoration of Our Lord and that it is most pleasing to Him. This is a charitable assumption for all of us to make, even though their behavior differs from our own reserved behavior. "Let the children come to me...."

Is there a "right" way to behave in such circumstances? Some would say "yes" and others would say, "no". From my viewpoint, catechesis is needed. If my original conclusion was correct - that we should bow our heads when the three Divine Persons are named, including during blessings and Benediction (and in this case be on our knees where possible), then hopefully, with time, and with careful catechesis on the part of all priests, we will eventually end up with similar behaviors.

Whether the arms of young people are outstretched or their heads are bowed in prayer, I see the actions of the Holy Spirit drawing them to Our Lord and I'm sure His graces engulf them all. I am grateful they pursue Him and perhaps it is this that leads me to happy tears when I view these kinds of videos.

My appeal to traditional-minded Catholics is to suspend judgment when other Catholics don't behave as we do in given circumstances because catechesis has truly been lacking. My prayer is that we will all be patient as this generation explores Our Lord in the Eucharist. Give them time and room to grow.

Yes, Virginia - it is indeed springtime in the Catholic Church.


The video is also set to contemporary music. In the Mass, I feel such music has no place, even though I was once in a folk band myself. However, outside the Mass and other liturgical related events, I would ask, what harm does it do in a production such as this?

The priest is Fr. Stan Fortuna who is actually a Catholic "rapper". His style is not my cup of tea and I know how some feel about this issue. I would love to see a time when Catholics don't need to hear things like rap and rock to be drawn in. However, I'm not qualified to say the Holy Spirit isn't using these things in some way - I'm somewhat on the fence and open for thoughts. I can say this much for Fr. Stan Fortuna - he teaches orthodoxy of doctrine and, he teaches Eucharistic and Marian devotion through his works. At least, this has been my experience with what I've seen thus far.

As another aside, someone might point out that the wording shown in the video is not properly capitalized, (i.e., Real Presence). However, consider again, this video was put together by very well-intentioned people who have not yet learned these things. I'm happy to see they were excited enough to make the video and to spread their devotion, as imperfect as it may be. I hope we can all look at such things with a light heart, as I'm sure Our Lord does.

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