Author Topic: Genuflections  (Read 1648 times)

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Offline Edmund

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« on: January 27, 2007, 02:04:06 AM »
I am sure that this has been covered before but I was curious coming from the RC we (the more conservative ones that is) genuflect before we sit when get up and whenever we passed the tabernacle. In the OC we bow and cross ourselves does anyone know why we don't genuflect is it just a tradition of teh culture or is it something theological
Thanks a bunch

Offline dantxny

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Re: Genuflections
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2007, 03:02:41 AM »
Genuflection has its roots in western Frankish customs and originally was how one greeted their superiour or Lord according to Sallic Law.  One would get either one one or both knees, hold their hands out together un the traditional western manner see link
and bow his head on his chest.
The Lord would then clasp his hands around the submitting party as a sign of acceptance.  Although, there are slight signs of similar things in the east, it is largely of a western mediaevel origin, where the bowing (and prostrating has a historical prominence in the Mediterranean. 
"If you give the average Frenchman a choice between a reforming president who would plug the country's huge deficit and a good cheese, he would probably opt for the cheese." - Stephen Clarke
I think the French may be on to something here.

Offline Aristibule

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Re: Genuflections
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2007, 10:36:31 AM »
genuflexio was originally a simple 'devoutly kneeling' as even Easterners sometimes do (such as at the 'Kneeling prayers' at Pentecost in the Byzantine rite.) Scholars of western liturgy that genuflexio is often used interchangeably with prostracio, which was (and is) to make a prostration and kiss the ground from the position of devoutly kneeling. One finds this in all the older Roman uses (monastic or secular). Modern genuflexion is a development of the Counter-Reformation period. Even the 'praying hands' is of later origin. The hands were crossed upon the breast while at prayer kneeling, or simply folded (or with fingers interlocked.) We know of this in the Empire before the Franks - in fact, from the Holy Scriptures. St. Stephen at his martyrdom made 'genuflexio' while he prayed, our Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who in the Garden of Gethsemane prayed 'genuflexio' upon his knees. In the Law and Prophets, genuflexio is the 'bending of the knee', ie it was the Israelite outward act of humility, veneration and adoration. Abba Apollo, one of the Desert Fathers once said that the Devil has no knees - he cannot kneel, pray, or worship but cannot only arrogantly look down upon others. The Prophet Isaiah prophesied that 'every knee would bow' to Christ (again, genuflection) which the Apostle Paul repeats in his Epistle to the Romans.
"We must begin at once to "build again the tabernacle which is fallen down, and to build again the ruins thereof, and to set it up;" for HE WHO GAVE THE THOUGHT IN OUR HEART HE LAID ALSO THE RESPONSIBILITY ON US THAT THIS THOUGHT SHOULD NOT REMAIN BARREN." - J.J. Overbeck, 1866