The body was just as important as the mind in these observances, and not merely only what the eyes saw and what the ears heard. Seeing and hearing were in some sense fundamental, even when there was no conscious comprehension. Equally important, however, were the other senses: the scent of incense in the church services, the taste of the Eucharistic bread and wine, the smearing of the oil from the church lamp on your forehead, the kissing of the cross and making the sign of the cross, the myriad genuflections and prostrations, the tasting of the bitter vinegar on Good Friday, the holding of the palm leaf on Palm Sunday, the kiss of peace given and received during the liturgy by all in the special Indian Christian way (offering both your hands to your neighbor to interleaf with the two hands of the other, who does the same to his or her neighbor in turn), the gorgeous vestments of the bishops and priests, the peals of church bells and systrums, exercising one’s own vocal chords loudly and spirit-fully, if not quite harmonious singing of the hymns and chants, the white-clad deacons, the colorful decorations of the altar. All five senses of the body were to be involved in worship: sight and hearing, smell and touch and taste. The body must pray just as much as the soul and the spirit, with the hands and the feet, the tongue and the lips, the voice and the breathing, posture and movement.
That was the system in which we had been brought up. And I must affirm the basic validity of the system, though much in it could readily be improved upon. I have dwelt upon this point in my Joy of Freedom. Many of the attitudes and tastes that I have carried over from childhood to adulthood came from this system.
His Grace, the Late Metropolitan Paulose Mar Gregorious