Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Saint Dominic's Fourth Way of Prayer




Here is Saint Dominic assuming two different postures - one flowing into the other. While kneeling he is looking at the crucifix, his left hand has covered his heart, while his right hand is open, perhaps reminding himself simply to stop and gaze. In the second posture Dominic is standing while looking at the crucifix.

The words above the picture tell us that while gazing at the crucifix, Dominic recommends making genuflections. I'd propose an alternative gesture, as the genuflection is the most excellent acknowledgement of worship before the reserved Blessed Sacrament in a Catholic Church. The Eastern Church has a variation on this movement called a prostration. 

A prostration is made by bending the knees slightly and reaching to touch the ground with the finger tips of the right hand. It is a gesture of deep humility, of littleness, of gratitude, of reverential awe.

In your prayer: gaze on the crucifix, pondering that through Jesus' wounded side we have access to the open heart of God. Touch the ground slowly and gently and even repeatedly before that crucifix and its more-than-we-could-ever-hope-for-expression of heaven's love for all of us. All of us! Oh, take delight in that ~ all of us! Can you feel it?

6 comments:

  1. Kind of sad, when your embarrassed to show those signs of humility, affection before receiving the Body of Christ. Genuflecting can be hard at times, getting up. Wouldn't it be nice if we could help each other to do this. Thank you for this awareness. It will encourage me to be more selfless and more grateful for this supreme act of love, done for me.

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    1. It would be so lovely if we would help each other to genuflect. I've been glad for my presence next to "ancient" priests who were grateful for a younger man to lean on so he could genuflect at Mass. With regard to the gazing at the crucifix: the wound in the side of Christ has particular significance - direct access to his heart.

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  2. Are you suggesting we exercise prostration rather than genuflect?

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    1. Not really. I'm suggesting we leave genuflecting for the Reserved Sacrament and use the prostration posture I described for the other prayer. I don't know how much time Dominic put between his genuflections, but too many in a row is dizzying. Whatever is best for you. If the posture gets in the way of the inner disposition, it should be eliminated or modified.

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    2. Thank you for your clarification Father Stephen. I was hoping you'd answer my question. I understand now what you meant.

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  3. I will try this prostration you teach us here and think about the humility I feel as I stand before the Crucifix. Thank you for teaching us new ways to pray before the Lord.

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