Monday, February 14, 2011

On Our Knees Before the Lord

This past weekend, I was blessed to attend Mass at St. Francis de Sales Oratory in St. Louis. The homily given by Canon Michael Wiener spoke to me immensely.

Remember me going on about wanting to kneel for Holy Communion at my local parish? And how I was specifically told not to?

Well, since then, I've begun to attend the Oratory on a regular basis, absolutely loving the beauty and reverence I have found there. I love that I blend right in with others who are also in love with our Eucharistic Lord and that, together, we participate in the most beautiful form of divine liturgy.

So, you can imagine how delighted I was yesterday to hear Canon Wiener speak of the Holy Eucharist in light of the parable of the mustard seed, and then quote Bishop Athanasius Schneider, on this topic:

Living in the shadow of the mustard tree, being a citizen of the kingdom of God gives us access to the superabundant gifts of the everlasting king: The Eucharist, the nourishment of our souls celebrated in the divine liturgy.

“The Blessed Eucharist is for you … Rejoice, o man, your Christ, your priest, is eternally living with you. You are going to find Him at your side in all the needs of your life. If you are thirsty of truth, He will instruct you and pour light into your intellect. If you are suffering, if the sorrows of earth press heavily on you, He will console you”, says Mother Louise Margaret Claret, a spiritual daughter of St. Francis de Sales.

In the conclusion of his book “Dominus Est – It is the Lord” The Most Reverend Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of Astana in Kazakhstan, writes:

“Allowing oneself to be fed like a baby by receiving Communion directly into the mouth ritually expresses in a better way the character of receptivity and of being a child before Christ Who feeds us and nourishes us spiritually. An adult, on the other hand, takes the food himself with his fingers and places it into his own mouth. … The gesture of receiving the Body of the Lord in the mouth and kneeling could be a visible testimony to the faith of the Church in the Eucharistic Mystery and even something that heals and teaches our modern culture, for which kneeling and spiritual childhood are completely foreign phenomena.”

Then, Canon Wiener went on to speak of the gift of the liturgy as having its source and purpose in the Eucharist itself.

The mustard tree, the Church, is continuously cultivated and renewed in the celebrations of the divine liturgy. The liturgy is above all a gift of the Lord to allow His Mystical Body to be part of His supreme act of Adoration, Thanksgiving, Propitiation and Petition. It will profit the whole of us, the members of this Mystical Body, when all individual members are deepening their faith and their knowledge with regard to the liturgy.

The more we all are able to see the true spiritual roots of the mustard tree the better we are defended against a purely ideological or human perception of the liturgy. The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest cultivates the splendor of the liturgy to bring us the Lord. This is certainly counter-cultural, but being counter-cultural is not the first reason for the Institute to exist. The first reason for us to celebrate the liturgy and for the Institute to exist is to nourish and cultivate the mustard tree planted by Our Lord and entrusted to us and all generations before and after us. Amen.

"The more we all are able to see the true spiritual roots of the mustard tree the better we are defended against a purely ideological or human perception of the liturgy." That's right. The Holy Mass is not just a way to express our religious tendencies or a place to go to in order to feel loved by similarly-minded people. In the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we encounter Christ himself. Our Lord, our God, the source and summit of our lives, the One who can fulfill the deepest desires of our hearts... is there.

How fitting it is, then, to fall on our knees before Him. 

Longing for God,

The Catholic Wife

P.S. Special thanks to St. Louis Catholic for posting the text of Canon Wiener's homily.


  1. You can kneel for Holy Communion at Immaculate Conception in Union. No kneelers but many do kneel down on the step. If Msgr. knows you need to kneel, he even steps back so that you can.