Thursday, September 15, 2011

We Bow Down

During the Divine Liturgy for the solemn feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross the Byzantine Catholics three times say:
Before Thy Cross we bow down in worship, O Master, and Thy holy Resurrection we glorify. 

Each time, we also touch our foreheads to the ground.  This is known as full metania.

How many times have you felt that we should be doing this routinely before the Holy Eucharist when we go up for Communion, or especially when we come in and leave for Adoration?

This practice of full reverence in the symbolism of actually touching my forehead to the ground in adoration of Christ's redeeming sacrifice is one of the reasons I feel at home in the Byzantine Catholic rite.  It just feels right to me.

We also do this during the Stations of the Cross during Lent, which the Byzantines call the Great Fast.  Again that especially feels right.  

The genuflect is good.

There is just something about the forehead to the ground before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords that suffered so much to make us free from sin and to give us eternal life in heaven.

Yesterday I walked very quickly into an open kitchen cabinet door, while rushing around getting ready for church last night.  I had a little bump right where my forehead meets my hairline.  I don't know if that was a sign to post on this today, but I was a little more deliberate as I was doing the full metania last night.

On feast days, Byzantine Catholics are blessed with holy oil on the foreheads after Divine Liturgy.  Our priest looked a little surprised by the bump when he was blessing me.  The holy oil was soothing there, and less cold than ice!

Today we remember Our Lady of Sorrows in the Roman Rite.  This is something I think should be added to the Byzantine calendar because it makes so much sense for this feast to follow that of the Holy Cross.

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