Last summer, I was sitting there at Mass in the amphitheater of Six Flags Over Texas and Bishops Farrell of Dallas and Vann of Ft. Worth were on stage. We sang through the new translation of the Holy, Holy, Holy as practice for the upcoming Advent season.
After we finished singing, I kneeled down. On concrete. I saw the rest of our youth group kneel down as well, because…that’s just what you do during the Eucharistic Prayer, Consecration, etc. I looked around puzzled because some of the other groups didn’t kneel at first. Was the concrete that much of a discouragement to not kneel during this part of the Mass? But after my youth group all finished kneeling, I noticed the groups around us slowly start to kneel. And that was cool because we sort of led the way.
While the Bishops were doing their thing in persona Christi at the altar, I couldn’t help but notice my discomfort kneeling on the concrete. And I was wearing shorts. As I was trying to focus, I also found myself encouraging myself to endure concrete kneeling.
Haha, I think after that Mass…I thought “man, I’m glad I don’t have to do that often.”
I go back to daily life. And last summer, daily life included more Daily Masses than usual. One of the joys of being a volunteer for the youth group is seeing the high schoolers attend Daily Mass regularly. I’ve noticed this before, but after Six Flags, I started noticing moreso that some of the high schoolers don’t use kneelers. Eeeenteresting.
Seeing their example, I started not using kneelers in the pews at Daily Mass and Sunday Mass whenever I’ve got a kneeler to myself. At first I was like, “hmm, I’ll do what they do…coz it’s more hardcore! And I don’t want to be outdone by them especially if I’m to be their teacher!”
Well, not using a kneeler eventually became a habit of mine.
And sometime recently, I realized a deeper meaning of not using a kneeler in the pew.
You see, because of the discomfort of not using a padded kneeler while kneeling at Mass, I realized a profound thing regarding the Catholic faith:
I shouldn’t be comfortable in my Catholic faith.
Well that seems kind of … negative, depending on how you look at it. But no! I see it as a good thing. The temporary discomforts causes me to seek comfort and peace. Being uncomfortable in the Catholic faith ultimately causes me to seek the comfort and peace in Jesus, because that is who the Church points to.
And the other part is… I shouldn’t be comfortable in my Catholic faith because I feel like if I were to be comfortable, I wouldn’t feel compelled to dive deeper. The quest for 2000 years of Catholic truth makes for a very, very deep ocean at which to dive deeper into.
…and not using kneelers is my one, physical way to remind myself to not stay comfortable. It’s temporary anyway. And hardcore if you can kneel for a bajillion hours at Youth 2000 retreats.
I mean, I look at the crucifix and see that Jesus had to go through discomfort in order to be resurrected. #understatement
If He can do that, I can endure kneeling on bare carpet, floors, concrete, gym floors, and whatever-I-happen-to-be-kneeling on for a little while.
Lastly, the other thing I get out of not using kneelers is that…before the Blessed Sacrament, it places me at a lower level. I really get a sense of humility before the Lord by being lower, physically. In essence, by placing myself lower, I raise Him higher. Cool to think about.
Don’t get me wrong–I’m not here to say that “everyone should never use kneelers”… Because that would be ridiculous and unrealistic. But … my life is Catholic. Anything I can do that reminds me of my call to holiness (without being heretical or going against prescribed rubrics) is…a good thing.
And oh, if I’m sitting in a pew and have to share kneelers with others, I’ll use the kneeler and not force my pew mates to kneel on the floor. That would be a total jerk move, especially next to grandma.
Know kneelers, know comfort. No kneelers, no comfort.