What are we supposed to do with ourselves during the Mass?
Recently, there’s been a lot of commotion on the internet claiming that praying in the orans position or holding hands during the Our Father, is wrong. But, I’ve been back to the Church for 33 years and those customs were well established when I came back. So, ask yourself, if the Catholic Church has not put a stop to these, can they really be that bad?
I don’t think they’re bad at all. And I’ll explain that in another article. But, in this article, I just want to give some simple guidance as to how to behave in the Mass. It has served me well for many years and no one has ever said that I’m doing anything wrong.
I follow two common sense rules whenever I go to Church, anywhere.
1. I’m obedient to the Pastor.
2. I do what everyone else does
Most of us are uninstructed in the rules of the Mass. I know I’m not. And I don’t know anyone, outside of the clergy, who is. Most of us learn from watching our neighbors and how they behave.
For the most part, the Mass is the same, anywhere you go. But not always. For example. I frequently travel between Houston and El Paso, TX.
Anywhere that you go to Mass in Houston, you will notice that the people kneel before communion, then stand and receive, then return to their seat and kneel until communion is over and the Priest sits.
But in El Paso, the people kneel for communion and then stand and receive, the same way as in Houston, but they don’t kneel when they get back to their pew. They stand until communion is over and the Priest sits.
I don’t know why this difference exists. But I don’t assume its some sort of conspiracy by the laity to take over the Mass. I simply obey the Bishops’ rules in their respective Diocese. When I see all the people doing something together, I assume that they have been instructed to do so and I join them.
One more thing
Oh, yeah, and grab a copy of the missalette. So you can follow along with the prayers. See Apps for the Mass for utilities on your smartphone that help you keep up with the Mass.
Anyway, just to reiterate, follow two simple rules.
1. Obey the Pastor. If he says, “stand”. Stand. If he says, “sit”. Sit.
2. When in Rome, do as the Romans. If they stand, you stand. If they sit, you sit. If they hold hands, you hold hands. Unless you’ve been sneezing, coughing or hacking. In that case, apologize and offer them your elbow.
I’ve done this for 33 years and it has served me well. I hope it helps you, also.