Is it Catholic or not to Prostrate in Adoration of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist?

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Is it Catholic or not to Prostrate in Adoration

of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist?

 

  1. ADORATION

What is adoration?

Regarding the meaning of the word adoration, we can point out that there are three meanings that complement each other and that all serve the purpose of this essay at the same time. Let us see:

 a. Etymological meaning

Pope Benedict XVI, in the homily he gave on August 21, 2005, on his apostolic trip to Cologne for the 20th World Youth Day, made brief references to the meaning of the word “adoration” in both Greek and Latin.

In the Greek language the word for adoration is proskynesis, and the pope explains what the gesture of submission means, the recognition of God as our true measure, whose norm we accept to follow. It means that freedom does not mean enjoying life but being oriented to truth and goodness.

In the Greek dictionary, this same term is understood as bending the knees forward, submitting, humiliating, prostrating – in such a way that the words “adore” and “prostrate” have the same etymological root in this language. In the Latin language, the term adoration comes from ad-oratio which means to pray to, to speak to, to converse with, to ask. Therefore, since adoration is directed exclusively to God, adoration consists of praying to God, speaking to God, conversing with God, asking God, pleading with God. Pope Benedict XVI, in his aforementioned homily, affirms that the words have the same Latin root: “The Latin word for adoration is ad-oratio – mouth to mouth contact, a kiss, an embrace, and hence, ultimately love. Submission becomes union, because He to whom we submit is Love. In this way submission acquires a meaning, because it does not impose anything on us from the outside, but liberates us deep within.” From these words of the Holy Father, we can infer that when we adore Our Lord Jesus Christ in the consecrated Host, we freely submit to Him, as if giving Him a hug and a kiss, and we allow ourselves to be guided by Him, who is Love, so that He may lead us to be true and good. 

b. Common meaning

In the popular language of our Spanish-speaking people, the term “adore” is understood in the sense of loving excessively. It is a kind of superior, sublime, exalted love. It is a love that is above other loves. The first commandment of the Law of God is: “you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might” (Deut. 6,5). This is to adore: to love God for on top of all other loves. It is the first and highest of all the commandments. 

c. Catholic meaning

Number 1378 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: “In the liturgy of the Mass we express our faith in the Real Presence of Christ under the species of bread and wine by, among other ways, genuflecting or bowing deeply as a sign of adoration of the Lord.” In number 2096 it states: “Adoration is the first act of the virtue of religion. To adore God is to acknowledge Him as God, as the Creator and Savior, the Lord and Master of everything that exists, as infinite and merciful Love.” In number 2628 of the Catechism, it states: “Adoration is the first attitude of man acknowledging that he is a creature before his Creator.”

Adoration is, then, praying with God, being fully aware of being in front of Him, speaking to Him, blessing Him, asking Him, thanking Him, pleading with Him, prostrating ourselves before Him, because He is our greatest Love, whom we must love above all things and people, and to whom we have the duty to express our faith by recognizing Him for what He is: the only true God, owner and Lord of all that exists, and our Creator; and we, who are His creatures and therefore His children, must thank Him for having given us existence and for having sent His only-begotten Son for the salvation of all souls who want to be saved.

2. EUCHARISTIC ADORATION

a. What is the Eucharist?

The Eucharist is the source, the culmination, and the vital center of the Church’s mission. It is the greatest gift of love: that of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who invites us to give our lives for friends (cf. Jn. 15,13) as He gave it in its entirety, to the last drop of His precious Blood, to reveal to us God’s infinite love for each man. Jesus is really present in the consecrated Host.

We can even affirm that He is the Holy Eucharist, that He is the consecrated Host. In the Eucharistic celebration, right at the moment of consecration, the infinite power of God produces transubstantiation (cf. Conc. Trent, session XIII, chap 8, can 2) by turning the substance of bread into the true flesh of Christ and the substance of wine into the true blood of Christ.

Although the appearances of bread and wine persist, these species are no longer bread and wine – now they really are the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ: “Take this all of you, and eat of it: for this is my Body, which will be given up for you.” “Take this, all of you, and drink from it, for this is the chalice of My Blood, the Blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of Me.” These words give a true sense of permanence, manifesting the clear intention of their perpetuation in the Eucharist. In this way Jesus fulfills His promise to be with us every day and until the end of time (cf. Mt. 28,20).

In the Holy Eucharist, Jesus makes Bread for eternal life and voluntarily sacrifices Himself to the Father as a scapegoat in the most sublime holocaust of love for the redemption of humanity, and all of it is given freely, without regard to people, as real food and as real drink. He is the Bread for eternal life, the Bread that quenches hunger, the Wine that quenches thirst, the heavenly delicacy for the hungry and thirsty man of love, truth and freedom.

b. Jesus in the Eucharist

At the Last Supper, Jesus made an unbloody advance – that is, without bloodshed – of the bloody sacrifice that He would make of Himself the next day at Calvary in His most painful passion and death. Thus He fulfills His promise to become the Bread of eternal Life (cf. Jn. 6,16-46). With the Eucharistic celebration, the priest offers to the Father the bloodless renewal of the sacrifice of Jesus as an eternal revival within the Church of the fulfillment of His mandate: “Do this in remembrance of me(Lk. 22,19). With His Real Presence in the Eucharist, God fulfills another of His promises: “I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt. 28,20). It is the Church that celebrates the memorial of the passion, death and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ, but it is God who offers Himself as a now-bloodless victim, in the perpetuation of His sacrifice on Calvary. That is why the Eucharist, which in the Greek language means thanksgiving, is the thanksgiving carried out by the people of God for the redemptive sacrifice of Christ. Jesus remains in what seems like bread and wine but those are no longer: now it is He who is truly present in Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the consecrated Host.

c. What is Eucharistic adoration?

Fr. Eugenio Pacelli – the future Pope Pius XII – in a small book published in 1908, which he called Spanish Night Adoration, wrote the following: “All the devotions of the Holy Church are beautiful, all are holy, but the most sublime, the most tender and the most fruitful is the Eucharistic adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.” This is Eucharistic adoration: the most sublime devotion of the Catholic Church through which the human soul, recognizing the divine Real Presence of its Redeemer in the Eucharist, professes its witness of love and gratitude.

The consecrated Host is really the Body and Blood of Christ. All the bread, and not part of it, is transubstantiated into His Body. All the wine, and not part of it, is transubstantiated into His Blood. It is Christ Himself. This is why, from the earliest times, the faithful receive the Eucharist with a deep reverence, preferably communicating on the tongue and on their knees, and the Holy Reserve is kept with the greatest decorum in the tabernacle since ancient times – a devotional custom about which the Synod of Verdun already bears witness from the 6th century. Eucharistic adoration is, therefore, the paraliturgical manifestation of the faith of the Catholic Church in the real and substantial presence of Christ under the appearances of bread and wine, which, because of our recognition of His divine majesty, we worship Him in adoration,  not only during the celebration of Holy Mass.

d. Eucharistic adoration is a continuation of the Eucharistic celebration

The liturgical celebration of Holy Mass is both the prayer and the greatest and most important adoration of the Catholic Church. It commemorates the most sublime act of love that the earth has ever witnessed. In the admirable Eucharistic mystery, God bloodlessly repeats His absolute dedication for the salvation of humanity. And in the Eucharistic Sacrament He continues to love us with such excess that He gives us His Body and Blood until the consummation of time.

No other ecclesiastical activity can surpass the beauty of the Eucharistic liturgy as a commemoration of the most sublime act of love and of the most sublime being, God Himself, who remains with and for His loved ones in the consecrated Host. The Eucharistic Reserve is kept in the sacrarium or tabernacle with the greatest respect, “… exposing them to the solemn veneration of the faithful…” (Catechism, 1378). Without priests there is no Holy Mass, without Holy Mass there is no consecrated Host, and without a consecrated Host there is no Eucharistic adoration. Eucharistic adoration is a necessary continuation of the Eucharistic celebration.

At certain times in history, some came to think that the Eucharist was only for eating and not for worshiping. The Roman Catholic Church, from its earliest times, aware of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, gives the consecrated Host to her faithful both to consume and to adore. In this sense, Saint Augustine writes: “No one eats this meat without first worshiping it … we would sin if we did not worship it” (“Nemo autem illam carnem manducat, nisi prius adoraverit … peccemus non adorando”) (n. 162 MD, and n. 66 SC). Roman Catholics take Communion and adore Our Lord Jesus Christ, truly present in the Holy Eucharist. We can affirm that we consume what we adore, and we adore what we consume.

e. Who do we adore in the Eucharist?

We adore Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Sacrament, who is really and substantially present in the consecrated Host, the Blessed Sacrament of the altar, under the appearances of bread and wine. He is the holy Eucharist. He is true God and true man, two natures united, without confusion, in the hypostatic union in a single divine Person. Now, together with God the Son, we also adore God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. God is triune and one, one and triune, and He maintains unity in His three divine Persons. God has existed in a trinity for all time. God the Father is the foundation of divine unity; God the Son is the Logos, the Word, the Wisdom of God; and God the Holy Spirit is the emanation of love from the Father to the Son and from the Son to the Father.

In the Eucharist, then, we adore Jesus, God the Son, and with Him we adore God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. We adore Our Lord Jesus Christ as God the Son, second divine Person of the Holy Trinity; we also adore Him as Jesus in the Sacrament, really and substantially present in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar; and we adore Him equally as Jesus Crucified and Risen, true God and true Man who on the cross consummates the supreme divine sacrifice for the redemption of humanity and the salvation of souls.

We do not adore the Blessed Virgin Mary because She is not God, but we do venerate Her. To God we owe adoration with the cult of latria; to the angels and saints we offer the cult of dulia; and to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, Queen and Mother of all creation and, therefore, superior to angels and saints, we owe the cult of hyperdulia. She is, according to Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, the Mediatrix of All Graces (“Maria mediatrix omnium gratiarum”) and, therefore, She is always spiritually present in the Eucharist, at the side of Jesus, since She is inseparable from Her most holy Son. Since there was no male intervention in the divine conception of Jesus, it is Mary who gives Her body and blood to Her Son. This is how Pope St. Paul VI expresses it: “May the most blessed Virgin Mary, from whom Christ the Lord took the flesh that ‘is contained, offered, received’ in this Sacrament under the appearances of bread and wine” (cf .CEMF, n. 8, para. 12). Her womb, eternally virginal, is the first tabernacle on earth. Therefore, we could say that, in a certain sense, the Body and Blood of Jesus, heroically shed by Him on Calvary and by Him voluntarily given in the Eucharist for the salvation of souls, is also the body and blood of Mary. In the Eucharistic adoration of our Blessed Mother, we do not adore Her but we do venerate Her with the cult of hyperdulia, because She is spiritually present next to Jesus in the Eucharist, just as She was at His side and at His feet in His crucifixion and death on the Cross. For this reason, when in the Eucharistic liturgy we approach the Body and Blood of Jesus, we also approach Mary, who fully adhered to the sacrifice of Her Divine Son, and offered it to the nascent Church.

f. Why do we worship God?

  1. Because we owe everything to God, beginning with our own existence.
    2. Because no one loves us more than He does.
    3. Because He created us out of nothing (ex nihilo) to worship Him.
    4. Because it is the first of all the commandments: “you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might” (Deut. 6,5).
    5. Because to Him, and only to Him, do we owe adoration: “You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve” (Lk. 4,8; cf. Deut. 6,13). During His fast in the desert, Jesus is tempted by Satan, who, after showing Him the riches of the world, says to Jesus: “If you, then, will worship me, it shall all be yours” (Lk. 4,7) – and Jesus replies: “You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve” (Lk 4,8). From this response it is clear that Jesus is saying to Satan: I am your God, I am the only true God, and it is you who must prostrate before Me. And later Jesus replies: “You shall not tempt the Lord your God.” That is why Satan flees defeated (cf. Lk. 4,12-13).
    6. Because it is the most basic and important act of justice. If justice is understood by man as giving each one his due, what cannot correspond to the One who has created all things, and who has given everything to man?
    7. Because with worship we recognize God for what He is: God, creator, savior, sanctifier, owner, and Lord of all that exists.
    8. Because we recognize our smallness before His infinite Majesty.
    9. Because we surrender, we humble ourselves, and lovingly submit our minds and hearts to those who are greater than us.
    10. Because by worshiping Him, He guides us to the truth, the good, and freedom.
    11. Because if we do not worship God, we will end up worshiping idols: “He who is not with me is against me” (Lk. 11,23; Mt. 12,30).
    12. Because if we adore Him in spirit and in truth, and we abandon ourselves to Him, He will transform us, making us similar to Him: “learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart” (Mt. 11,29).
    13. Because the adoration of God frees man from retreating into himself, from slavery to sin, and from the idolatry of the world (cf. Catechism, 2097).

Our Lord Jesus Christ anticipated in several passages of the Gospel the delivery of His Flesh for eternal life. However, it is at the Last Supper when He institutes it as a bloodless advance of His holocaust of love, and in His Passion and Death He consummates it with His bloody, most painful sacrifice, shedding His precious Blood. From the earliest times of the Church, especially after Pentecost, the apostles were clear about the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. At the end of each celebration of the Breaking of Bread, they made the Eucharistic Reserve with great respect and in a private way – not yet for their adoration but to take it to the sick, the prisoners, and those persecuted for the Faith. Famous is the martyrdom of the adolescent Saint Tarcisius in Rome, who in the year 275 gave his life to prevent the desecration of the Body of Jesus in the consecrated Bread.

Since the Apostolic Constitutions, around the year 380, the care of the Eucharistic Reserve was foreseen in a place considered sacred – as indeed it is because of the divine Presence – and, for this reason, they called it the sacrarium. And already, in the 6th century, during the Synod of Verdun, the Church ordered that the Eucharist be kept in a special place – “eminent, honest, and, if resources allow it, it must have a permanently lit lamp” – as an indication that Jesus in the Sacrament is present in that place. Thus were born the sacrarium and tabernacle. In the first Christian temples, the Blessed Sacrament was kept in a veiled form (that is, hidden from the view of the faithful), but centuries later, the holy custom of Exposing the Blessed Sacrament through a glass arises within the Church, ( “In cristallo” or “pixides cristallum”), and thus the sacred Custodies are configured for the cult of Eucharistic adoration. Since these times, there are clear signs of adoration prescribed in ancient liturgies, such as, for example, before Communion Sancta sanctis (God’s holy gifts for God’s holy people), the faithful performed bows and prostrations.

For several centuries, within numerous monasteries in antiquity and in the Middle Ages, the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was preserved, and by the unshakeable faith of these monks and innumerable testimonies of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, the pious practice of adoration was kept, in the apologetic response of faith and devotion against general incredulity and various heresies typical of the time.

In the year 1246, the bishop of Liege, Belgium, Robert de Thourotte, instituted the feast of Corpus Christi, thanks to the testimonies that Saint Juliana of Liege, abbess of the Mont-Cornillon Monastery, gave before him on repeated occasions. In 1208 Our Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him, urging him to sponsor within the Church a liturgical feast in honor of the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. Then, the cardinal-legate for Germany, Hugo de Saint-Cher, extended the feast to the entire territory of his jurisdiction. This draws the attention of Pope Urban IV, who, because of the high esteem in which he held Saint Juliana of Liege, extended this liturgical solemnity to the entire Latin Church through the bull Transiturus de hoc Mundu on August 11, 1264. For this solemnity, the Holy Father promoted a contest to establish the official hymn of the Church, which was won by Saint Thomas Aquinas, who defeated, among others, Saint Bonaventure, with his immortal Pange, lingua; the most famous, last stanza, called the Tantum ergo, is widely sung today, especially in exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. There was strong opposition to the institution of this sacred festival. However, despite this, the Council of Vienne, in 1314, ratified this Papal Bull, and by the year 1324 the feast of Corpus Christi was celebrated throughout the Church. As a result of the institution of such a sacred liturgical festival, the celebration of a traveling Exhibition of the Blessed Sacrament was also made official, which was called a procession, and which inspired the formalization of other ecclesiastical processions.

In the famous Council of Trent, celebrated between the years 1545 and 1563, the Church established that Our Lord Jesus Christ is “truly, really, and substantially contained under the” consecrated bread and wine (cf. n. 3.f EM). In the Eucharistic celebration, the conversion of all the bread and all the wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus occurs right at the moment of consecration, and this sublime, divine mystery, according to the Council of Trent, is appropriately called transubstantiation (cf. Conc Trento session XXIII, chap 8, can 2).

  1. RECENT DOCUMENTS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

4.1. Encyclical Letter Mediator Dei

It was written by Pope Pius XII on November 20, 1947. From its text it is worth highlighting number 18, which establishes that it is the fundamental duty of man to direct his person and his own life toward God. For its part, number 161 affirms that the Eucharistic delicacy contains truly, really and substantially, the body, the blood, together with the soul and the divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and, therefore, the Church from its beginnings has worshiped it under the species of bread, commanding the sacred ministers to worship the Blessed Sacrament on their knees, or with deep obeisances. Number 163 teaches that from the conservation of the sacred species for the sick and those in danger of death, the laudable custom of worshiping this heavenly food reserved in temples was born. Finally, number 170, when it speaks of the Eucharistic blessing that the priest must give at the end of adoration, hopes that the faithful will be more and more numerous and that, called to the feet of Our Savior, we will listen to His sweetest invitation:

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mt. 11,28).

4.2 Conciliar Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium

It is one of the main documents that the Church produced in 1963, during the Second Vatican Council. In all fairness, the council members give little importance to the worship of Eucharistic adoration since they focus more of their efforts on the liturgical rite of the Eucharistic celebration. In this famous Constitution, the bishops exhort the faithful to participate more actively in the celebration of the sacred Eucharistic mystery with great piety. For our purposes, numbers 2 and 7 stand out, in which the Church emphasizes the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharistic liturgy. Number 9 invites us in the liturgy to intensify the celebration of faith, and in a particular way in the Eucharist, which is the summit to which the Church’s action tends and also the source from which all its strength flows. Pope Benedict XVI, in his last audience with the clergy of Rome, spoke of this constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, in whose writing he participated. He said these words: “I think it was very successful to begin with the liturgy. This is how the primacy of God is manifested, the primacy of adoration… His first and substantial act was to speak of God and to open everyone, the entire, holy people, to the adoration of God in the common celebration of the liturgy of the Body and the Blood of Christ.

4.3. Encyclical Letter Mysterium Fidei

It corresponds to the papacy of Saint Paul VI, who wrote it on September 3, 1965. Its number 1 establishes that the mystery of faith, the ineffable gift of the Eucharist, was received by the Church of Christ as a pledge of her immense love, and that she has kept it religiously as the most precious treasure. Later, this same number adds that the Eucharistic Mystery is the heart and center of the Sacred Liturgy. Its number 3 includes that the Eucharist is the mystery of faith, and that in it, citing Pope Leo XIII, all supernatural realities are contained with singular richness and a variety of miracles. Number 7 confirms that the Church renders latreutic worship to the Eucharistic Sacrament not only during Holy Mass but also outside of its celebration. Number 8 makes an exhortation to the parishioners to promote the worship of Eucharistic adoration. Emmanuel – God with us – full of grace and truth, lives with us. Number 8 also orders customs, feeds the virtues, comforts the afflicted, strengthens the weak. It also teaches that a visit to the Blessed Sacrament is a sign of gratitude, a sign of love and adoration.

4.4 Instruction Eucharisticum Mysterium

May 25, 1967. It was also written by Pope Saint Paul VI. Its number 3.e establishes that the Eucharistic celebration in the sacrifice of the Mass is really the origin and the end of the worship being offered outside of Mass. In number 3.f,  he affirms that Christians give tribute to this most holy Sacrament by the worship of latria that is due to the true God, because it must does not cease to be adored by the fact of having been instituted by Christ the Lord to be consumed, and that also in the Eucharistic reserve He must be adored. In number 49, he states that the laudable custom of worshiping this delicacy from heaven preserved in the churches has a solid and firm foundation: faith in the Real Presence of the Lord that naturally leads to the external and public manifestation of this faith. Number 50 of this Instruction expresses that in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, the faithful must remember that this presence derives from sacrifice and tends towards sacramental and spiritual communion at the same time; that we must be grateful for God’s gift, enjoy His intimate relationship, open our hearts, ask, among other things, for the salvation of the world, and apply ourselves with ardor to the veneration of the Lord, according to the conditions of our own state of life. He exhorts pastors to lead the faithful by example and encourage them with words. It also warns pastors, in number 51, to take care to keep churches and public oratories open for many hours in the morning and in the afternoon so that the faithful can easily pray before the Blessed Sacrament.

4.5. Ritual of Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside of Mass

It also belongs to the papacy of Saint Paul VI who wrote it in 1974. From this ritual it is worth highlighting these provisions: Number 80 reminds us that the presence of Christ in the Sacrament comes from the Sacrifice and tends toward sacramental and spiritual communion. In adoration of the Holy Eucharist, one participates more fully in the paschal mystery and responds with gratitude, enjoying intimate contact with Christ, opening His Heart and praying for peace and the salvation of the world.

This increases faith, hope and charity. He invites the faithful to worship Christ, and encourages shepherds to follow his example and exhort them with his words. In number 90 it is recommended to organize the pious custom of perpetual or prolonged adoration, and that this is carried out with the participation of the whole community – with sacred readings, songs, sacred silence – to promote the spiritual life, practicing the cult of the Sacrament of noblest form. Number 95 encourages the organization of prayers, songs and readings during the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, as well as keeping sacred silence at appropriate times – all to achieve a greater esteem for the Eucharistic mystery.

It is of special importance for the subject that we propose here the rendering into English the Tantum ergo – the last stanza of the famous liturgical hymn composed by Saint Thomas Aquinas, the Pange lingua, makes this Ritual on page 81 of its publication on the website, liturgiapapal.org. On this page it is evident that the Latin phrase with which this last stanza begins: “Tantum ergo Sacramentum Veneremur cernui” is rendered in English by the Church with these words: “Down in adoration falling, Lo! the sacred Host we hail.”

4.6. Apostolic Exhortation Dominicae Cenae

On February 24, 1980, Pope Saint John Paul II wrote a precious Letter on the mystery and worship of the Eucharist, which he called Dominicae Cenae (On the Mystery and Worship of the Eucharist), addressed to all Bishops of the Church. He begins by saying in number 2 that the institution of the Eucharist is the main and central reason for the sacrament of the priesthood, effectively born at the time of the institution of the Eucharist.

It affirms that priests are responsible for the Eucharist, since the great “Sacrament of our faith” is entrusted to them, so that they give a particular witness of veneration. (And we ask ourselves: how many priests have forgotten to give this testimony?) In number 3 the Holy Father expresses his desire that the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, rooted above all in the celebration of the Eucharistic liturgy, should fill our temples even outside of the Mass schedule. It calls for the animation and strengthening of Eucharistic worship as a proof of the authentic renewal that the Council proposed. The Church and the world are in great need of Eucharistic worship. Jesus awaits us in the Sacrament of love. You cannot spare the time to go worship Him?

We must look at it full of faith and open to repairing the serious crimes of the world, and pray that our worship never ceases. In number 4 this illustrious pope affirms: “Just as the Church ‘makes the Eucharist’ so ‘the Eucharist builds up’ the Church.” And in number 13 he concludes that the Eucharist, which is a sacrament of piety, a sign of unity and a bond of love, cannot constitute a point of division or a source of disagreement. It pleads for the unity of the Church and is a call to avoid saddening the Holy Spirit. Finally, he asks that the bishops and priests make the maximum effort to achieve the universal unity of the Church of Christ on earth, and expresses his fervent desire that the Eucharist become more and more a source of life and light for the conscience of all our brothers, in all communities.

4.7. Catechism of the Catholic Church

This masterful compilation of the general and moral doctrine of the Church, whose initiative corresponded to Pope Saint John Paul II, includes from numbers 1322 to 1419 norms related to devotion and Eucharistic worship. Of these provisions, we consider four numbers particularly relevant for this essay; namely, 1378, 1418, 2096, 2097 and 2628. For this consideration we share them:

1378 Worship of the Eucharist. In the liturgy of the Mass we express our faith in the real presence of Christ under the species of bread and wine by, among other ways, genuflecting or bowing deeply as a sign of adoration of the Lord. “The Catholic Church has always offered and still offers to the sacrament of the Eucharist the cult of adoration, not only during Mass, but also outside of it, reserving the consecrated hosts with the utmost care, exposing them to the solemn veneration of the faithful, and carrying them in procession.”

 

1418 Because Christ himself is present in the sacrament of the altar, he is to be honored with the worship of adoration. “To visit the Blessed Sacrament is . . . a proof of gratitude, an expression of love, and a duty of adoration toward Christ our Lord” (Paul VI, MF 66).

 

2096 Adoration is the first act of the virtue of religion. To adore God is to acknowledge him as God, as the Creator and Savior, the Lord and Master of everything that exists, as infinite and merciful Love. “You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve,” says Jesus, citing Deuteronomy.

 

2097 To adore God is to acknowledge, in respect and absolute submission, the “nothingness of the creature” who would not exist but for God. To adore God is to praise and exalt him and to humble oneself, as Mary did in the Magnificat, confessing with gratitude that he has done great things and holy is His name. The worship of the one God sets man free from turning in on himself, from the slavery of sin and the idolatry of the world.

 

2628 Adoration is the first attitude of man acknowledging that he is a creature before his Creator. It exalts the greatness of the Lord who made us and the almighty power of the Savior who sets us free from evil. Adoration is homage of the spirit to the “King of Glory,” respectful silence in the presence of the “ever greater” God. Adoration of the thrice-holy and sovereign God of love blends with humility and gives assurance to our supplications.  

 

As a corollary to these five catechetical provisions we can conclude the following: The Holy Catholic Church recognizes the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, invites the faithful to express it on their knees or with a deep bow, and exhorts them to Eucharistic adoration during and outside of the Mass (1378). The Real Presence of Christ in the Sacrament is honored with a worship service by visiting the Blessed Sacrament, which is, at the same time, a proof of gratitude, a sign of love, and a duty of adoration (1418).

Adoration, as the first act of the virtue of religion, is to recognize God as the All, infinite and merciful Love, whom we must adore/render exclusive worship of adoration (2096). When we worship God we acknowledge with absolute submission that we are “nothing,” as the Catechism expressly indicates in number 2097, and we praise and exalt God, who is “All.” We humble ourselves with gratitude, as did Mary. By worshiping God, man is freed by God from pride, sin and idolatry (2097). By worshiping God, we, who are His creatures, humbly acknowledge Him as our Creator; before Him we humble the spirit, and He gives assurance to our supplications (2628).

4.8. Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis

On February 22, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI wrote a precious apostolic exhortation which he called, in a very clear allusion to the Eucharist, Sacramentum Caritatis, the Sacrament of Charity. It is remarkable. First of all, its number 1, in which the Holy Father recognizes that the Holy Eucharist is the gift that Jesus Christ makes of Himself, revealing to us the infinite love of God for each man, because in it He manifests the greatest love, the one that encourages us to give our lives for our friends. In number 35 he admirably captures the beauty of the Eucharistic liturgy, in which shines forth the Paschal Mystery of Christ, who draws us to Himself and calls us to communion in love, a sign of the beauty and harmony of the cosmos created by Him.

Beauty, therefore, is not a decorative element of liturgical action, but a constitutive element of it as an attribute of God Himself and of His revelation. In number 65 the Pope refers to the growth among the faithful of the sense of the mystery of God present among us, which is verified with specific manifestations of veneration of the Eucharist, and gives importance to gestures and posture, such as kneeling during the main moments of the Eucharistic prayer, as a conscious expression of being in every celebration before the infinite majesty of God, who humbly reaches us in the sacramental signs. Number 66 highlights Eucharistic adoration as an obvious continuation of the Eucharistic celebration, which is itself the Church’s greatest act of adoration.

To receive the Eucharist means to adore the one we receive; we become one with Him, and we taste in advance the beauty of the heavenly liturgy. Adoration outside of Holy Mass prolongs and intensifies what happened in the liturgical celebration itself. The personal encounter with the Lord must mature the social mission contained in the Eucharist, which wants to break down the barriers between Him and us, and the barriers that separate us from each other. In number 67 the Holy Father ardently recommends the practice of Eucharistic adoration, both personal and communal. It invites a proper catechesis on this act of worship, especially for children preparing for First Communion, to become aware of the beauty of being with Jesus and the amazement at His presence in the Eucharist. And, in number 68, he proclaims that personal relationship with Jesus leads to a sense of belonging to the Body of Christ. Invite the faithful to find time to be in prayer before the Sacrament of the altar, and ask parishes and other ecclesial groups to promote times of communal worship. It establishes that existing forms of Eucharistic devotion retain all their value, and thinks of traditional practices, allowing other similar initiatives that, duly updated and adapted to the various circumstances, deserve to be cultivated today as well. When we read these words of Pope Benedict XVI, we cannot think of anything other than the devotion of the Eucharistic adoration of The Six Kowtows, as another analogous initiative that deserves to be cultivated today, and whose generalized practice we are asking for official approval by the competent ecclesiastical authorities.

4.9. Speech by Pope Benedict XVI in Cologne, at the vigil with young people, on August 20, 2005

Although it is not a document, this speech deserves special mention. This famous papal speech was delivered on the occasion of the twentieth World Youth Day. In it, and in several of its passages based on Matthew 2,11, Pope Benedict XVI recognizes that the Magi came to Bethlehem to worship the Infant Jesus in prostration. Let’s look at some passages from this discourse: “It was in order to seek this King that they had set off on their journey: deep within themselves they felt prompted to go in search of the true justice that can only come from God, and they wanted to serve this King, to fall prostrate at His feet and so play their part in the renewal of the world.” Further on we read: “Yet now they were bowing down before the child of poor people, and they soon came to realize that Herod, the King they had consulted, intended to use his power to lay a trap for him, forcing the family to flee into exile.” We also find in this discourse: “The new King, to whom they now paid homage, was quite unlike what they were expecting.” “This was where their inner journey began. It started at the very moment when they knelt down before this child and recognized Him as the promised King.”

“So it is important to discover the true face of God. The Magi from the East found it when they knelt down before the Child of Bethlehem. ‘He who has seen me has seen the Father,’ said Jesus to Philip (Jn 14:9).” Benedict XVI continues in his famous speech: “This means that we are not constructing a private God, we are not constructing a private Jesus, but that we believe and worship the Jesus who is manifested to us by the Sacred Scriptures…”

“Going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshipped him” (Mt 2,11). Dear friends, this is not a distant story that took place long ago. It is with us now. Here in the Sacred Host He is present before us and in our midst. As at that time, so now He is mysteriously veiled in a sacred silence; as at that time, it is here that the true face of God is revealed. For us He became a grain of wheat that falls on the ground and dies and bears fruit until the end of the world (cf. Jn 12,24). He is present now as He was then in Bethlehem. He invites us to that inner pilgrimage which is called adoration. Let us set off on this pilgrimage of the spirit and let us ask him to be our guide. Amen.”

  1. THE KOWTOW AS A BODY POSTURE IN EUCHARISTIC WORSHIP

We consider that to worship God, any body posture that the worshiper freely wishes to adopt is valid, as long as he maintains decorum, respect, love, piety and, fundamentally, the gratitude that we should feel toward the One who is the Whole, the One who has given us everything, and the One who loves us to the point of giving His life for us. Therefore, we consider that standing or sitting, kneeling, genuflecting, with the palms of the hands joined, with the arms raised to Heaven or extended forward, prostrate face on the ground, or prostrate lying face down, are all suitable corporal positions to adore God, provided that they are practiced with the necessary honor toward the Author of life. We also think that, more than the physical position, God prefers the spiritual disposition of man at the moment of worshiping Him. We have to adore God in spirit and in truth, with a humbled heart, repentant for the sins committed, since a contrite and humbled heart He does not despise (cf. Ps. 51,19); it is the absolute respect and submission to which number 2097 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church refers. However, we practice and recommend the body posture of kowtowing on the ground because we testify that it motivates the humble awareness in man of his deep and intimate need to worship the one true God.

Many priests give the same testimony, and some even claim to have increased their Eucharistic faith after having worshiped Our Lord Jesus Christ in the consecrated Host, kowtowing or lying down. Our simple opinion is that we adore God with all our being, with words, with silence, with songs, and also with bodily gestures that could manifest – if they are authentic – desires for intimate communion with God. Within the corporal positions, we believe that the kowtow is the expression par excellence of adoration as a gesture of humility before the Eucharistic Mystery. It would be desirable, but it is not imperative, that the unity of the faithful give prominence to this bodily posture of kowtow in public and private Eucharistic adoration, as evidence of courageous recognition of Catholic faith in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the consecrated Host. In the General Audience of May 11, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI affirmed: “In the dynamic of this relationship with the one who gives meaning to existence, with God, prayer has one of its typical expressions in the gesture of kneeling. It is a gesture that has in itself a radical ambivalence. In fact, I can be forced to kneel — a condition of indigence and slavery — but I can also kneel spontaneously, declaring my limitations and therefore my need of Another. To him I declare I am weak, needy, ‘a sinner.’”

  1. PROSTRATIONS IN THE BIBLE

Numerous are the biblical passages that refer to prostrating, putting one’s face to the ground, kneeling, humiliating oneself, showing reverence, making a deep bow, or other similar phrases describing the corporal position that denotes the humble recognition of the smallness of man before the infinite majesty of God. In this essay we have compiled a list of 172 quotations from the Holy Scriptures on prostrations, which we present as irrefutable testimony the Word of God makes for this bodily gesture of devotion to the only true God. Let us see:

OLD TESTAMENT

 

GENESIS: 13.3, 17.17, 18.2, 19.1, 22.5, 24.26, 24.52, 24.6, 24.48, 24.86, 48.13

EXODUS: 4.31, 24.1, 33.10, 34.8

LEVITICUS: 9.24

NUMBERS: 14.5, 16.22, 16.4, 17.10, 20.6, 22.31, 24.4, 24.16

DEUTERONOMY: 9,18, 9.25, 26.10, 33.3

JOSHUA: 5.14, 7.6, 7.10

JUDGES: 7.15, 13.20

1 SAMUEL: 1.3, 1.19, 1.28, 2.17, 5.4, 15.25, 15.31, 20.41, 24.8, 25.23, 28.14

2 SAMUEL: 12.16, 12.20, 15.32

1 KINGS: 18.42

2 KINGS: 1.36, 17.36, 18.39

1 CHRONICLES: 16.29, 21.16, 29.20

2 CHRONICLES: 7.3, 16.29, 20.18, 29.29, 33.33

EZRA: 10.1

NEHEMIAH: 8.6, 9.3, 9.6

JUDITH: 6.18

2 MACCABEES: 3.12, 10.26

JOB: 1.20, 16.15

PSALMS: 4.55, 5.7, 5.9, 22.27, 22.29, 29.2, 66.4, 72.11, 86.9, 95.6, 96.9, 97.7, 116.6, 132.7, 138.2

SIRACH: 50.17, 50.21

ISAIAH: 27.13, 36.7, 45.23, 49.7, 60.14, 66.23

JEREMIAH: 7.2, 26.2

EZEKIEL: 1.28, 9.8, 46.2, 46.3

DANIEL: 8.17

MICAH: 6.6

ZEPHANIAH: 1.5, 2.11, 3.10

 

NEW TESTAMENT

 

MATTHEW: 2.2, 2.8, 2.11, 4.10, 8.2, 9.18, 13.12, 14.33, 15.22, 17.6, 18.26, 20.20, 26.39, 28.9, 28.17

MARK: 1.40, 5.6, 5.22, 5.33, 7.25, 10.17, 14.35

LUKE: 4.8, 5.8, 5.12, 7.28, 8.32, 8.41, 8.47, 17.16, 18.13, 22.41, 24.5, 24.52

JOHN: 4.10, 4.20, 4.24, 9.24, 9.38, 11.3

ACTS: 8.7, 9.4, 9.27, 16.14, 17.23

ROMANS: 12.1, 14.11

1 CORINTHIANS: 1.45, 14.25, 29.20

EPHESIANS: 3.14

PHILIPPIANS: 2.10

HEBREWS: 1.6, 9.9, 11.21

JAMES: 4.10

1 PETER: 5.6

REVELATION: 1.17, 3.9, 4.10, 5.8, 5.14, 7.11, 11.16, 14.7, 15.4, 19.4, 19.10, 19.14, 22.8

 

  1. THE EUCHARISTIC ADORATION OF THE SIX KOWTOWS COMES FROM A PRIVATE REVELATION

This practice of kowtowing, which is not obligatory but recommended, in Eucharistic adoration (though The Six Kowtows can be practiced outside of adoration) comes from a private revelation. Its immediate origin is found in a private revelation that Jesus and Mary gave in 2014 to a Vietnamese immigrant in the United States of America whose name is Lucia Phan; she is a humble, poor woman of deep prayer whose life belongs to God and the Holy Catholic Church. And a Venezuelan lawyer, a sinner, on the difficult road of conversion, who today writes these lines, received from the Virgin Mary on July 5, 2017, in the city of Houston, Texas, United States, through the Lucia Phan herself, the task of making this form of Eucharistic adoration known, first in Venezuela, and later in other countries, for the spiritual liberation of our peoples.

According to what is established in number 67 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, some private revelations have been recognized by the authority of the Church, even though they do not belong to the Deposit of Faith. For a private revelation to be recognized as authentic, it cannot attempt to improve or complete the only public and definitive revelation, which is that of Jesus Christ to His Church.

The private revelation given to Lucia Phan seeks only to help people to live more fully the definitive and public revelation of Our Lord Jesus Christ in this time of history so convulsed, with so much spiritual confusion, and in which it is so difficult for humanity to recognize His real, living, loving and substantial presence in the Holy Eucharist. It is not a private revelation that wishes to impose new elements on the Catholic faith, nor does it claim to change a single letter of the revelation of Christ that is perfect, holy, complete, and unsurpassable. It is a gift from the Mother of God supported by the very ancient practice of the Judeo-Christian tradition of prostrating before God. This devotion has, as we have pointed out, a vast biblical foundation, and its purpose is the growth of faith in the clergy and the faithful, the spiritual liberation of all peoples, the peace of the world, the invitation to conversion for sinners, and the salvation of many souls.

 

  1. THE EUCHARISTIC ADORATION OF KOWTOWS: CONTINUITY OF THE MESSAGE OF FATIMA?

An example of private revelation officially approved by the Church is the case of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Fatima, Portugal. In the Vatican archives there is the testimony of Sister Lucia Dos Santos, one of the three little shepherds to whom the Blessed Mother of God appeared six times in 1917. She relates that before the encounters with the Virgin, an angel appeared to them three times. In the first appearance of the angel, they saw a figure of “a young man about fourteen or fifteen years old, whiter than snow, transparent as crystal when the sun shines through it, and of great beauty. On reaching us, he said: ‘Do not be afraid! I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me.’ Kneeling on the ground, he bowed down until his forehead touched the ground, and made us repeat these words three times: ‘My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You! I ask pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You.’ Then, rising, he said: ‘Pray thus. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications.’”

About the third appearance of the angel, Sister Lucia dos Santos testified to the following: [they] “beheld the Angel. He was holding a chalice in his left hand, with the Host suspended above it, from which some drops of blood fell into the chalice. Leaving the chalice suspended in the air, the Angel knelt down beside us […] Then, rising, he took the chalice and the Host in his hands. He gave the Sacred Host to me, and shared the Blood from the chalice between Jacinta and Francisco, saying as he did so: ‘Take and drink of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men! Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.’ Once again, he prostrated on the ground and repeated with us, three times more, the same prayer […]”

 

  1. HOW IS THE EUCHARISTIC ADORATION OF THE SIX KOWTOWS PRACTICED?

This practice consists only of a different way of worshiping Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist, but it is not new, since, as we have pointed out already, the posture of prostrating is ancient – it comes from the Judeo-Christian tradition, having a vast foundation in both the Old and New Testaments.

It begins with a bodily posture of great respect and decorum before the Blessed Sacrament of the altar, to accompany Jesus, whom we have abandoned in almost all the tabernacles in the world. We make the Sign of the Cross and invoke the Holy Spirit, also praying a Catholic prayer such as the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary, or another similar one and, if possible, we sing a hymn of Eucharistic adoration. At this moment we place at the feet of Our Lord Jesus Christ our personal, family, ecclesiastical and spiritual intentions, to which we must add the necessary blessing, gratitude, the offering of reparation and redress, praise, love and adoration of God. We also include the petition for the holy Catholic Church, especially for the pope, the bishops, and the priests, beloved children of God. The Blessed Virgin has also recommended two special intentions:

 

  1. World peace and that, to achieve it, God touches the hearts of the rulers of all countries; and
  2. Spiritual liberation, the conversion of sinners, the reconciliation of their children, and the salvation of all souls. This practice consists of six main prayers, in this order:
  1. God the Father, 2. God the Son, 3. God the Holy Spirit, 4. The Body and Blood of Jesus, 5. The Five Holy Wounds of Jesus, and 6. The Immaculate Heart of Mary and for Her triumph. The first five prayers are for worship and the last one is for veneration. As it is a preferably communal adoration, in each kowtow the people present take turns to pray aloud, freely and spontaneously, their prayers in adoration of God, or in veneration of the Virgin, in the form of a confident, humble dialogue, respectful and loving, in very simple words.

Also, on some occasions we practice silent and individual worship. Only during the prayers of each kowtow do we recommend placing our face on the ground. It is recommended that each of these prayers be of a maximum of five minutes and that, at the end of each one, to repeat the words of the Angel of Peace to the little shepherds of Fatima: “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love you! I beg pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love you!” We immediately ask God for religious vocations with these words: “And I pray for the pope and the bishops, and for the increase, perseverance, and sanctification of the pope, bishops, priests, religious, and seminarians.” We end the prayer of each kowtow with the phrase of Saint Louis Grignon de Montfort, which Pope Saint John Paul II took as his pontifical motto: “Totus tuus,” or simply “All yours.”

 

  1. IS THE EUCHARISTIC ADORATION OF THE SIX KOWTOWS CATHOLIC?

Some people have objected to the Eucharistic worship of The Six Kowtows because the face-to-ground body position is similar to the prostration practiced by devotees of other religions, especially Islam. Others inquire if we are non-Catholic Christians, or New Age, or some strange sect. And for this reason, in good faith they have asked us: is this Eucharistic adoration Catholic? Is prostration on the ground Catholic? Faced with such uncertainty, we make the following observations:

 

a, Face-to-ground prostration belongs to the Judeo-Christian tradition, in which it has been practiced since time immemorial. This is how the Holy Scriptures testify. For example, in chapter 17 of the Book of Genesis it is recorded that Abraham fell, face down, to the ground when he realized the presence of God. Historians estimate that Abraham lived about 4,000 years ago.

b. In the Holy Bible there are about 172 passages that make direct references to prostrating, face to the ground in the presence of God. And there are other passages, but since they are prostrations before men, we have not taken them into account for the purposes of this essay.

c. Muslims took face-to-ground prostration from the Judeo-Christian tradition, and began to practice it from the foundation of Islam by Muhammad, which occurred in the year 630 after the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ to earth. This means that they began to practice it several centuries after the Jews and the Christians. A radical note of the Muslim prostration is that they practice it at certain times of the day, wherever they are and orienting themselves in the direction of Mecca, while we Catholics prostrate ourselves primarily in our churches or adoration chapels, in processions, and in Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. We do this because the only true God is physically present – real, alive, and loving in the Holy Eucharist. Muslims do not know. Other religions and sects do not know. The world does not know. We do. Therefore, it is our inescapable and urgent duty to proclaim to them and invite them to come to the holy Catholic Church, the only religion on earth instituted by God Himself. This is what the Second Vatican Council reminds us when it affirms in number 16 of the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium that: “[…] the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Muslims, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind.”

d. In the Eucharistic adoration of The Six Kowtows we adore Jesus in the Sacrament, whose real and substantial presence has been recognized by the Holy Catholic Church since its earliest times. We worship only God. We adore Him in His Eucharistic presence. In Jesus, God the Son – with Him, in Him, and in His divinity – we adore God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. We worship Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. We worship Jesus crucified, because on the cross He consummated the supreme, bloody sacrifice for the salvation of our souls. We worship the risen Jesus for our salvation and that of souls. And we venerate, with the cult of hyperdulia, the Immaculate Heart of our Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary, who is spiritually and inseparably united to Jesus in the Eucharist, just as She was at His crucifixion and death.

Because of the simplicity of the pious language and the humility of the worship, some have said that this form of Eucharistic worship is a simple, pietistic devotion with little or no theological foundation. However, the first foundation of Eucharistic worship is the real, divine presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the consecrated Host. In it is Jesus, true God and true man, who deserves our adoration and raises it up through the Holy Spirit. Is there a need for another theological foundation? So it is not based on pure sentiment or pious sentimentality, but on faith.

e. Eucharistic adoration is based exclusively on faith, on the Mystery of faith (Mysterium fidei) that complements the defect of the senses (“praestet fides supplementum sensuum defectui” – Saint Thomas Aquinas in the Pange, lingua).

f.  As we adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar, we go to the place where He is: to the Catholic church to prostrate ourselves before His Real Presence in the tabernacle or in the monstrance when Our Lord Jesus Christ is sacramentally exposed or when He walks joyfully with His people in procession.

g. Only in the case of the impossibility of going to the Catholic church to perform worship, as is the case with the current coronavirus pandemic, we recommend that worship be done in our homes. In these cases we advise facing a Catholic image, blessed by a priest, and that worshipers necessarily remember that we do not worship images, but only worship God, who at that moment is only represented by that image.

h. In any case of promotion and invitation in a parish for the realization of adoration, we go to the competent parish authorities and, if possible, we also visit the Ordinary of the place, in order to request the necessary permission, and always submitting your decision. In places where the bishop or the parish priest do not authorize, we do not carry out this form of community worship. When they allow it, we are subject to their instructions and we endeavor, as far as possible, to make kowtows coincide with Holy Hours, processions, Eucharistic vigils, or other activities of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. We generally ask the pastor to allow us one hour a week to perform this worship, even if the parish has a perpetual adoration chapel.

i. We always start by making the Sign of the Cross. We pray the Catholic prayers, we sing Catholic songs, we observe the greatest decorum out of respect and love for Our Lord, we evangelize about the Real Presence of Jesus in the Sacrament, we invite to Confession, to Holy Mass, Communion, and frequenting the sacraments. Finally, we invite all those who want to listen to us to convert, repent, and return to the arms of the Father and ask for forgiveness. In each parish we offer ourselves to collaborate in the way that the parish authority needs it most.

j. We attach greater importance to the Eucharistic celebration than to adoration because the latter is a necessary continuity of the former.

k. We sing Catholic hymns appropriate for Eucharistic adoration, following the recommendation contained in numbers 90 and 95 of the ritual book, Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass. Indeed, these numbers of the ritual urge us to accompany with sacred songs to practice the cult of the sacrament in a more noble way, and to promote the spiritual life.

l. The prostration on the ground is the corporal posture that the Holy Church commands in some moments of the liturgical rites of the sacramental ordination of deacons, priests and bishops (cf. n. 127 of the Rite of Ordination).

m.Prostration on the ground is recommended for all celebrating priests throughout the world at the beginning of the Good Friday liturgy.

n.We have many examples of saints, both ancient and modern, who bequeathed us the testimony of praying prostrate on the ground. The episodes in the life of Saint Thomas Aquinas are famous; in his Dominican community, he was “the first to get up at night, and he was going to prostrate himself before the Blessed Sacrament … his favorite devotion.”

Other famous saints who prostrated themselves in prayer and adoration were Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Saint Teresa of Jesus, Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, Saint Paul of the Cross, the Cure d’Ars, Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Saint Paschal Baylon, Saint Margaret of Hungary, Saint John of God, Saint Josemaría Escrivá, Saint John Paul II, and Saint Teresa of Calcutta, just to give a few examples. It is worth remembering here the prayer that Pope Francis recently prostrated before the Blessed Sacrament, which was broadcast live to the whole world.

o. In the same way, there are innumerable institutions of our holy Catholic Church in which prostrations are practiced, both in daily periods as an ordinary means of praying, as well as in other solemn moments in the lives of these institutions. Of the former, we can cite as an example the faithful of the Personal Prelature, Opus Dei, who prostrate themselves to kiss the ground at least two times a day; of the latter, we can point out that the norms of many religious orders and congregations establish that their members must prostrate with their faces to the ground for the imposition of the religious habit, for the profession of vows, to receive some solemn blessings from their superiors, and also as an extraordinary form of penance.

p. And finally, we leave you with the image that face-to-the-ground prostration was the bodily position adopted by Our Lord Jesus Christ during His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane the night He was imprisoned after the Last Supper. There is proof of this in two biblical quotations: 1. “And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him” (Mk. 14,35); and 2. “And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Mt. 26,39). So, we ask ourselves: how can the physical position that God the Son adopts to address God the Father be non-Catholic? As a corollary to this point, we can conclude that the Eucharistic adoration of kowtows in no way contradicts the doctrine of the Catholic faith. Some people have asked me: “Why are you prostrating?” And my answer is always: “In the Eucharist, Jesus Christ, my God and Lord, is really present. Why cannot I bow down to worship Him? Perhaps, in the words of Saint Augustine, “Does the soul love something more ardently than the truth?” (n. 2 SC).

 

  1. DESIRABLE SPIRITUAL FRUITS

a. Personal fruits: The Holy Church recognizes in general terms that Eucharistic adoration produces five great spiritual fruits in the worshipers of the Blessed Sacrament:

  1. Sanctification: as an effect of having an enjoyable time at the feet of Jesus in the Sacrament, the soul feels such a need to love Him that one of his greatest experiences is the aspiration to holiness.
    2. Reparation and redress: to the extent that the worshiper enjoys spiritual intimacy with his Savior, he desires the purgation of his sins, the repair of others’ sins, and to make amends for so much sin, desecration, sacrilege, lack of love, mockery, and indifference to others that offends the Holy Eucharist.
    3. Transformation: the worshiper must allow the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist to transform his heart and radically change his life in meekness and humility. Jesus is transfiguring us in Him: “learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart” (Mt. 11,29).
    4. Salvation: another sublime mission of adoration of the Sacrament of Love is that it should not only help in the salvation of the soul of the worshiper, but also the prayer addressed to the one and true God should also serve as an instrument of intercession for the conversion and salvation of other souls.
    5. Restoration: to worship Jesus is to know the infinite love that He has for each one of us. This should serve to heal our wounds, free us from the slavery of sin and the idolatries of the world, change us internally, and restore dignity lost by selfishness.

b. Parish fruits: Some of the priests who have allowed the Eucharistic adoration of kowtows to be carried out periodically in their parishes bear witness, as do many of their parishioners, to the fact that, in addition to preserving the traditional doctrine of the Holy Church, they also obtain fruits impressive externalities, which have served to recover Catholic identity, through its periodic practice. Among these spiritual fruits we can cite the following:

 

  1. Evangelization/catechesis on the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist
    2. Significant increase in confessions, especially among people who had been away from the Church for several years
    3. Manifestation in some young people of the desire to become priests
    4. Interest on the part of clergy and laity to better form themselves about the Eucharist and the cult of adoration of this Blessed Sacrament
    5. Increase in the fervor of the membership
    6. Increase in attendance and in frequency of the sacraments
    7. Increase in prayer for other religions to recognize that only in the Catholic Church can true ecumenism occur, given the Real Presence of the one God, Creator of all things, in the Holy Eucharist. Only in this way would the desire of man to have a single flock with a single shepherd be possible (cf. Jn 10,16).
    8. Increase in prayer for the salvation of all souls (“salus animarum”), the sole purpose of the Church founded by our Lord Jesus Christ, who ardently desires to tear them out of the clutches of Satan, especially in this time of so much confusion in the world.
  1. PASTORAL PROPOSAL TO PARISHES

We are one of the ecclesial groups that, together with the parishes, want to promote Eucharistic adoration, preferably communal adoration. Indeed, those of us who practice and make this devotion known simply fulfill the ardent recommendation (n. 67) of Pope Benedict XVI who, in his Encyclical Letter Sacramentum Caritatis (n. 68), invites the faithful to personally find time for prayer before the Blessed Sacrament of the altar, and asks parishes and other ecclesial groups to promote times of community adoration.

Our proposal regarding parish pastoral activity is to awaken and increase Eucharistic faith in believers, promote communal Eucharistic adoration, preserve the dignity of the acts of latreutic worship of Jesus the Sacrament, encourage effective solidarity that, starting first from the Eucharistic celebration and then going through Eucharistic adoration to reach out to the poorest.

Finally, we want to put in hearts the words of the sacred writer who, in various biblical passages, expressed his prophetic desire that the only true God be worshiped by His children, prostrate in all the corners of the earth (cf. Ps. 72,11, Ps. 89,6, App. 14.5). Consequently, we express our deepest desire that the devotion of the Eucharistic adoration of The Six Kowtows reach all the corners of the earth so that Our Lord Jesus Christ may be loved, praised and adored in His living, real and loving presence in the Holy Eucharist, for the greater glory of God, for the conversion of sinners, and for the salvation of souls.

 

 

 

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JESUS CHRIST AT EMMAUS FOUNDATION:

Jesus Christ at Emmaus Foundation
is a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization in the United States (and in Canada [Chapter C-38] under the legally registered name “The Foundation Jesus Christ Emmaus” – Canadian Registration No. 1174954967). Support heaven’s efforts! No gift too small. Please contact us for more information at nrtte@mail.com.
December 2020
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