Genuflecting

Liturgy We Live by Dr. Gil Haas

Our cathedral home focuses our attention on Christʼs presence. The altar itself symbolizes Christ, and the lit sanctuary lamp hanging from the ceiling reminds us of Christʼs sacramental body and blood reserved in the tabernacle above the altar (by tradition, the sacrament was reserved for the sick or others who for “weighty cause” could not be present at communion). To honor this presence, many communicants perform a reverence when entering or leaving their pew, although no action is required or even suggested by the Book of Common Prayer. If the reserved sacrament is not present, a simple bow to the altar and cross has been suggested by tradition. A simple bow is performed by bending the head only. Tradition has also suggested that in the presence of the reserved sacrament, a genuflection may be performed upon entering or leaving your pew. A genuflection is a accomplished by touching the ground with the right knee at the place where the right foot was and rising upright at once without bending the head or body. During the Renaissance, a genuflection to oneʼs monarch was accomplished by genuflecting on the left knee.