The Lord’s Prayer During Mass: Should We Hold Hands? Or Raise Them in the Air?
#1
I very rarely go to the OF, but when I do these practices are some of the most jarring to me...

From Aleteia:

Quote:The practice of holding hands while praying the Our Father comes from the Protestant world. The reason is that Protestants do not have the Real Presence of Christ; that is to say, they do not have real and valid sacramental Communion that joins them among themselves and with God. Therefore, they turn to the gesture of holding hands as a moment of communion in community prayer.

During the Mass, we have two important moments: the Consecration and Communion. There – during the Mass – is where we find our unity; that is where we join ourselves to Christ and in Christ, through the common priesthood of the faithful. Holding hands is obviously a distraction from that. We as Catholics are united by receiving Holy Communion, not by holding hands.

There is nothing in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal that indicates that we should hold hands. During the Mass, every gesture is regulated by the Church and its rubrics.

This is why there are particular moments during the Mass when we kneel, parts when we stand, parts where we sit, etc. – and nowhere in the rubrics does it say that we have to hold hands when we pray the Our Father.

Therefore, we should avoid this practice during the celebration of Mass. Now, if someone wants to do it, let them do it (as an exception) with someone they know very well, without forcing anyone to do it, without making anyone uncomfortable and without trying to convert this practice into a liturgical norm for everyone.

We have to remember that not everyone wants to hold the hand of the person next to them, and trying to impose it on them creates a moment of discomfort to the detriment of prayer, piety and recollection.

(Community prayer outside of Mass is a totally different question; when praying outside of Mass, there is no liturgical reason why not to hold someone’s hand, since it can be a very moving and symbolic gesture.)

This, like other attitudes, is nothing but an exaltation of feelings. Being in communion with someone doesn’t depend so much on holding their hand when praying the Our Father, as on having gone to Confession, being in a state of grace, and, above all, being prepared for the Eucharist.

If the gesture of holding hands were necessary, important or appropriate for the whole Church, the bishops or episcopal conferences would already have sent a petition to Rome long ago asking to institute this practice. They haven’t done so, nor do I think they ever will.

Another thing that you see a lot when praying the Lord’s Prayer is that people raise their hands like the priest does, which isn’t correct either. During Mass, lay people should not make gestures that are reserved for the priest, just as they should not say the words or prayers of the priest, confusing common priesthood with ministerial sacrifice.

Only priests extend their hands, and it is best that the faithful stay as they are or join their own hands in prayer, because internal faith, which God sees, is what matters.

The purpose of the priest’s external gestures during Holy Mass – above all – is that the faithful see that the priest is the person designated to intercede for them.

Extending one’s arms in prayer was already a custom in the early Church, but in the context of a prayer circle, or private prayer, or some other non-liturgical event, not during Mass.

The gestures during Mass are precise, both for the priest and for the faithful; each person does what corresponds to him or her, and the faithful should not copy the priests. The gestures of the faithful during Mass are their responses, their singing, and their positions.

Both holding someone’s hand and lifting up one’s hands when praying the Lord’s Prayer are, in the case of the faithful, non-liturgical practices; even though they are not explicitly prohibited in the missal, they are not appropriate for a healthy Liturgy.

The faithful should not repeat in their words or actions what the priest does or says, since the priest’s role is to preside the liturgical assembly.
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#2
What a very ironic article. Two things come out at me immediately. As for the first thing: it is the final line that lends the sense of irony for me:

Quote:The faithful should not repeat in their words or actions what the priest does or says, since the priest’s role is to preside the liturgical assembly.

Calling the congregants the "Liturgical Assembly" is precisely the mindset which led directly to the hands in the pews imitating the hands at the altar. It is the bankrupt, Protestant image of the liturgy which creates a merely cozy or merely family atmosphere in the worship of God, leading to this abuse. At the end, the writer condones the very cause which leads to the effect he condemns. It's a sacrifice before it's an assembly.

As for the second thing: it's rather funny than the ancient prayer posture of the "Orans" has become only priestly. In my opinion, every Christian ought, at all prayer times, to pray with hands raised in front of them, palms up, like the priest or like a desert father. That is a sign of the Body of Christ: standing and interceding for the whole world before God. Isn't it funny how I'm being conservative and liberal at the same time?

Quote:The gestures during Mass are precise, both for the priest and for the faithful; each person does what corresponds to him or her, and the faithful should not copy the priests. The gestures of the faithful during Mass are their responses, their singing, and their positions.

I'm confused. Responding, singing, and "positioning" are not gestures. This obsession with "who does what", and disallowing those who "aren't supposed to do X" from doing X... it all smacks of a bit of pettiness. What, laity can't raise their hands to pray, like all the psalms say? Lifting up of the hands to God? Only the priest can do that in Mass? Who cares about that bubblesoap?

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#3
Is holding hands during the Our Father something Protestants actually do? As someone pointed out in another thread, a lot of the stuff we complain about being Protestant is actually just goofy stuff Catholics unfortunately made up.... :doh:

Thankfully, I haven't seen this done at an NO Mass in ages (obviously its not done in the TLM).  I remember it got big for a little bit in the parish I grew up at (which was otherwise pretty unobjectionable liturgically), but it is no longer done when I go back and visit.

I still see the Orans, however.  I read an article on that some time back that made the good point that  in the liturgy it signifies the priest interceding for the people and at the Our Father, the priest is required to use that posture while the deacon is required to NOT use it.  Therefore, logically, the people shouldn't either.

What's funny is it's the NO that has actual rubrics for the people; the TLM has none.  But the goofy stuff or just general neglect/irreverence happens (contrary to or outside the rubrics) at the NOM.  For example, the NOM says all are to bow their heads when the three Divine Persons are named together and at the names of Jesus, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of the Saint in whose honor Mass is being celebrated. Yet, I have never seen any clergyman and rarely noticed any lay person doing so at the NOM, yet almost all do it for the TLM.  :shrug:
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#4
(07-07-2015, 03:04 PM)SaintSebastian Wrote: Is holding hands during the Our Father something Protestants actually do? As someone pointed out in another thread, a lot of the stuff we complain about being Protestant is actually just goofy stuff Catholics unfortunately made up.... :doh:

I was referring to the general atmosphere of a Protestant service, rather than that this specific practice is Protestant. What I meant is that the Protestant focus is on the assembly, the coming-together, the gathering, to pray to the Lord whose covenant Christians enter by faith, forming the new testament of saving grace, in a familial atmosphere. The Catholic concept of Mass is that we are gathered there by the Holy Spirit to receive the literal, sacrificed Body and Blood of Christ, worshiping in spirit and in truth. Big difference in belief, leading to big difference in atmosphere.

Quote:Thankfully, I haven't seen this done at an NO Mass in ages (obviously its not done in the TLM).  I remember it got big for a little bit in the parish I grew up at (which was otherwise pretty unobjectionable liturgically), but it is no longer done when I go back and visit.

I've not seen it in many parishes here, lately, either. Only one or two people do it now. I think it just got old.  :LOL:

Quote:I still see the Orans, however.  I read an article on that some time back that made the good point that  in the liturgy it signifies the priest interceding for the people and at the Our Father, the priest is required to use that posture while the deacon is required to NOT use it.  Therefore, logically, the people shouldn't either.

What's funny is it's the NO that has actual rubrics for the people; the TLM has none.  But the goofy stuff or just general neglect/irreverence happens (contrary to or outside the rubrics) at the NOM.  For example, the NOM says all are to bow their heads when the three Divine Persons are named together and at the names of Jesus, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of the Saint in whose honor Mass is being celebrated. Yet, I have never seen any clergyman and rarely noticed any lay person doing so at the NOM, yet almost all do it for the TLM.  :shrug:

I say that either everyone prays Orans throughout the liturgy or only the priest does. The former option is really only for oriental and orthodox Christians, though. We in the West long ago lost the sense of our own dignity in prayer before God as adopted sons. We just have to kneel as if in penance, clasp those hands as if begging, and make no image of joy graven on our faces.  :blush: Of course, if we all stood during the Mass everyone would think we were trying to be the priest... oh, bloody associations!

That's funny, though about the OF rubrics vs. EF lack of rubrics! Interesting that legislation achieves nothing, while tradition has achieved what is not set down in writing.
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#5
I didn't know OF had lay rubrics :( Dang it, what does it say about right after the Our Father? Sometimes I like to kneel to avoid all the fuss.

Orans is absolutely omnipresent here. A couple of people even do it at the EF.
Last Friday when I went to an OF Mass there were two ladies that didn't pray the Pater in the Orans position. And I suspect more people didn't do it, but these were in front of me so I noticed. So I suppose there are NOers who have some sense.

I must admit I feel a bit silly praying in Orans. I only tried it once, right at the beginning of my reversion.
Maybe is it pride?
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#6
Personally I don't care one way or another whether people hold hands or raise them in the orans posture during the Our Father. On the times I can get to Mass I usually sit way in the back and keep my eyes closed and my attention on praying the Jesus Prayer. What bothers me is when there is a special blessing ( like for newly weds, graduates et. al.) and laymen raise their hands in blessing as the priest reads the blessing. 


People pray how they want to I guess. I'd rather choose my battles and fight something like altar girls or EHMC's than the position of someone's hands during the Our Father but maybe I'm missing something.
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#7
(07-07-2015, 03:50 PM)Renatus Frater Wrote: I didn't know OF had lay rubrics :( Dang it, what does it say about right after the Our Father? Sometimes I like to kneel to avoid all the fuss.

The OF rubrics in the Order of Mass itself say:

124. After the chalice and paten have been set down, the Priest, with hands joined, says:
"At the Savior’s command and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say:"
125. He extends his hands and, together with the people, continues:
"Our Father..."

Since OF-practicing priests often play fast-and-loose with the rubrics and words, it wouldn't be surprising if they interpreted N. 125 as "Together with the people, he extends his hands, and continues:" --- of course, most places where I saw the "Our Father Orans" going on seemed to do it spontaneously, as priest-mimicry, not by any sort of instruction.

If we're going to complain about the "clericailizing of the laity", though, we better be careful. Lots of stuff happens that we don't realize. At every Mass I've been to, literally everyone signs their forehead, lips, and hearts at the "A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to X", whereas the rubric only really says that the one who is proclaiming the Gospel makes this gesture.

I think the main reason so many confused laity started adopting clerical gestures in the wake of Vatican II was the fact that the Mass changed its order, language, and orientation. For the first time, people could more clearly see what clergy were doing at ritual moments. They just played monkey-see, monkey-do.

Quote:Orans is absolutely omnipresent here. A couple of people even do it at the EF.
Last Friday when I went to an OF Mass there were two ladies that didn't pray the Pater in the Orans position. And I suspect more people didn't do it, but these were in front of me so I noticed. So I suppose there are NOers who have some sense.

As a NO-goer/server/thurifer, I never put my hands in any ostentatious position. I've been trained to completely disappear and be invisible. That means no bowing to the altar every time you pass by, no genuflecting to the tabernacle when you pass by, and no holding hands in any prayer position except hands clasped, close to the brest (not pointing upward and outward). This has become a more normative position at most Masses for the  laity, I find. It's quite a sea-change from 30 years ago - or even 5.

There seem to be two different orans positions. The first is the ancient one, which the Catacombs show quite frequently: both arms literally extended outward, like wings on the flanks of the praying person. The second one seems to be later: consisting of holding your two hands quite close in front of your face, as if you are pressing the air together before your eyes. Priests in the TLM seem to be trained to hold their orans in the second manner. It is the more subdued one. Priests "trained" in the OF seem to go all over the place with the position of their arms, depending on their personality/mood/feelings.

Quote:I must admit I feel a bit silly praying in Orans. I only tried it once, right at the beginning of my reversion.
Maybe is it pride?

This Romanian hermit explains about a hermit-nun living in the forest, who "prays with her hands raised to the sky, like this..." and shows the interviewer what he means. I love the brief orans gesture that he makes. It is subdued and fervent, reminding one of the attitude of the apostles in those "Communion of the Apostles"/mystical supper icons.



With formerbuddhist, I tend to just keep my eyes closed and focus on the prayers.
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#8
Good stuff this video.

But if you serve at the altar you must genuflect before the altar when you pass it, otherwise you are not properly teaching the people at the nave that Christ is really there (or is represented by the altar, if it doesn't have the Eucharist above it).

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#9
(07-07-2015, 03:58 PM)formerbuddhist Wrote: Personally I don't care one way or another whether people hold hands or raise them in the orans posture during the Our Father. On the times I can get to Mass I usually sit way in the back and keep my eyes closed and my attention on praying the Jesus Prayer. What bothers me is when there is a special blessing ( like for newly weds, graduates et. al.) and laymen raise their hands in blessing as the priest reads the blessing. 


People pray how they want to I guess. I'd rather choose my battles and fight something like altar girls or EHMC's than the position of someone's hands during the Our Father but maybe I'm missing something.

I think that it may be a difference in stations of life.  As a father of children whose ages run the gambit from almost old enough to post here on FE to not long out of training pants, I tend to run interference (kindly, I hope) with my children and the invariably grandparent-aged Charismatic type who wants to do the hand holding.  I've been very careful to instill in my children the truth of the real presence and the hand holding/arm waving/hand pumping that happens after the consecration is confusing to them (especially the youngest).

Personally, if I had to attend the OF on a regular basis and I didn't have other obligations, I'd be doing something very similar to what you've described...
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#10
(07-07-2015, 03:58 PM)formerbuddhist Wrote: What bothers me is when there is a special blessing ( like for newly weds, graduates et. al.) and laymen raise their hands in blessing as the priest reads the blessing. 

Yeah, I play the role of August Landmesser when that happens.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/August_Landmesser
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