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A recent article in CathNews quoted a Vatican Official as saying, “Catholics need to know what their words and gestures at Mass signify and evoke “. Fr Reyes said that many gestures performed during Mass have a deep spiritual meaning that is often lost on people. As an example, he cited how every Mass begins and ends with the celebrating priest kissing the altar, which conveys how the Mass is the act of entering into a loving relationship with God.

Why do we strike our breast three times through the Confiteor? In Luke 18, we meet a very pious Pharisee who congratulates God on being so fortunate as to have him as a most worthy servant. And then there is a publican, a tax collector, who strikes his breast as he comes before the Lord saying “Lord be merciful to me, a sinner.” In striking our breast, we distance ourselves from the Pharisee and stand, or rather bow, with the publican, acknowledging our unworthiness before the awesome majesty and perfect holiness of the living God. It is not about self-hatred but about humility. And humility means getting in touch with reality – as we begin the liturgy, we pause to recall that we don’t deserve to be there. We are all publicans and prodigals who a loving Father embraces and welcomes not because of our virtues but in spite of our sins. (Source: Crossroads Initiative)


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