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John Michael Talbot
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"Come to the Quiet"
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Tuesday, September 14, 2021

The Orans Position Is Reserved For The Priest


The laity are not to assume the orans position during Holy Mass. I know this will make some people unhappy, but I think there is good reason for following this instruction. St. John Paul II stated, “…the particular gift of each of the Church’s members must be wisely and carefully acknowledged, safeguarded, promoted, discerned and co-ordinated, without confusing roles, functions, or theological and canonical status.”

While there are many opportunities to individualize our personal experience during the Mass, there are some aspects that should not be individualized because they can confuse people, distract people or otherwise diminish the beauty and power of the liturgy which has been around for 2000 years.

During the Our Father, the priest is standing in persona Christi, in the orans posture, speaking to God on our behalf. Prior to Vatican II, this was a prayer reserved solely to the priest. Since Vatican II, we are instructed to pray with the priest, but in words only, not by mirroring his gestures. 


1 comment:

  1. The Our Father takes place during the Liturgy of the Eucharist. This time of prayer and offering is directed to God (as is the entire Mass, but more specifically during the Liturgy of the Eucharist). As it is directed toward God, the extending and/or holding of hands creates a horizontal emphasis on the prayer, as opposed to the vertical emphasis that it demands. Many people who prefer hand holding or the Orans Posture argue that the Our Fatheris a community prayer, and as such holding and/or extending hands is a visible sign of that community. However, the Our Father is a community prayer, not because we hold or extend our hands, but because we pray it together as the Body of Christ.

    On September 3, 1958 the Sacred Congregation for Rites issued a document titled De musica sacra et sacra liturgia (Instruction on Sacred Music and Sacred Liturgy). This document stated, “Since the Pater Noster is a fitting, and ancient prayer of preparation for Communion, the entire congregation may recite this prayer in unison with the priest in low Masses; the Amen at the end is to be said by all” (DM Prayers and Hymns § 32)