"Un Ti Morceau"

"A Little Something," mini-lessons and reflections by our pastor, Father Paul Counce

Posture and Mood

Published June 12, 2016 by Fr. Paul Counce

This ti morceau, like the last two, is focusing on the subject of “helps” to prayer. We’ve mentioned the importance of silence, and how things as simple as a candle can help our spiritual focus when we stop to pray.

 Another important thing to take note of is what we broadly can call our postures for prayer. Just as in our worship – shared prayer, usually in church, such as Mass – whether we stand or kneel or sit or move is important, so too in our private prayer is this a crucial thing to keep in mind.

But before deciding what posture to assume, call to mind two things, please. First of all, think of what kind of prayer you’ll be engaged in. And then, second, consider your own mood and readiness to pray.

Examples are the best way to make this kind of thing clear. If you are principally going to be doing prayer of adoration, then kneeling is best: it’s the quintessential posture of submission before God the Almighty! Kneeling is also most appropriate when asking God’s forgiveness, since it’s an indicator of submission and humility.

Praise, on the other hand, is best reflected by eagerly standing at attention! And reflection, meditation and contemplation, such as occurs during the recitation of the rosary, is often best approached while seated. In fact, if one is searching the Scriptures or working out one’s response to the call of God – or making sure we’ve prayed for everyone who’s asked our prayers – using a pad and paper whilst sitting at a table can be best!

But one’s subjective mood is also a factor. If I’m too exhausted to sit or kneel to pray lest I fall asleep, then standing is good for any form of prayer. But if wide-awake and eager to be purposeful in prayer, especially in fulfilling the Liturgy of the Hours, I can often make use of my recliner. Some of my best prayer has taken place while walking or even driving – although this last rarely happens in the middle of Baton Rouge traffic!

So pray! Just not always in the same position, and not always in the same way!

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