Saturday, June 16, 2007

Striking the Right Chord

Two men went up into the temple to pray: the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee standing, prayed thus with himself: O God, I give thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also is this publican. I fast twice in a week: I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not so much as lift up his eyes towards heaven; but struck his breast, saying: O god, be merciful to me a sinner. I say to you, this man went down into his house justified rather that the other: because every one that exalteth himself, shall be humbled: and he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted.

Luke 18:10-14

I remember when I first started attending the Latin Mass and observed someone striking their breast. I had never seen that before and was impressed by such a pious example.

According to Fisheaters the striking of the breast can occur at the following times:

Some Catholics strike their breast at the words "forgive us our trespasses" made formally during the Confiteor, the Nobis Quoque Peccatoribus, the Agnus Dei, and the Domine, Non Sum Dignus at the Mass, and informally any time to express regret.)

The striking of the breast is also done (three times) during the "Hail, Holy Queen" at the words, "Oh clement, oh loving, oh sweet Virgin Mary" and at the Angelus when the words, "And the Word was made Flesh, and Dwelt among us."

This custom not be peculiar to the Latin Mass but could be done (and should be) by any Catholic not because it makes us think better of ourselves but because it reminds us that we are sinners and should be pained at the thought of our sins.

Even if you do not have the opportunity to attend the Latin Mass do not be afraid claim the traditions that are rightfully yours. These are the traditions that will aid in your spiritual development and be an example to your children and other Catholics.


Leo said...

Thanks for this bit of information.

Edward said...

True, true, Mary.
Probably the single greatest loss in the past half century or so: the loss of those little traditions and habits which "marked" us as Roman Catholics.

And there's one right there, referring to ourselves as ROMAN Catholics and not just 'Catholics'.
Or always referring to Jesus (and remembering to bow the head at the mention of the Holy Name) as 'Our Lord', or 'Our Blessed Lord' and not 'the Lord' as the Protestants do.
And actually genuflecting in the Creed as well as in the Angelus at the recalling of the Incarnation.
And stopping whatever you're doing or saying upon hearing the Angelus bell ring (and we are lucky enough to live in a very ROMAN Catholic area, where all the churches count the proper hours for it).

Gotta stop.
The list goes on and on and on.
Good to communicate with some other ROMAN Catholic about these things! Thanks!

Laurie said...

It's in the rubrics for the Novus Ordo (See "I confess to Almighty God..." in the missalette.) and I have personally heard instruction on it from the ambo at a Sunday Mass.

Anonymous said...

We strike our breast 3 times during the Confiteor but not at the point you said. It is at the "...mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.." meaning my fault, my fault, my own grievous faults.

We also genuflect during the last Gospel when the priest gets to the part that says...Et Verbum caro factum est (And the Word was made flesh)

When the priest presents the consecrated host to the congregation and says, "Domino Non Sum Dignus....." we also strike our breast. He'll say this 3 times and at each Domino we strike our breast.

And there are so many more...

You go down on your right knee to genuflect. For a more solemn genuflect, you go down on both knees.

surgite et coffeam olfacite said...

Of course you've seen it before, we always did during the family Rosary and elevation of the Host as kids at the Novus Ordo maybe you just missed it.