Persons not of the Catholic faith, but who attend Catholic services occasionally for weddings, funerals, etc., are either amused or confused by what seems rather frequent movements by the congregation. They sit, they stand, they kneel, they sit, they stand, they kneel!! What is going on?
It is simply a question of symbolism. We are all used to physical symbols – the kiss, the bow, the clenched fist, etc. Well, Catholics exercise certain symbols by the entire congregation acting as one and the rules are really quite simple.
We come to Mass in order to together worship our Heavenly Father as a community. The traditional worshiping symbol has always been standing in awe in the Divine Presence except:
• When we are in a passive situation, such as listening to Sacred Scripture, taking up the collection or meditation after Communion- we SIT.
• When we are conscious of the Real Presence of Jesus, which is the canon of the Mass, then we KNEEL.
• When we are taking heavenly food for our journey towards eternal life, then we STAND and PROCESS, journeying forward as a united community to receive the Eucharist.
The effect of those simple rules, however, does seem to have us moving around a lot, but who wants to sit stock still for a whole hour so…
Sit, stand, kneel, march!