Genuflecting

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patricia

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This may sound like a dumb question but I am new to Catholicism and so I ask you to bear patiently with me.

How does one genuflect? What is the purpose of it? When should it be done? Does one cross oneself at the same time?

I am afraid of trying it without explanation as I do not want to fall or look foolish.

Any explanations would be helpful. Thank you. :confused:
 
Welcome to the Church!

The purpose of genuflection is to show reverence to our Lord Jesus Christ, so it is done whenever one comes into the presence (or passes in front of) the Holy Eucharist, unless one is physically incapacitated… in that event one could make a less athletic sign of reverence such as bowing.

The traditional method is to descend to the ground on the right knee while making the sign of the cross with the right hand. If you are not familiar with this there would be no harm in practicing in private until you have mastered it. Monks used to genuflect 100s of times as a form of penance.
 
BTW, the GIRM says:
  1. A genuflection, made by bending the right knee to the ground, signifies adoration, and therefore it is reserved for the Most Blessed Sacrament, as well as for the Holy Cross from the solemn adoration during the liturgical celebration on Good Friday until the beginning of the Easter Vigil.
If you ever meet a pope, cardinal, or other royalty, or if you are formal enough to genuflect when meeting a bishop, do so on your left knee. 👍

Also: During Eucharistic exposition, a solemn genuflection (down to one knee, adding the other in a full kneeling position, brief pause, then back up on your feet) is merited.
(exceptions made, of course, for those physically incapable of genuflecting on one side or the other)
 
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tee_eff_em:
Also: During Eucharistic exposition, a solemn genuflection (down to one knee, adding the other in a full kneeling position, brief pause, then back up on your feet) is merited.
(exceptions made, of course, for those physically incapable of genuflecting on one side or the other)
Actually, the document “Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass” has the following instruction under “Regulations For Exposition”:

#84–“Genuflection in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, whether reserved in the tabernacle or exposed for public adoration, is on one knee.”
 
Thank you for all your replies.

My concern is that I will fall while genuflecting. I don’t have enough strength in my legs and so if I go down on one knee as far as the floor I will need help to get back up. Is it okay to just go down halfway or do you have a better suggestion?

I do not want to show a lack of reverence.
 
Usually Catholics genuflect when entering and leaving the pews. Hold on to the end of the pew with one hand. That will prevent you from going over.

The act of genuflection actually does not customarily include the sign of the cross. I can’t remember ever seeing anyone make the sign of the cross while genuflecting at the end of a pew.

Genuflection is called for when passing in front of the tabernacle. This could be a little trickier because there may not be anything to hold on to to steady yourself, depending on where the tabernacle is positioned.

If infirmity prevents you from getting your knee all the way to the floor, no problem.
 
The REALITY of God, not metaphorically, spiritually or symbolically, but Physically and Divinely present in the Blessed Sacrament, is why genflect. I just copied this from something called “Genuflecting Do’s and Don’t’s”.

We genuflect to the Blessed Sacrament (NOT to the altar, to a statue or to the Crucifix).

It’s only necessary to genuflect when entering and leaving the church, not every single time you go out of the pew.

Bend on one knee, the right knee, and it should actually touch the floor (health/age permitting).

It’s not necessary to make the sign of the Cross, but permissible if customary.

If moving about the church for activities, etc, a slight pause before the crucifix or altar, with a bow of the head is respectful. This is of course not the same as genuflecting, but a way to be attentive to God’s presence and maintain a reverent atmosphere.

When the Blessed Sacrament is exposed (Adoration, or as some now call it “Exposition”), we enter the church and genuflect on BOTH knees, and then enter the pew. When leaving, also fully kneel on the ground, bow the head and then rise to leave.

Also, some people come to church now but only stand and bow their head and then sit down. They do not genuflect. Unless age or infirmity prevents genuflection, this is wrong and disrespectful to the Blessed Sacrament!

No genuflecting is done if there is no Tabernacle (such as in some Chapels) or on Good Friday when the Tabernacle is empty
 
Karl, FYI,
I have often seen people make the sign of the cross when genuflecting, and was recently surprised at church to see young children doing it. So apparently it’s a tradition in perhaps some regions or cultures that is being passed along, even if it’s not a formal part of the procedure.

Also, FYI, when a priest is called to a home or hospital for Last Rites, and if he brings the Eucharist, it is proper to approach and genuflect to the Sacrament in that context also. Same is true when Eucharistic Ministers or priests visit retirement homes, etc. A Catholic should not ignore the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, but should genuflect. To onlookers it may appear strange, as if one is bowing to the priest (which is of course not the case) but wherever Jesus Christ is present in the Blessed Sacrament, He should be acknowledged and revered.
 
Whenever I have had leg injuries or have been too weak to genuflect I make a slow reverent bow from the waist. It’s just as good! 🙂
 
I was wondering about genuflecting before the exposed Blessed Sacrament. A couple of posters maintain that going down on the right knee then both knees then getting up in the reverse is proper. Where can I find this in a document. I always thought it was pious practice?
 
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Mjohn1453:
I was wondering about genuflecting before the exposed Blessed Sacrament. A couple of posters maintain that going down on the right knee then both knees then getting up in the reverse is proper. Where can I find this in a document. I always thought it was pious practice?
See my post #4. You can find the document here:
www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/CDWSACRA.HTM
 
Karl I was raised always to make the sign of the cross when genuflecting but never was taught the reason behind it since the sign of the cross is the sign of our faith and belief and the genuflection is done out of respect and reverance. But for years that was what we were taught, now I understand the difference and genuflect going into the pew and kneel then make the sign of the cross to pray.

Also to genuflect when leaving the pew as one person posted was not necessary unless leaving the church, I don’t think people always genuflect out of necessity but out of love and respect.

When did that change on kneeling on both knees for exposition of the Blessed Sacrament? At our chapel every one genuflects on both knees, but at school the priests and religious genuflect on one knee.
 
quote didn’t work but patricia, those who are physically infirm should not genuflect, but pause and bow reverently as deeply as you can without pain or dizziness. I have not genuflected since 2 altar boys had to haul me to my feet one Good Friday, pastor’s orders. I no longer do the profound bow before communinon because I have vertigo and have lost balance twice. Anybody who knows me knows why I can’t, and anybody uncharitable enough to criticize me does not merit my concern.

When churches had communion rails it was possible to receive reverently while kneeling, and removing the rails was another one of those subtle offenses against charity that marked the over-reaching implementation of changes to the liturgy after V2.
 
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