Orans vs. hand holding

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Ourladyguadalup

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In several of the threads on Holding Hands during the Lord’s Prayer, some posters mention that they assume the Orans Position(that is, hands uplifted slightly in prayer) to avoid the hand holding. I also see folks at the end of a pew lift just one hand. I did not see anyone address that in the responses. I am pretty sure that the Orans is prescribed in the rubrics for the priest & not laymen. Correct?(I will admit that I have not read the whole GIRM)
 
Your are correct. The orans posture is prescribed for the priest, but it is nowhere prescribed for the people.

Over the centuries the orans posture has come to be iconic for what the priest does, and so I find it bothersome that folks in the pews mimic him. By holding out his hands he is not inviting them to do likewise, but that seems to be how many interpret it.

It’s questionable whether the lay Christians of the earliest centuries actually prayed using the orans posture. What is not questionable is that over time that posture came to be associated with the priest alone.

When the congregation mimics the priest’s motions, they indicate that they don’t know why the priest is doing what he is doing and that they don’t know what their role in the Mass is. I don’t blame the people who hold their arms this way, but I do blame those whose responsibility it was to instruct them.

At the least, the use of the orans posture by the congregation tends to muddy the distinction between the priest and the people. Given how poorly the Mass is understood by most Catholics today, this isn’t a good thing.
 
I believe you are correct that uplifted hands during the Lord’s Prayer is not the correct prayer ‘posture’. Wow, to assume one improper behavior in an attempt to avoid another improper behavior. This action doesn’t seem logical to me.

I’m sure someone more versed in the GRIM can give us a definitive statement on both of these ‘actions’
 
Sorry Karl, I did it again. I took to long to post. You already answered my question, before I posted it. I’ll try to work (and think) quicker. LOL
 
Good to see this post. Our priest told us (per the bishop’s instructions) to stop holding hands and instead use the orans position. Oy!
 
I had heard that the USCCB was going to suggest orans as a “more appropriate” gesture during the Lord’s Prayer than hand holding. I haven’t seen anything official about it, however, I have heard that some bishops are making that suggestion locally in their teaching in response to the changes in the new GIRM. :banghead:
 
Our pastor suggested the ‘orans’ posture as an alternative. I think this is an ‘easy’ way to get people to stop holding hands, but still assume a similar posture.

I think they are hoping that eventually peoples arms will get tired and they will just fold their hands in prayer.😉

As for me, I just fold my hands, bow my head and pray like I always have…
 
There are a few ancient artworks that show people in the orans posture. Some have drawn the conclusion that this is how the early Christians regularly stood while praying. I doubt it.

We’re used to Masses that are 45 minutes long. In the Eastern churches the liturgy usually is far longer than that. And in ancient times the disparity would have been even greater, probably.

(After all, if you hiked all day to get to the place Mass is to be celebrated, you’re not going to settle for sub-one-hour celebration. You’ll want to get your money’s worth! 🙂 )

So let’s say that those ancient liturgies took two hours, a good chunk of which would be prayers in which the people would participate directly. Even if their prayers last only half an hour total, could they keep their arms up that long? Just try it. I’ll bet you couldn’t keep in the orans posture for five minutes straight.
 
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OpusDei:
Our pastor suggested the ‘orans’ posture as an alternative. I think this is an ‘easy’ way to get people to stop holding hands, but still assume a similar posture.

I think they are hoping that eventually peoples arms will get tired and they will just fold their hands in prayer.😉

As for me, I just fold my hands, bow my head and pray like I always have…
For the life of me I don’t understand why the pastors just don’t tell the people to quit holding hands and just to fold them in prayer instead of pussy footing around - and when a great many priests indulge in this silliness by holding hands with the female and male altar servers on the altar, why wouldn’t the people think it is “the right thing to do”?.

It makes me crazy -
 
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PASCENDI:
ORANS = PRIEST ENVY
I agree–when I see laity assume the position I too interpret it as an attempt to usurp the priest’s role. It also gives off a self-conscious look-at-me-I’m-holy vibe to it that seems especially inappropriate in Church
 
Karl Keating:
The orans posture is prescribed for the priest, but it is nowhere prescribed for the people.
Perhaps not in the Roman missal, but I believe it is the required posture in the Maronite divine liturgy.
 
I don’t know but probably if this is the norm, I won’t be going to one soon - evidently not “elderly friendly”

Posted on one Eastern Rite Maronite Church site in their Bulletin

“No one is allowed, under any circumstances or any reason, to stand in the lobby of the Church, not even for a brief moment during Mass and any other service. If one feels that he cannot sit, stand, and kneel with the congregation to concentrate on the Liturgy, it is better for him and all of us to stay home”
 
Glory to Jesus Christ!

I think the Orans position is popular among most Oriental (Catholic and Orthodox) rites-but not all the time, only points of higher liturgical tension. The only Byzantine Rite Churches to use this position are the Melkite Churches (Melkite Greek Catholic and Antiochian Orthodox) and this only at the Our Father during Divine Liturgy (probably under West Syrian influence, or a hold-over from when everyone in the region was Maronite).

This of course, does not mean per se that it should appear in the Mass-and it is not prescribed, but not forbidden either (at the Our Father, at any rate-points during the Anaphora are a different case altogether). I think GIRM says that there is to be no hand-holding, but is not any more prescriptive than that.

In Christ,
Adam
 
*It’s questionable whether the lay Christians of the earliest centuries actually prayed using the orans posture. What is not questionable is that over time that posture came to be associated with the priest alone. *

When the congregation mimics the priest’s motions, they indicate that they don’t know why the priest is doing what he is doing and that they don’t know what their role in the Mass is. I don’t blame the people who hold their arms this way, but I do blame those whose responsibility it was to instruct them.

“The Mass of the Roman Rite” by Jungman, S.J., in “Th Nature and Form of the Mass,” in “Forms of Popular Participation,” notes;

Just as the priest at the altar stands before God in reverential readiness, so also the faithful;they are the circumstantes. In line with this it was an understood norm in olden times that the people followed the motions of the bishop or priest when he said the prayers and, in general, in all the ret of his deportment, so that like him they stood with hands uplifted and facing east. Standing was the ordinary posture of prayer even among ancient peoples, in fact, standing with uplifted hands and with eyes fixed in the direction of the rising sun. Ths posture of prayer was continued by the Christians, both people and liturgi together, with only this variant; they saw in the orient sun which they faced, an image of the Risen Christ…

But later in the Middle Ages the bodily posture of the faithful grew more and more unlike that of the priest…
 
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