"Because of this, God greatly exalted him and
bestowed on him the name which is above every
name, that at the name of Jesus every
knee should bend, of those in heaven
and on earth and under the earth"
Saint Paul's Epistle to the Philippians 2.9-10
we no longer so much as bow our heads upon hearing
His Name ... let alone bend our knee as we pass before
Him in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.
There was a
time when, in a mix of many people, one could always distinguish
the Catholics among them. We see vestiges of this at Mass
— and almost exclusively among the elderly. They bow their
heads, however slightly, even imperceptibly, upon hearing
the name, "Jesus".
No matter how
often and carelessly the Name is uttered by the priest or
deacon — as any other name upon Earth — still the
heads bow, reflexively, instinctively, from a life past,
an age past, when "the Name" was sacred ... and understood
as "the Sacred Name". It derived not from a generation past,
but from centuries past, millennia past, where it was recognized
that one could not always kneel upon hearing the Sacred
Name, but the head ... and the neck ... could always bow
Prologue in Heaven
former days", you say. Yes ... but from days more ancient
still, the days from which the source and substance of our
very Faith derives, days where a continuity existed — and
still exists — between Heaven above and Earth below, ancient
days in which we hear the words of Saint Paul echoed through
Be converted to me, and you shall be saved,
all ye ends of the earth: for I am God, and
there is no other. I have sworn by myself, the
word of justice shall go out of my mouth, and
shall not return: For every knee shall
be bowed to me.
in the New:
creature, which is in heaven, and on the earth,
and under the earth, and such as are in the
sea, and all that are in them: I heard all saying:
To him that sitteth on the throne, and to the
Lamb, benediction, and honor, and glory, and
power, for ever and ever. And the four living
creatures said: Amen. And the four and twenty
ancients fell down on their faces, and
adored him that liveth for ever and
thou believe in the Son of God? He answered,
and said: Who is he, Lord, that I may believe
in him? And Jesus said to him: Thou hast both
seen him; and it is he that talketh with thee.
And he said: I believe, Lord. And falling
down, he adored him."
(Saint John 9.35-38)
"Peter saw, he
fell down at Jesus' knees, saying:
Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord."
(Saint Luke 5.8)
every subsequent generation ...
We are, after
all, too wise ... too sophisticated. We are not blind
beggars and we are not simple fishermen. We are not
Indeed. Each of
them entered the Kingdom of Heaven.
So tell me ...
since you are neither blind, nor simple fishermen, nor
children, how do you propose to enter into the Kingdom
They fell to their
knees before God, and you ... you will do what? Is your
pride so overweening that you will bring your full height
to the face of God? Will you stride proudly through
the Gates of Heaven?
You are a fool!
The arrogant have
ever been an affront to God. Mary herself tells us that,
"He hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their
heart. He hath put down the mighty from their seat,
and hath exalted the humble."
greater than Mary, Mother of God? Greater than Saint
make yourself to be even greater than Christ Himself
Who, "fell upon his face, praying" 2 to His
Heavenly Father in the Garden of Gethsemane?
when next you pass Him by — Jesus Christ really
and truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament
of the Altar — and every single day thereafter,
you will not so much as acknowledge Him with
the bend of your knee ... nor His Sacred Name with a
nod of your head?
repenting of this arrogance, and learning
from Christ Who tells us that He Himself is humble
3 — you celebrate!
... most often yourselves — proclaiming in song, in
smug assurance, that you "are
God's people" — "and the light of the world" — even as you
fail to recognize Him Who stands
before you ... Whom on Good Friday we had crucified with
Why do you
find this so difficult?
bend your knee you must first bend your will!
Geoffrey K. Mondello
for the Boston Catholic Journal
Saint Luke, 1.51-52
2 Saint Matthew, 26.39
3 Saint Matthew, 11.29