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Friday, May 26, 2006
Catholic Q&A: Why do we show reverence to the Gospel?

At Mass the priest should always show the Gospel an elevated degree of respect. While Jesus is not physically present in the Word as He is in the Eucharist, Jesus is still in His Word. At Mass only a bishop, priest, or deacon is allowed to read the Gospel; no layperson, nun, or even seminarian may proclaim the Gospel (Redemptionis Sacramentum, Chapter III, Part 3). Since we are to treat the Gospel with reverence, priests will kiss the Gospel after it is read.

I strongly encourage my readers to take part in Lectio Divina and reading the Daily readings from Mass. Note: Unlike Lectio Divina, Catholics should never take part in centering prayer. I have also just read about the Enthronement of the Holy Bible, which seems to be a proper devotion

Information from the Zenit News Agency:

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) describes the following honors toward the Book of the Gospels:

"172. [At the entrance procession] Carrying the Book of the Gospels slightly elevated, the deacon precedes the priest as he approaches the altar or else walks at the priest's side.

"173. When he reaches the altar, if he is carrying the Book of the Gospels, he omits the sign of reverence and goes up to the altar. It is particularly appropriate that he should place the Book of the Gospels on the altar, after which, together with the priest, he venerates the altar with a kiss.

"175. [At the Liturgy of the Word] If incense is used, the deacon assists the priest when he puts incense in the thurible during the singing of the Alleluia or other chant. … Having bowed to the altar, he then takes up the Book of the Gospels which was placed upon it. He proceeds to the ambo, carrying the book slightly elevated. He is preceded by a thurifer, carrying a thurible with smoking incense, and by servers with lighted candles. There the deacon, with hands joined, greets the people, saying, 'Dominus vobiscum' (The Lord be with you). Then, at the words 'Lectio sancti Evangelii' (A reading from the holy gospel), he signs the book with his thumb and, afterwards, himself on his forehead, mouth, and breast. He incenses the book and proclaims the Gospel reading. When the reading is concluded, he says the acclamation 'Verbum Domini' (The gospel of the Lord), and all respond, 'Laus tibi, Christe' (Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ). He then venerates the book with a kiss, saying privately, 'Per evangelica dicta' (May the words of the gospel), and returns to the priest's side.

"When the deacon is assisting the Bishop, he carries the book to him to be kissed, or else kisses it himself, saying quietly, 'Per evangelica dicta' (May the words of the gospel). In more solemn celebrations, as the occasion suggests, a Bishop may impart a blessing to the people with the Book of the Gospels.

"Lastly, the deacon may carry the Book of the Gospels to the credence table or to another appropriate and dignified place."

Later, in describing norms for all Masses, the document adds:

"273. According to traditional practice, the altar and the Book of the Gospels are venerated by means of a kiss. Where, however, a sign of this kind is not in harmony with the traditions or the culture of some region, it is for the Conference of Bishops to establish some other sign in its place, with the consent of the Apostolic See."


del_button May 26, 2006 at 12:42 PM
Ma Beck said...

I notice many people at my parish who, after the Gospel is read, will kiss that page in their Missals also.
Not a bad devotion...
At the parish in which I was raised (my family no longer attends Sunday Mass there - they drive to a parish about 30 minutes away - but they do attend daily Mass there) my sister one day noticed a book on the floor off to the side at the altar.
She was horrified when she realized it looked like the Book of the Gospels. She approached the priest after her adoration.
"Is that the Book of the Gospels on the floor, Father?" she asked.
"Oh, yeah," the priest replied. "We don't have anywhere else to put it."

Talk about the smoke of satan entering the sanctuary. Very troublesome.

del_button May 27, 2006 at 7:21 AM
Moneybags said...

Ma Beck,

That is horrible that they would let the Book of the Gospels lie on the ground.

del_button April 3, 2009 at 10:07 PM
Tessa said...

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