THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE WAY FORWARD IN CHRIST
THE THEOLOGY OF BENDED KNEES
Feast of the Assumption
August 15, 2010
We come together often in worship and acknowledge that Jesus
is our Lord and Savior. This has become a part of our “lifestyle.”
But what we may not be in the habit of doing is going down
on our knees before our Lord. This is not as it should be,
for when God greatly exalted Jesus for what he accomplished
on the cross for us, He expected “that at the name of
Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth
and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ
is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil 2:10-11).
While standing in the
presence of the Lord is all right, kneeling before him is
even better. In the world we have gotten used to being with
our peers, and when we are, we stand face-to-face, looking
eye-to-eye, equals who are relating. That is not the kind
of relationship we have with God. Though Jesus calls us friends,
and indeed we can be intimate with him in such a friendship,
what we often forget is that he is God who is owed awe and
proper reverence. At times, we simply have to be on our knees
before him, with heads bowed, not looking him in the eye,
acknowledging with our posture that he indeed is Lord and
we are his unworthy servants.
At many Eucharistic celebrations, the congregation does not
kneel after the “Holy, Holy, Holy,” during the
consecration, and after the “Lamb of God.” In
fact, in one Mass I attended just two weeks ago in Detroit,
a majority of the people sat down during the consecration!
No, they were not very elderly or sickly. Some remained standing,
some knelt, but about 2/3 sat down.
People do not sin if
they do not kneel down. But they would do better if they did
How about our personal
prayer time? Most I imagine are just seated. But it would
be better if at some point in our prayer we would kneel. This
is especially true for those who are called to be servant
leaders. This would greatly manifest that they are leaders
who are servants. Even Jesus, the Master, would have knelt
before his disciples in order to wash their feet. Jesus then
told them to follow the model he showed.
Kneeling before someone shows great reverence. A captain knelt
before Elijah (2 Kgs 1:13), Balaam knelt before the angel
(Num 22:31), Joseph’s brothers knelt before him (Gen
42:6), King Ahasuerus’ servants knelt before Haman (Est
3:2), Cornelius knelt before Peter (Acts 10:25). How much
more should we kneel before God!
Our posture of bended
knees says a lot about how we relate to God.
The father of the boy
with a demon knelt before Jesus, asking him to have pity on
and to heal his son (Mt 17:14). The leper knelt before Jesus,
asking to be made clean (Mk 1:40). How many times in our prayer
do we ask things from God, especially for healing, but without
even showing the reverence of laying ourselves low before
The rich man knelt
before Jesus, looking to him for wisdom about his life, particularly
about eternal life (Mk 10:17). How many times do we find ourselves
searching for answers, looking for wisdom from above, recognizing
ourselves as students before the great Teacher, but perhaps
acting as though we are just having an intellectual discussion
with one of our peers? Ezra, the great scribe (scholar, lawyer,
teacher) used by God to restore Israel, knelt before God (Ezr
Peter knelt before
Jesus, asking him to depart from him because he was a sinful
man (Lk 5:8). How many times do we ask God to forgive us for
our sins, but do not take the humble posture of kneeling before
Him? When we truly realize how our sins hurt God, and if we
are truly repentant, we would fall down on our knees, or even
prostrate ourselves, and confess our sins with weeping.
Peter knelt before
God, prior to raising Tabitha back to life (Acts 9:40). How
many times do we ask for miracles to happen in our lives,
but fail to properly acknowledge God as the awesome Almighty
who is omnipotent?
Paul knelt before God,
before embarking on his mission (Acts 20:36, 21:5). How many
times do we say a prayer before doing service or going on
mission, but fail to really realize our profound and desperate
need for the Lord’s blessing, protection and empowerment?
Daniel knelt before
God (Dn 6:11), praying and pleading before Him regarding the
dire situation of God’s people under foreign rule, especially
as King Darius had decreed that no one was to address any
petition to God except to himself. Today we face the unprecedented
rise of secular humanism and liberalism. In some First World
countries , public prayer and Christian symbols are already
prohibited by law. In some Muslim nations, worship of the
Christian God is prohibited, under pain of death as in the
decree of Darius. How many times do we ask God to deliver
us from such, but without the posture of a wretched and desperate
person down on his knees?
Kings knelt before
God, such as King Solomon (2 Chr 6:13), King Jehoshaphat (2
Chr 20:18) and King Hezekiah (2 Chr 29:29). And why not? They
may be kings, but God is the King of kings!
Jesus himself knelt
before the Father (Lk 22:41).
We kneel before God as an act of awe, of reverence, of total
submission, of total dependence, of total trust. We kneel
before God to acknowledge Him as our Creator, without whom
we are nothing. “Enter, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the Lord who made us.” (Ps 95:6).
We kneel before God
to intercede for our families, that every member of the family
might become a true child of God, that everyone would be worthy
to carry the name of Christ. “For this reason I kneel
before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on
earth is named” (Eph 3:14-15).
We kneel before God
to ask for His power and anointing over our work and our service.
We do God’s work, and so we need His power and anointing.
But asking is not done in a mechanical or perfunctory way.
Rather, deep reverence is due the God whose very work we are
doing and whose very power we are set to assume. God Himself
tells us: “To me every knee shall bend; by me every
tongue shall swear, saying, ‘Only in the Lord are just
deeds and power.’” (Is 45:23b-24).
We kneel before God
in worship. This is a very apt posture of creatures before
the Creator, of slaves before the Master, of subjects before
their King, of disciples before the Lord. Only God stands
out in the assembly, not because He is raised on a dais, but
because His people have fallen on their knees. Indeed, for
it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, every knee
shall bend before me, and every tongue shall give praise to
God.” (Rom 14:11).
There is one more thing. Today is the Feast of the Assumption.
Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven. Mary went up to
heaven without undergoing corruption in death. Jesus, the
only Son of God, who conquered death by raising Jesus back
to life, ascended into heaven. On the other hand, Mary was
assumed into heaven. She ascended not by her own power, but
she was brought by her own Son Jesus into heaven, where she
now reigns as Queen.
Mary obviously is a
very important person. Indeed, for she is not only, like all
of us, a child of the Father, but she is the mother of the
Son as well as the spouse of the Holy Spirit. She has a deep
intimate personal relationship with each of the three Persons
of the Trinity.
Now Mary is our Mother.
She is our Mediatrix and intercessor before the throne room
of God. She is co-Redemptrix to Jesus. She reigns as Queen
of heaven and earth. We owe her great respect and reverence
because of who she is and what she has done and continues
to do for us.
Because Mary is so intimately involved in our work of evangelization
and family renewal, we as CFC-FFL were fortunate to be
consecrated to her in 2007. Then, and even now, we pray the
“Prayer of Consecration to Mary.” Well and good.
We start the prayer
with saying “We kneel before you ....” But I see
that many of our brethren no longer do kneel. Some even change
the words to “We come before you.” Have we lost
our sense of reverence for such an important person in our
life and mission? Are we beginning to take her for granted?
Are we becoming more mechanical in our prayer?
Let the fervor of our
love for our Blessed Mother Mary not wane but intensify even
more, especially as we get to know her more and experience
the power of her intercession. Let us continue to acknowledge
her great role in salvation history. Let us continue to emulate
her as our model of discipleship, of faith and trust, of servanthood,
of joy in affliction.
Let us then pray: “We
kneel before you ....”
Read “Mary in the Work of Evangelization and Family
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Way Forward in Christ (Part35) [PDF]