The VerbumQUO (6lenwquo.htm)

Every knee must bend!

The VerbumQUO for today is "genu flectátur" which is the phrase most familiar with Catholics as the English word "genuflect" from St. Paul's words in Philippians 2: 10 used in the Opening Introit for today's Mass of Wednesday in Holy Week. It is an outward sign of reverence extended by the faithful before and after every Holy Mass and by the priest several times during the Canon and Communion of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Michael Cain
Editor, The Daily Catholic

      Editor's Note: This series, which completes the VerbumQUOs for Lent today, highlights one word from the Proper of the day's Mass. Taking the Latin Verbum and Quotidianum, which mean respectively "Word" and "Daily", we have coined the word "Verbumquo" by contracting quotidianum to quo and running it together as VerbumQUO for this feature series, thus "The Daily Word," as in the sum of the message, the 'quotient', if you will. It is also our hope that in choosing the Latin word with its meaning and etymology more will be attuned to hearing the word read at the altar and better comprehend the beauty of the Mother tongue. Hopefully in this Time of Holy Week we can gain a higher appreciation and contemplation on how the Daily Proper of the Holy Mass applies in our lives in alignment with the will of Christ and His Blessed Immaculate Mother and His Mystical Bride, His Holy Roman Catholic Church.

    The final VerbumQUO in Lent for today - Wednesday in Holy Week is "genu flectátur" which is the Latin words for "the knee shall bend" taken from Saint Paul's Epistle to the Philippians, chapter 2: 10, and the passage for today's Opening Introit followed by verses 8 and 11:

      Ut in nomine Jesu omne genu flectátur cælestium, terrestrium et infernorum, Humiliavit semetipsum factus obediens usque ad mortem, mortem autem crucis. et omnis lingua confiteatur, quia Dominus Jesus Christus in gloria est Dei Patris. REPEAT: Ut in nomine Jesu...
      At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth: He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. And that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father. REPEAT: At the Name of Jesus...

    This is followed by the first Collect in today's Mass before the first of two Lessons from the prophet Isaias:

      R. Flectamus genua.


      Praesta, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus : ut, qui nostris excessibus incessanter affligimur, per unigeniti Filii tui passionem liberemur.

      Let us pray. R. Let us kneel.


      Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that we who are continually afflicted by reason of our excesses, may be delivered through the passion of Thine only-begotten Son.

    We also bend our knee again towards the end of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke for today's Mass upon the death of Christ on the cross. We include only the verses surrounding this manifestation of holy respect for our Lord, taken from Luke 23: 44-48:

      Erat autem fere hora sexta, et tenebræ factæ sunt in universam terram usque ad horam nonam. Et obscuratus est sol et velum templi scissum est medium. Et clamans voce magna Jesus ait : "Pater, in manus Tuas commendo spiritum Meum." Et hæc dicens, expiravit.
      (Here all kneel and pause for a few moments)
      Videns autem centurio quod factum fuerat, glorificavit Deum, dicens : Vere hic homo justus erat. Et omnis turba eorum, qui simul aderant ad spectaculum istud, et videbant quæ fiebant, percutientes pectora sua revertebantur.
      And it was almost the sixth hour: and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And Jesus crying with a loud voice, said: "Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit. And saying this, He gave up the ghost."
      (Here all kneel and pause for a few moments)
      Now, the centurion, seeing what was done, glorified God, saying: Indeed this was a just man. And all the multitude of them that were come together to that sight and saw the things that were done returned, striking their breasts.

    The English word "genuflect" comes naturally from the Latin "genu" - "knee" and "flectatur" "bend", thus we get in Latin the two words combined genu flectatur - pronounced JEN-YOU-FLECK-TAH-TOOR. Flectatur is the singular future tense; hence, every knee shall bend. Let's examine Webster's definition:

    "Genuflect", verb [From Latin genu, knee + flexio a bending from Latin verb flectere to bend.] To bend the knee, as in worship. genuflection, noun Act of bending the knee, especially in worship."

    A simple definition and a simple gesture that speaks volumes of the manifestation of one's Catholic Faith for only Catholics genuflect. Why do we genuflect? Very simply because we are fulfilling St. Paul's words in today's Introit in giving our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ the utmost respect, praise and adoration. It is a practice taught from the time we learned to walk and accompanied our parents to Holy Mass, watching and emulating what they did. It is a sign of reverence and humility, and definitely an outward sign of our faith in acknowledging Christ's True Presence Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity in the holy Tabernacle of the Altar. Only in the true Catholic churches is He present because only in the Traditional Catholic chapels and churches is the bread and wine validly confected with the essential words of the Consecration as set in stone by Pope Saint Pius V in Quo Primum and De defectibus.

    The venerable Benedictine Abbot says about this opening prayer the following in Volume 6 of The Liturgical Year for Holy Week:

       "The Church commences her chants with one to the glory of the holy name of Jesus, outraged as it is, on this day, by them that plot His death. This name which was given Him by Heaven, and signifies that He is our Savior, is now being blasphemed by His enemies: in a few hours, their crime will bring its full meaning before us, for His death will have worked the salvation of the world."

    The genuflection is an essential practice of the Catholic ritual. From the time we enter the nave we bless ourselves with holy water to remind us of our Baptism with water and then we genuflect before entering the pew. We do so, as ascribed above, out of reverence for His True Presence and that we are indeed in the house of God. Thus we are to be silent and in prayer. The church is no place for socializing, talking or singing modern songs; that is for lodges and assembly halls which the Novus Ordo places have become with the "people of God" yapping with each other right up until the presbyter comes forward with his entourage of "altar" girls (shall we call them "alter girls"?). It is almost impossible to genuflect in the Novus Ordo lodges today because one doesn't know where the tabernacle is or recognize it if there is one visible. Not only that, but the wafers contained within the "box" - as most of them have become today - are not consecrated Hosts properly confected and therefore, should we be surprised that the vast majority of Novus Ordo 'Catholics' no longer believe in the True Presence, so why genuflect? let alone, why be quiet and pray privately in preparation for Mass? since it is not a true Mass, but a Protestant rite? That is why genuflecting has become practically a thing of the past in the new order church. That is a sign of humility. Why would the proud conciliar church want to humble itself when they place such an emphasis on standing proudly at the most solemn time of their 'mass'? Why humble itself when comfort is the rule and kneelers are passe, another medieval mandate no longer necessary to the new, liberated man who gets more out of being in 'unity with the community' by holding hands in a horizontal worship of each other rather than the vertical worship of God the Father receiving His only-begotten Son as an unbloody sacrifice offered by the priest, acting as the alter Christus on our behalf. No, the modern presbyter is "one of the boys" and no longer confects the Sacrament, leaving that to the people to act in the sacerdotal role of pronouncing the "mystery of faith" after the elevation. Yes, the Novus Ordinarians have it bass-ackward, but that is the great mystery of their faith. They don't know their Faith so the True Mass remains a mystery to them as to why it's necessary. Thus any memory of what the True Church teaches fades from their consciousness as well, so brainwashed are they by the incessant noise, constant activity, and abhorrent novelties that they don't have time to kneel, let alone acknowledge humility before God.

    Now let us look at what they have abandoned. In the Traditional Latin Mass - the True Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (in no way to be likened to the hybrid Motu Mess) - there is a structure that has purpose to everything performed by the priest and that is why, as St. Pius V decreed in codifying the infallible decrees of the dogmatic Council of Trent, the Holy Mass could not be altered. The Holy Mass is divided into two main parts; the Mass of the Catechumens and the Mass of the Faithful. The former extends through the Creed and comprises the act of humble entrance in which the priest prays the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, intoning Introibo ad altare Dei - "I will go in unto the altar of God." Wow, that is awesome in the most majestic sense - the "altar of God." There can be no greater place on earth and no greater mystery than the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

    After pronouncing the Psalm 42, Judica me, the priest makes a public avowal to all with the Church Triumphant joining the Church Militant et vobis fratres in recognition of his contrition with the Confiteor in which he bows his head at the foot of the altar and confesses. This is followed by the server/s reciting the same except for "et tibi Pater said on behalf of all the faithful assisting at Holy Mass. Following these prayers the priest gives absolution to all, including himself, for he says "nostrorum" - "us". With these responses completed, the priest ascends to the altar and thus begins the second part , known as the Instruction which includes the Collect, Epistle, Gradual and Tract (if called for in Lent) or Alleluia (following Easter). The server then transfers the book from the Epistle side to the Gospel side, genuflecting whenever he crosses the center at the foot of the altar. The Missal being moved is symbolic of the Old being taken away and the New Covenant established. Often the Epistle is an Old Testament reading, such as in this time of the liturgical year, and the Gospel always from either Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. The sermon, if the Mass is a Sunday or holy day of obligation or a solemn feast, most often comprises the Gospel of the day with an article of Faith from the Creed. This is all essential for Instruction of the Word.

    With these two parts completed, the Mass of the Faithful begins. Again the servers genuflect at the center of the foot of the altar and proceed to the cruet table where, after the priest has offered the bread, they present to the priest the wine and water, and then, while the priest is offering the wine, the servers prepare the lavabo towel and small basin for the priest to wash his hands before he proceeds with the august mystery. During a solemn high Mass where incense is used, the priest incenses the altar, genuflecting always at the center of the altar. Following the Lavabo, the priest offers the Prayer to the Most Holy Trinity and the Orate, Fratres with his "Amen" following the server's response ratifying the Offertory and the act of self-surrender by the priest on behalf of the faithful.

    The fourth part of the Holy Mass begins with the Preface to the Canon, signaling its arrival with the Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus!. This is the most solemn part of the Mass comprising the Act of Gratitude, Hope and Faith, not to mention the love Jesus has for us by immolating Himself as "Hostiam puram, Hostiam sanctam, Hostiam immaculatum" - "the pure Victim, holy Victim,spotless Victim." From immediately following Hosanna in excelsis until after the minor elevation, with the exception of the audible words Nobisquoque peccatoribus the priest prays in an inaudible voice. There is no public response after the Consecration, and surely no participation by the congregation in confecting the sacrament. Only a consecrated, validly ordained priest can confect the bread and wine for Transubstantiation to take place. Again, St. Pius V was most specific on this and very clear on it being in effect for ever! Thus, no one could change it. By the very fact that Bishop Giovanni Montini dared, makes it all the more of a sacrilege and not a valid Mass. So no wonder there are so many novelties in the Novus Ordo rite and those innovations continue to be tinkered with over the Hegelian concept of the "extraordinary" rite blending with the "ordinary" rite to create a new synthesis that will further separate the rubrics from Catholic worship!

    At the Consecration, the priest genuflects before and after the elevation of both the Body, and then the Blood. He genuflects again before the Minor Elevation and after; then after he has broken the host in three pieces before the Agnus Dei. Again he genuflects just prior to pronouncing the Domine, non sum dignus before He receives the Body of Christ. Then, he genuflects again as he removes the pall and, after placing the particles of the Host in the chalice, prepares to consume the Blood of Christ at the altar. He then genuflects again as he opens the tabernacle on the altar. Whenever the tabernacle is open or the Blessed Sacrament present on the altar, either in the Monstrance for adoration or Benediction, or after the Consecration until after the tabernacle is closed following distribution of Holy Communion, one always kneels on both knees if one must leave the church for any reason. Upon re-entering, one must also genuflect on both knees unless the Blessed Sacrament is not visible on the altar or in the ciborium on the altar. Needless to say, at all times, the utmost respect is expected in honoring the Holiest of holies - our King of kings.

    The fifth part is the Communion from the Pater Noster up to the Ablutions. This is the time the acts of love and desire to unite ourselves to God is emphasized, by the greatest act of love from Him to come and dwell within us at Holy Communion. Before we receive Him Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity in the consecrated Host, we again ask to purify us of any venial sin with another Confiteor before the priest grants absolution again, this time for the faithful with the vestrorum and vobis. We reverently approach the communion rail and kneel with all humility and sincerity to receive Him. Every knee shall bend. Returning to our place, we remain kneeling in adoration and thanksgiving. It is a good practice to remain in prayer of thanksgiving until the tabernacle door is closed. The priest genuflects upon returning to the altar after distributing Holy Communion, and again before closing the tabernacle doors.

    We then arrive at the sixth and final part of the Holy Mass. This is the Thanksgiving, characterized by prayers of gratitude and love in thanking Christ for coming and thanking the Father for permitting it, as well as praying to Mary most holy, the Mother of God who was the living tabernacle of the Incarnate Word and whose intercession is the most powerful before the Triune Divinity. During this time the server, after providing wine twice and the water, returns the book to the Epistle side of the altar while the priest says the the prayers of ablution in cleansing the chalice and paten. Carefully folding up the corporal and putting the pall atop the chalice, he places the corporal in the burse and covers the chalice with the chalice veil with the burse on top of it. He then returns to the Epistle side of the altar to read Proper of the day: the Communion Antiphon, then the Postcommunion Prayer. He then announces Ite, Missa est or, if no Gloria was said, Benedicamus, Domino or, if a Requiem Mass, Requiescat in pace. Following the final blessing, the priest returns to the Gospel side where he says the Last Gospel, which, in effect, is the first chapter of St. John. Towards the completion of this reading, the priest along with the faithful genuflect at the words:

      Quotquot autem receperunt eum, dedit eis potestatem filios Dei fieri, his, qui credunt in nomine eius: qui non ex sanguinibus, neque ex voluntate carnis, neque ex voluntate viri, sed ex Deo nati sunt.
      Here all kneel
      et habitavit in nobis: et vidimus gloriam eius, gloriam quasi Unigeniti a Patre, plenum gratiae et veritatis.
      He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him to them He gave power to become sons of God, to them that believe in His Name, who are born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
      Here all kneel
      and dwelt among us: and we saw His glory, the glory as of the Only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

    The Mass is ended with the server's response Deo gratias - "Thanks be to God" followed by the Leonine Prayers at the foot of the Altar. The priest and server/s exit after genuflecting, as do the faithful after spending a few more minutes in prayer before leaving the church. The longer we can spend in His presence, the greater our day. That's a guarantee!

    We can see how the genuflection has sustained the law of praying is how we believe - lex orandi, lex credendi and why it has all but been abandoned in the conciliar church of novelties and banalities. We can't walk in the footsteps of Jesus unless we are penitents and to express that penitence and dependence on Christ as our Lord and Savior, we make progress not in hastening our step, but in flexing the knee. It is a need we kneed to know for, as St. Paul asserts, every knee must bend!

Michael Cain, editor, The DailyCatholic

VerbumQUO for Wednesday in Holy Week