Reverence, how do we or should we show reverence….
I was asked today about how I project reverence. That took me back a little, because I’ve struggled with that question. I don’t really think that working at showing reverence is appropriate. How do we show reverence? Kneeling? Folding our hands? By what we wear? The prayers we say out loud? I don’t think it is any of those things by themselves.
Reverence is defined by Merriam-Webster as:
On Ash Wednesday, I find the readings challenging. We are told to pray in quiet and not to mark ourselves, and yet we do just that. We put a big black cross on our forehead. I reconcile that because our intent is to show our humanity and frailty, not that we are fasting. We show our dependence on God.
We all see those people doing things to be noticed. The person with the wad a prayer cards or the 30 rosaries dangling from their hands, arms and neck. Any overtly obvious sign to look at them praying or being holy. We have all seen it. This doesn’t apply to all. I think of the widow and the one coin, the woman at the well, the tax collectors and all those Jesus lifted up and they all have one thing in common, they were humble and simple of faith. Simple, doesn’t mean shallow, but unencumbered. Simple faith can be the deepest. We know when we meet those people too.
So how do I show reverence?
By respecting all of God’s people. Whenever I slip and think or say bad things about someone, I feel that I have not been reverent to God’s creation. Same is true with self-talk, we need to respect ourselves. As a priest, it is about being respectful of my duties. It isn’t my Mass, it isn’t your Mass. All our official liturgies belong to the Church. I show reverence, by doing them as closely as possible to what the Church intended. I show reverence by being the best possible priest that I can. Showing reverence is being all of who God created us to be.