Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Prostrate on Ash Wednesday

No, I am not prostrate as I write this.  But I began the morning with a period of prostration.  And, yes, that out of bed in my private chapel, mind you.

I’ve mentioned the practice of prostration on Good Friday.  But it has recently come to my attention that it is (or was.  I am admittedly ignorant at this time about current catholic practices in this regard.) an Ash Wednesday practice as well.  The Sarum rite for Ash Wednesday began as follows:

After Sexts there may be a sermon to the people.  After which let the Clergy prostrate themselves in the choir and say the seven Penitential Psalms . . .

That is a long period of prostration!  And there was more prostration after that as well during Ash Wednesday services in pre-Reformation England.

I certainly did not remain face down on the floor that long, but is that not an appropriate way to begin the chief penitential season?

Whatever posture you assume, may you have a holy and edifying Ash Wednesday and Lent.

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