(Either she’s on the wrong knee, or the negative was put in the scanner backwards, but no matter…)

Monsignor Charles Pope, of the Archdiocese of Washington (D.C.) offers a reflection on the descent of Moses from Sinai. Along the way, he points out the great reverence the Jews held for God’s glory, contrasting it with modern attitudes toward the sacred. He laments that in our day

[a]lmost any sense of awe and holy fear has been replaced by a [sic] extremely casual disposition, both in dress, and in action.

Further, he says, “[W]e moderns must find our way back to some degree of reverence and awe before the presence of God”. He notes that in the days of the Temple, the innermost portion of the sanctuary, where the Ark of the Covenant was kept and where presence of God was said to dwell, was only entered once a year, and only by the High Priest, who, according to legend, took various precautions in case he was struck dead, a mere sinner standing before the infinite holiness of God.

My RCIA instructor used to decry the bad old days when believers saw themselves as “miserable worms”. The fact is, put our sinfulness against God’s holiness, and “miserable worms” doesn’t even begin to describe it. All the more wonderful and remarkable, then, that Christ chose to take on our humanity and walk among us, and how wonderful and remarkable that he continues to dwell among us in the tabernacles of a thousand churches.

Let us approach our tabernacles with reverence. Let us stop to genuflect to the presence of Christ dwelling among us under the appearance of bread. Let us do so carefully, not rushing through it. Let our bodies bear witness to the reverence that is in our hearts.

On a lighter note, a centuries old mistranslation of “his [Moses’] face had become radiant” reads “his face was horned”. Believe it or not, there isn’t much difference in the Hebrew there, and horns are a symbol of power and authority, so the mistake isn’t that incredible. There have been artists who depicted Moses with horns, albeit little ones. Michelangelo’s sculpture of Moses has them.

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3 Responses to Reverence

  1. Christian says:

    My RCIA instructor used to decry the bad old days when believers saw themselves as “miserable worms.” Apparently I’m behind the times.

    • baltocath says:

      Probably a question of emphasis more than anything else. Perhaps Catholics my age got a heft dose of God’s wrath without any of God’s mercy when they were in CCD. As a convert, I wouldn’t know. 🙂

  2. Christian says:

    I didn’t know: qaran, to send out horns of light.

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