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Genuflection before exposed Eucharist
Question from Giorgio on 1/9/2001:

When I was in Rome a couple of weeks ago, I went into a church where the Blessed Sacrament was exposed for adoration. I made a genuflection on both knees before kneeling down to pray, and once again before I left the church. I feel this is very much appropriate, and many people do this. Upon going out of the church, someone outside asked me why a double genuflection is being made before the exposed Sacrament, and people usually only make a genuflection on one knee when the Sacrament is in the Tabernacle. The man said that he believed there was no difference in the Real Presence while being exposed in the monstrance, or being kept in the Tabernacle. In fact, I do agree with him to a certain extend, and I wasn't really able to explain the difference either. Then again, I feel one can never show too much reverence towards the Most Holy Sacrament, so I still feel a double genuflection is right. What is your opinion on this, and is there any logical answer? Thank you very much. Also for Europeans, you are a great and valuable source of information!

Answer by Colin B. Donovan, STL on 1/11/2001:

There is, of course, no theological or metaphysical difference between Christ's Presence exposed and not exposed. For this reason, and here I am presuming intent, the current Roman norms for Mass and Exposition oblige liturgically (that is, on the ministers) only a genuflection on one knee in both cases.

Is there any difference, then, between exposition and non-exposition of the Eucharist? I believe there is, and I believe the sensus fidelium recognizes it. The difference is in the experiential order, both the psychological and the mystical. The Eucharist is a sacrament. This means that it is a test of faith, since the senses say one thing and faith another (Jn. 6:67-69). Our faith in the Blessed Sacrament is exercised more profoundly when we see the Species and affirm the Reality. This is why the custom of the double genuflection simply won't die out. There is nothing in the law to prevent its continued use by those not obliged to carry out the rubrics for Exposition.

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