When the roll is called at a meeting, the usual response when we hear our name, is to call “present”. When a person we respect enters a room we stand to greet them. Combining a verbal response with a gesture of respect is a worthy gesture of respect, welcome and readiness to engage.
There is a moment in the ordination rite for both priest and deacon, when the bishop announces ‘let the one who is to be ordained come forward’. The candidate stands and clearly responds: “Present”.
This is a significant moment. I remember it well at my own ordination. For the one to be ordained, this movement to stand (while all others remained seated), announces willingness to step forward in service of God. This moment expresses desire to follow wherever God may lead.
When we move to stand in the Mass, we are physically announcing our desire to be open to God and to walk every step in every God-chosen direction with God.
In the context of the liturgy, the simple and everyday gesture of rising to our feet proclaims our commitment to God within this Catholic worshipping community.
There are several moments when we move to our feet during the Mass. As the entrance procession begins, we rise. As the Alleluia verse heralds the proclamation of the Gospel we once again stand. We stand whenever we pray to God together.
We are familiar with the Prayer over the Offerings (refer below). Until now we stood when we had finished responding to the invitation of the priest. In the Revised Order of the Mass we will now stand before we begin to respond to the invitation of the priest.
Initially this change may be a little awkward for us. But our deepened awareness of this opportunity to bodily express our desire for God will help us to embrace this change in posture.
The priest invites us to “pray brothers and sisters that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God the almighty Father.”
In one worshipping movement all present respond by rising to their feet and praying that the Lord accepts this sacrifice, for the praise and glory of his name, for our good, and for the good of all his holy church.
Standing at the middle of the altar,
facing the people, extending and then joining his hands,
he (the priest) says:
Pray brothers and sisters
that my sacrifice and yours
may be acceptable to God
the almighty Father.
The people rise and reply:
May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands
for the praise and glory of his name,
for our good
and the good of all his holy Church
Then the Priest, with hands extended,
says the Prayer over the Offerings,
at the end of which the people acclaim: