Why do Catholics cross themselves three times before the Gospel Reading (in the Liturgy of the Word)?
At Mass, in what we call the Gospel Acclamation, all stand up and sing the ‘Alleluia’. The deacon or the priest anouces the Gospel reading, we respond with “Glory to you, Lord” and make three little signs of the cross. We then cross our forhead, Mouth and heart, this means: May I keep the word of the Lord in my mind, in my mouth and in my heart.
Why do Catholics pray seven daily prayers?
This is an ancient tradition that comes for the Old Testament, following King David, who said ” seven times a day I shall praise your name, O Lord”. This catholic tradition is observed mainly by ordained religious, but also by lay members of the Church. Read more about this here on this blog.
Why do Catholics get ashes on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday?
To ancient Jews, wearing sackcloth and covering themselves or sitting in ashes showed repentance and humility, and acted as a penance. Thus, the early Church adopted the practice of wearing ashes at the start of Lent to show repentance too. The ashes today remind us to “Turn away from sin and remain faithful to the Gospel” and that our time on earth will pass away but our life in Heaven will last forever.
Why do Catholics use Holy Water?
The use of Holy water in the Catholic Church has a biblical origin, we read in Numbers 5:17 about a ritual that is being described, the text says, “[A]nd the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel and take some of the dust that is on the floor of the tabernacle and put it into the water.”
This shows that holy water not only has a basis in the Bible, but that it has been around since the days of Moses. Holy water was used for numerous Old Testament ceremonies that involved ceremonial sprinklings and washings. Today we are not bound to perform those ceremonies, but the fact holy water was used at all proves that it is not a superstitious or invalid practice invented by the Church.
Why do we believe that the Pope is head of the Church on earth?
The Church is the body of Jesus Christ. Where Jesus is the Head and we are the members. Jesus gave Peter his name, which means Rock, and declared that he will build his church on the Rock. Jesus also gave Peter “the keys to the kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 16:19). In Jesus’ day, the person who held the keys to the kingdom represented the king, and only the king could entrust the keys to whoever he decied. When Jesus gave the keys to Peter, he was making a symbolic reference to what King David did when he gave the keys of his kingdom to his Prime minister. This was an act of trust, but it also signaled to the other ministers that the one holding the keys was the leader and could act in his authority. So Jesus was signaling that Peter was given a special role of leadership. Catholics believe that the authority given to St Peter did not end with his death, but is passed to his successors who also become head of the Church.
Why do we sing carols at Christmas? The word “carol” means song of joy. St. Francis of Assisi first introduced the joyous spirit of caroling to Europe in the 13th century. He created nativity plays in which actors sang the story of Christ’s birth in the language of the audience. St Francis encouraged the listeners to join in. In time, the carols traveled from Italy to the rest of Europe and then to the United States. Today’s custom has carolers go from house to house singing Christmas songs of joy.
Why do Catholics do that?
What is Canon Law? Canon Law is the official body of laws for the Catholic Church that govern faith, morals, and discipline. These laws assist the Church in carrying out her mission to the world and direct the various relationships between persons, offices, and groups within the Church. Only a pope or an ecumenical council has the authority to create canon law or interpret it for the universal Church. The legal system of the Catholic Church is the oldest such system continually operating in the world.
Why do Catholics say “Amen” at the end of some prayers? In Hebrew, the word “Amen” shares the same root as the word “believe.” This root also expresses trustworthiness and faithfulness. When you read the gospels, you’ll see that Jesus sometimes used the word “Amen” twice in a row to emphasize the trustworthiness of his teaching. He wanted his listeners to pay special attention. So when we say “Amen” at the end of a prayer, we reinforce our faith in what we just said. We also express our confidence that God will hear our prayers.
Why do Catholics give the Sign of Peace during Mass? The first words Jesus said to his apostles after his Resurrection were : “Peace be with you” (John 20:21). After that their fear disappeared. By offering each other the Sign of Peace at Mass, we share that peace with the entire Body of Christ. Jesus also told us to reconcile with one another before approaching the altar of God (Matthew 5:23). Thus, the Sign of Peace is a gesture of Reconciliation with those around us before coming to the altar to receive Holy Communion. Note that records from as early as around A.D. 155 by Justin Martyr show that early Christians would exchange the kiss of peace at celebration of Mass, when prayers were concluded; this tradition seem to have persisted and evolved to the hand-shake of today.
Why do Catholics make the Sign of the Cross? Back in the second century when this practice began, it was common to honor a ruler with a gesture of respect. Whether bowing down on one knee or touching the forehead, such gestures were ritual ways to show humility before a person of great power. The Sign of the Cross became one such devotion to the Holy Trinity, and acted as a sign of recognition between early Christians who were sometimes forced to worship in secret. Now a prayer in itself, each time we make the Sign of the Cross we express respect for God and call down his blessings on ourselves.
Why do Catholics bless themselves when entering and leaving church? Old Testament Jews washed with water before entering the Temple precincts. Building on a ritual familiar to the Jews, John the Baptist used water to represent repentance of sin and purification. So when we cross ourselves with holy water entering and leaving the church, we recall that history. But we also refer to our Baptism when the priest used water to symbolize the washing away of our sins and to protect us from evil.
Why do Catholics use rituals? Our everyday awareness of God comes to us through our senses: Sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. They are the pathways to the deepest parts of our imagination and understanding. Some rituals of the Church go back to the times when few people could read or write—but they could be drawn to Jesus by using their senses. Now we use sacred music, bells, incense, poetic prayers—they all plant our faith deep in our body and bones as Catholics. It is important to point out that many of these symbols refer to ancient Jewish practices, such as the use of incense , which is to this day used in the Catholic Church during the incensing of the Altar, the Sacrificial Table at Mass and the Book of the Holy Scripture, the ringing of the bell during the celebration of the Eucharist and so on. These are practices that were familiar to the first Christians, who were mostly of a Jewish background.
You may also want to read this related article: Understanding what you see at Church