I struggle with this. I gotta write a blog post about my Mass experience with this today. It's hard not to notice that at almost every single "modern" Catholic parish these days, more and more people hold hands during the Our Father.
You probably understand what I am talking about.
It is all very Protestant, in my opinion.
I just reverently fold my hands, look downward, and say my Our Father. All well and good right? But... Is this Pharisaical? I don't want to judge anyone... If the Holy Spirit is moving them to all hold hands, who am I to judge them? Or diminish their prayer experience? I try not to. I don't think most priests care, or at least don't seem to mind.
Bishop Foy of Covington minds. He caused quite a stir a little over a year ago when he issued the following document within his diocese as a call to stop liturgical abuse and correctly implement the new Roman Missal. Check out the bottom of page 3 of his letter. "...therefore the extending or holding of hands by the faithful should not be performed." He is very clear about it.
I just searched for more information on what the GIRM (General Instruction of the Roman Missal) has to say about this and came across this document. (A good read). Hmmm, maybe I need to lighten up?
But today, a woman a few pews up was holding her hands VERTICALLY UP TO THE SKY, in such an exaggerated fashion, I just couldn't help to look and think, "What On Earth is she DOING???" ...
(Imagine somebody doing the YMCA dance, and jumping up at the letter "Y" and freezing in that position... it was like THAT and I have never seen anything remotely like that position done in a Catholic church before... this was a first.) It was so odd, in fact, I had to sneak a look at her while I was walking down the communion line. I was so distracted by her. (God, I only hope I have never caused this kind of distraction by kneeling for communion in a parish that doesn't normally do that, or by wearing an occassional veil when nobody else does that.) Whether liberal or conservative, when you are sticking out from the crowd, well you are really sticking out and people do notice.
But one thing I couldn't help to see when I stole a glance her way passing by, was the smile and a look of pure joy on her face. This woman truly was communing with the Holy Spirit and seemed to be in a very happy place. (Happier than me, for sure!) Well, good for her. I certainly wasn't going to say anything to her about her bizarre hand gesturing. I just hope she doesn't start a new trend, as I'm trying hard enough to deal with all the normal families holding hands in the regular way.
What do you all think about this? Yeah, or Nay, or No big deal and to each their own? Do you hold hands with your family? Do you raise them up (like the priest does)?
Do you raise them ALL the way up and do the YMCA?
Peace be with you! :-)