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Sacred Signs
by Romano Guardini

KNEELING



WHEN a man feels proud of himself, he stands erect, draws himself

to his full height, throws back his head and shoulders and says

with every part of his body, I am bigger and more important than

you. But when he is humble he feels his littleness, and lowers

his head and shrinks into himself. He abases himself. And the

greater the presence in which he stands the more deeply he abases

himself; the smaller he becomes in his own eyes.



But when does our littleness so come home to us as when we stand

in God's presence? He is the great God, who is today and

yesterday, whose years are hundreds and thousands, who fills the

place where we are, the city, the wide world, the measureless

space of the starry sky, in whose eyes the universe is less than

a particle of dust, all-holy, all-pure, all-righteous, infinitely

high. He is so great, I so small, so small that beside him I seem

hardly to exist, so wanting am I in worth and substance. One has

no need to be told that God's presence is not the place in which

to stand on one's dignity. To appear less presumptuous, to be as

little and low as we feel, we sink to our knees and thus

sacrifice half our height; and to satisfy our hearts still

further we bow down our heads, and our diminished stature speaks

to God and says, Thou art the great God; I am nothing.



Therefore let not the bending of our knees be a hurried gesture,

an empty form. Put meaning into it. To kneel, in the soul's

intention, is to bow down before God in deepest reverence.



On entering a church, or in passing before the altar, kneel down

all the way without haste or hurry, putting your heart into what

you do, and let your whole attitude say, Thou art the great God.

It is an act of humility, an act of truth, and everytime you

kneel it will do your soul good.














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