Reverent Rebellion

There is an assumption the super-hip-liberated man makes upon exposure to Catholic prayer, an assumption I am altogether too familiar with. He sees the kneeling, the folded hands, the bowing, and the posture and thinks — if he is a super-liberated-heathen — “Rebel! Stop cowering and sniveling before your deity! Have you no pride?” and if he is a super-liberated-Christian — “God is love! Stop cowering! He doesn’t care about your posture, or your clothes, he wants a personal relationship with you and that’s it! Loosen up!” This, of course, is a similar reaction to the one made by sullen Catholic teenagers pretending to think for themselves for the first time.

Needless to say, both assumptions have the entirely wrong view of reverence. Reverence is not a submission, it is a rebellion. There exists a god to rival the Christian God, a dictator we fight each and every day. His name is Entropy. He declares that all things shall break down, all buildings crumble, animals rot, and lives, no matter how lively, end.

This is the god Christ destroys. He destroys Entropy — that great Universal Law of Sloth — and claims that we shall not die at the end, but live. That the Earth will not crumble to dust but will be remade for eternity. That some things will grow until their perfection, not fade into nothingness. We are called to join in this rebellion against Entropy, to look forward to a life after death, and never to resign ourselves to merely crumble and fade. We are Christians — Death is dead.

Reverence then, is a joining in with this rebellion. If you were to stand a human being in a room and leave him there for an hour with no instruction, he would succumb to entropy. He would begin by standing, then by sitting, and then by laying down. He would crumble.

Real rebellion cannot be slouching in Mass, because slouching is what we naturally succumb to, given enough time. Real rebellion is kneeling down, straightening our bodies and folding our hands. We actively defy the law of Entropy at each Mass, and we should in all our prayer. Thus the constant atheistic cry that Christians are taught to cower before their God as an authoritarian dictator is false. We honor and adore him in our reverence, sure, but we also join with him in the battle against the crumbling of all things. And it must be note that if this is a cowardly submission to God, to slouch is merely a cowardly submission to Nature. Choose now who you will obey. As for me and my house…

  • Emily Rose

    Just starting reading your blog. I am not usually a fan of blogs, but I really love yours! You provide so much great info that you balance with a great modern, but not crude sense of humour. Keep up the good work and many blessings to you this Christmas season.


  • Nick Redmond

    very cool way to put it, marc… i am reminded of the feast (nov 9) of the dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome… a feast day for a building! and what are buildings and churches? man’s attempt to put into concrete this fight against entropy. i like that our Church has a feast day celebrating that.

  • Kweiss001

    Who is on the Lord’s side? #leviticalordination

  • Fisherman

    Thanks for posting a photo a Muslims praying for your article- which was really great! I have a Muslim friend and I’ve gone to a mosque and prayed with her before. I know “bowing before Allah” is something that Cornbread Christianity has come to fear but it’s probably on par with the beauty and confusion that comes with Catholics and the Mass. Also, did you see the Christians protecting the Muslims in Tahir square? It happened a while ago, so maybe I’m just late to the game…

  • Michelle Thuldanin

    As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord… one of my all time favorite bible quotes. Joshua really had it going on. And this blog fills my heart with joy. Perfect for Christmas. Who are we serving this Sunday, and every Sunday, and every day?

  • Bg4190

    I love that! One way I look at kneeling, bowing, etc is that it is a way for our bodies to pray along with the soul. This comess from what C.S Lewis said: “The body ought to pray as well as the soul. Body and soul are both the better for it. Bless the body” (The Joyful Christian, pp.89).

  • Patrick Hoelscher

    … we will serve the Lord. There, I finished that sentence for you

  • Anonymous

    Interesting note, RE: the idea of service, did you know that the word “samurai” comes from a verb meaning “to serve a lord” (saburau; “samurai” is the gerund form, after the “bu” became “mu” sometime between Old Japanese and now)? Similarly, though I have seen halfwits equate “vassal” to “serf”, in actual fact vassals were nobles—the only noble who wasn’t one was a king, since he didn’t hold in gift from a higher lord. In the older chansons de geste, for instance Roland, the concept we call “chivalry” is actually referred to as vassalage.

    Go ahead. Tell a samurai or a medieval knight that he serves his lord out of fear of him. I wanna see what happens.

    • SomeoneSmall


  • Anne_M

    Good article, from start to finish. Standing up to nature is never easy, and in the spiritual sense that is so true. It gets even harder when one goes through the “aging process” as well as when health issues begin to set in, such as for me, wear-and-tear arthritis in my knees. Being able to knee just about begins to get harder to do. So sitting and praying is the next best thing for me.

  • Erik Feltes

    I like it. The premise seems fairly similar to the underlaying theme of Chesterton’s “The Ball and the Cross.” That is that the cross is stands out from the ever monotonous circle of the world.

  • John

    But then again how do you explain away what I call applied Christian politics 101?

    Or the Papal Bulls that “authorized” and “justified” the Spanish-European invasion of, and the systematic plunder of the Americas, and thus by extension the rest of the world.
    And which effectively “authorized” the African slave trade – how many millions of living-breathing-feeling human beings were thus transported and slaughtered.

    Let us PREY indeed.

    Why not also check out the truth-telling book The Criminal History of the Papacy by Tony Bushby.