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Kwan Chua wrote:

Hi, guys —

My question is in relation to one who has the charism of moving one's hands to Gospel songs hence CCC 800 and CCC 2003.


800 Charisms are to be accepted with gratitude by the person who receives them and by all members of the Church as well. They are a wonderfully rich grace for the apostolic vitality and for the holiness of the entire Body of Christ, provided they really are genuine gifts of the Holy Spirit and are used in full conformity with authentic promptings of this same Spirit, that is, in keeping with charity, the true measure of all charisms.


2003 Grace is first and foremost the gift of the Spirit who justifies and sanctifies us. But grace also includes the gifts that the Spirit grants us to associate us with his work, to enable us to collaborate in the salvation of others and in the growth of the Body of Christ, the Church.

There are sacramental graces, gifts proper to the different sacraments.

There are furthermore special graces, also called charisms after the Greek term used by St. Paul and meaning favor, gratuitous gift, benefit.

Whatever their character — sometimes it is extraordinary, such as the gift of miracles or of tongues — charisms are oriented toward sanctifying grace and are intended for the common good of the Church. They are at the service of charity which builds up the Church.

I understand during Mass, one is not supposed to their raise hands in worship during the liturgy but I seem compelled to move my hands during the Gloria and when there is singing and the priest's hands are not in orans position.

Thank you and regards.


  { What should I do if, I know I shouldn't move my hands during the Gloria, but seem compelled to? }

Mike replied:

Dear Kwan,

The question you have asked falls under the category of the rubrics of the Mass.

These are standardized ways that the Church has decided the worshipping faithful should act during the various portions of the Mass. defines rubric as: a direction for the conduct of divine service or the administration of the sacraments, inserted in liturgical books.

If we didn't have rubrics, the faithful in the church could be doing a million different things during each part of the Mass. The end reason would be there would be no unity in worship; symbolizing no unity in faith.

That said, if moving your hands during the Gloria doesn't take away from the purpose of having rubrics, I see no problem.

The best advice I can give you is to talk to your pastor, in whatever country you live in, and get his advice.

My colleagues may have their own view on this as well.


Anonymous Andrew replied:

Dear Kwan,

Wanting to express devotion to God through gestures is a good thing. At the same time, if you use the common gestures of the congregation, that is a way to express unity and love.

In some groups within the church, it is accepted for people to raise their hands during prayers.

For example, this is common in prayer groups of the charismatic movement. In that kind of group, to raise your hands would not be unusual. On the other hand, in most parishes at Sunday Mass, it would be unusual and probably distracting to other people if a layman in the congregation raises his hands. In that situation, it is probably best to be kind to other people by limiting your gestures so that they do not become a distraction.

Also, I should mention that the orans position is a specifically priestly gesture, so lay Catholics should not raise their hands in the same way.

Fraternally in Christ,


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