The altar is a symbol of sacredness in the Catholic Church. It represents the place where Jesus was crucified and where he rose from the dead. By kissing the altar, the priest is acknowledging that he is performing his duties on holy ground. He is also asking for God’s blessing on himself and on those who are gathered to celebrate mass.
What Is the Signification of the Kiss?
When you step into a Catholic church, one of the first things you’ll notice is that the priest kisses the altar before beginning the mass. But what does this gesture mean?
The kiss is a sign of reverence and respect. It’s a way of showing that the priest is humble before God and that he’s not there to serve himself, but to serve his congregation.
It’s also a way of acknowledging that the altar is a sacred space, and that everything that happens there is done in the presence of God. So when you see a priest kiss the altar, remember that it’s a sign of respect and devotion—and know that he’s doing it for you.
When Did the Tradition Start?
The tradition of Catholic priests kissing the altar before celebrating mass is a centuries-old one. But its origins are a bit of a mystery.
Some believe that the practice started as a way of showing respect to the altar. Others say that it’s a way of symbolically transferring the power and authority of the priest to the altar. And still others think that it’s a sign of reverence for the presence of God.
No one knows for sure why the tradition began, but it’s been a part of Catholic ceremonies for centuries.
Why Is the Altar Kissed?
You’re probably wondering why the priests kiss the altar before celebrating the mass. It’s a tradition that dates back centuries, and there are a few different reasons why it’s done.
One theory is that the kiss is a sign of respect for the altar, which is seen as a sacred space. Another explanation is that the kiss is meant to show reverence for Jesus Christ, who is believed to be present on the altar.
Another reason pertains to the relics of saints that are contained within each altar. During the first centuries, the altar was often a stone slab placed over the tomb of a martyr. Typically, this took place in catacombs which you can still visit in Rome today. The memorial for Christ’s death is nowhere more fittingly celebrated than on the tombs of the faithful who had died for him. This is the origin of custom of setting in the altar-stone a cavity in which relics of martyrs or other saints are enclosed.
In the Book of Revelation, St. John says, “I saw beneath the altar the souls of all who had been slain for love of God’s word” (6:90). Some people believe that this passage refers to Mass rites over a martyr’s tomb in Church tradition. However, this tradition is as old as time and dates back to the time of Apostle John himself.
And finally, some people believe that the kiss is meant to signify the unity of the priest and congregation, with the priest acting as a representative of Christ. Whatever the reason, it’s a tradition that’s been around for a long time and isn’t likely to go away anytime soon.
What Are Other Significations of the Kiss?
When a Catholic priest enters the altar, he will kiss it as a sign of respect. But what are some of the other significations of the kiss?
Well, for one, it’s a sign of reverence. By kissing the altar, the priest is acknowledging that he is standing on holy ground. Additionally, the kiss is a symbol of unity. When the priest kisses the altar, he is uniting himself with Christ, who is present on the altar.
Finally, the kiss is also a sign of love. By kissing the altar, the priest is expressing his love for God and for all those who are gathered in prayer.
How Do Priests Kissing the Altar Before Mass Impact Catholics?
When you attend a Catholic mass, one of the first things you’ll likely see is the priest kissing the altar. But do you know why he does this?
Kissing the altar is a sign of respect and reverence for the Eucharist, which is the bread and wine that are consecrated and become the body and blood of Christ. By kissing the altar, the priest is acknowledging that he is unworthy to celebrate mass and that it is only through the power of God that the sacrament can be performed.
This ritual also serves as a reminder to Catholics that the Eucharist is not just a symbol, but is actually the real body and blood of Christ. And when they see their priest showing such reverence for it, they are more likely to take it seriously as well.
Father Martin’s View on Why Priests Kiss the Altar
Father Martin has a theory about why Catholic priests kiss the altar before celebrating the mass. “I think it’s a way of saying, ‘I’m not worthy to be here,'” he says. “It’s a way of humbling oneself before God.”
He goes on to say that the altar is really the focal point of the church, and that it’s a place of great holiness. “When you kiss the altar, you’re kissing Christ Himself,” he says.
To Father Martin, the act of kissing the altar is an expression of reverence and love. It’s a way of acknowledging that we are all sinners, and that we need Jesus’ forgiveness.
When a Catholic priest celebrates the mass, he first kisses the altar. But why?
The answer lies in the history of the Catholic Church. The altar is a symbol of Christ, and when a priest kisses it, he is showing his reverence for Christ and his dedication to serving Him.
Kissing the altar is also a way of reaffirming the priest’s commitment to celibacy. By kissing the altar, he is pledging to put God first in his life and to never put himself before God.
Kissing the altar is a symbolic ritual that has deep significance for Catholic priests. If you’re curious about why priests do it, now you know!