Sacred Signs: Standing

Authored by Romano Guardini in Issue #31.1 of The Sower

This liturgical meditation is taken from Guardini’s book, Sacred Signs.

We have spoken of reverence towards the eternal God as demanding a definite, respectful attitude. He is so great, and we are so little, that we must acknowledge this even outwardly: it makes us small, it bids us kneel.

But this reverence can also be shown in another way. Imagine that you are lolling in a chair, either at rest or chatting with others. Someone comes who is worthy of special respect and begins to speak to you. Immediately you stand up and hold yourself upright, while you hear and answer. What does this signify?

Standing signifies, above all, that we pull ourselves together. Instead of the slack position of sitting, we take up a stiff, controlled attitude. It means that we are attentive: we are, as soldiers say, ‘at attention’. Standing has in it something of stress, of watchfulness. It shows that we are ready: he who stands can immediately go off here or there; he can undertake any task without delay; he can begin any work, as soon as he is shown what to do.

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