Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: And with your spirit.
Laura and I attended 10:30 Mass this morning at Sacred Heart Cathedral for the First Sunday of Advent, which was celebrated by Bishop Michael Burbidge. This morning also marked the first singing of the new Roman Missal, Third Edition, alluded to in a previous post.
The revisions of the collect had notable changes, emboldened in our bulletin. The bold letters helped, though the words, many of them so similar to the previous form, were often run over, as many, including me, naturally reverted back to the previous edition.
Most notably, The Lord be with you / And with your spirit
For many, the old response, And also with you, rolled off the tongue without a thought. In fact the five different exchanges were each a small collision of the old form and the revisions running headlong into each other.
Now, I can see some holding out, not changing the familiar for the revision. I could also see the same pride in those who had done their homework, holding their head up to say, ‘yes, we are doing this today, and you should, too.’
The Latin reads, Et cum spiritu tuo, which has been literally brought into the revision, “And with your spirit”. Having taught Latin for seven years, I note that the new translation is in fact more faithful to the Latin. But does it matter? What does “et cum spiritu tuo / and with your spirit” actually mean to the Laity? More importantly (?), what is it supposed to mean for the Laity to say back to the celebrating priest “and may the Lord be with your spirit.” Perhaps this is were good, sound catechesis must emerge to help the lay faithful.
Do the words matter?
In his thoughts on the Mass, Know Him in the Breaking of the Bread (1994), Father Francis Randolph said of the old Latin Mass: We may use the head during prayer, just as we use hands and voices, but the real business of prayer is at a much deeper level of our being… When we use words in prayer, they are only a preparation, a vehicle, a means by which God can speak to us. (195-96)
I’ve been Roman Catholic since Easter 2003, so I had learned a English mass, which has now been revised. I’ve studied the Latin Mass, and attended the Forma Extraordinaria a few times (the first Sunday of each month at Sacred Heart Cathedral).
My wife Laura has been attending Mass with me though she is not Roman Catholic; she’s Presbyterian (PC-USA). She had not memorized the previous Mass, and so it is unique to be saying a new translation with her. She even “struck her breast” during the mea culpa / through my fault.
We’re learning it together.
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