Of Crystal Balls…

One does not need to be clairvoyant to know that some things will be changing in 2011.  A quick visit to the USCCB (United States Catholic Conference of Bishops) tells me that beginning the first Sunday of Advent, Nov. 27, 2011, the new translations of the mass will be put into place.

There is much work that must be done prior to that day.  Some of that work falls into the hands of the musicians, as new settings for the mass must be composed.  Choirs will then have to learn those settings, so that they can lead us in our singing of the new mass parts.  As a congregation, we’ll have to practice those mass parts prior to that weekend, so we’ll be ready to pray them.

As a congregation, we’ll have to re-learn some of our ‘automatic responses’.  When the priest says:  “The Lord be with you,” we’ll have to be ready to respond, not with “and also with you,” as we have been accustomed to doing, but with: “And with your spirit.”  And we’ll have to know WHY we are saying: “And with your spirit.”

(Spoiler alert!)  We’ll use that response because it is a more accurate translation of the Latin that many of you may remember from the Latin mass: “et cum spiritu tuo.”  But more than that, it matches the response that already exists in most other major languages, including Spanish, French, Italian and German, signifying our union with the universal church.

The purpose of this greeting is not just to say Hello or Good Morning. It alerts participants that they are entering a sacramental realm and reminds them of their responsibilities during the time we will be spending in prayer.

Both the greeting and the reply come directly from our scriptures.  “The Lord be with you” appears as a greeting in Judges 6:12, Ruth 2:4, 2 Chronicles 15:2, and Luke 1:28.  “And with your spirit” is inspired by passages that conclude four of the New Testament epistles: 2 Timothy 4:22, Galatians 6:18, Philippians 4:23, and Philemon 25.  Paul addresses the words to the Christian community, not to one minister.

The two parts of this greeting express a desire that the Lord be present to the spirit of the entire community, and roots us more deeply in the scriptures.  In the case of the greeting, it brings us into the language of St. Paul.

…More to come during the course of the year…