And with your spirit

As a practicing Catholic, I am an observer of the Church and its positions on various matters. Sometimes I scratch my head in wonder, like the latest item I saw today where the Church is considering immediate excommunication for any stem cell researcher. Huh? Wasn't Jesus'message about healing the sick and affirming life?

Or this item from a few weeks ago where the Vatican is appealing to the Anglicans not to ordain women. What the heck? Didn't Jesus call women to his way as well as men?

The Church is its own worst enemy sometimes.

Recently however the American Catholic bishops issued a press release regarding some further changes to the Mass, including one that I like a lot. It would be a distinct improvement, in my humble opinion.

Currently, the following exchange occurs several times in the Mass:

Priest: The Lord be with you.
Congregation: And also with you.

When the change goes into effect, we will say:

Priest: The Lord be with you.
Congregation: And with your spirit.

Where did that come from, you ask? In the Latin Mass (which went by-the-way a few decades ago), the exchange went like this:

Priest: Dominus vobiscum. (The Lord be with you)
Response: Et cum spiritu tuo. (And with your spirit)

This feels quite similar to the expression "namaste" which some have translated as "I bow to/honor the divine spirit within you and within me."

I don't know why the Church is making this change, but I support it. Imagine the spiritual reverberations that could ripple out from so simple an acknowledgement?

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 07/01/06

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