Skip to comments.“And With Your Spirit” – It’s Not What You Think
Posted on 05/27/2010 3:00:07 AM PDT by markomalley
Of all the questions Ive had about the New Translation of the Roman Missal the most common revolves around the response of the people And with your spirit as a replacement for the current And also with you. One woman said to me, It sounds as if our bodies no longer matter?
Flawed Premise? Most of the controversy around the issue is premised on a notion that the current expression And also with you is a more formal equivalent of Same to you. As if, when the Priest says The Lord be with you and the congregation were to respond Same to you, Father. But this is not really what is being said by the congregation or what is meant by the Latin response et cum spiritu tuo (and with your spirit). The current translation is not only inaccurate, it is misleading because most people think they are say same to you, Father.
Well, if that isnt what is being said, what really is being said? In effect, the expression et cum spiritu tuo (soon to be accurately translated and with your spirit) is an acknowledgement by the congregation of the grace and presence of Christ who is present and operative in the spirit or soul of the celebrant. Christs Spirit is present in the priest in a unique way in virtue of his ordination. Hence what the dialogue means is:
This understanding of the dialogue was not uncommon among the Fathers of Church. For example St. John Chrysostom wrote:
If the Holy Spirit were not in our Bishop [referring to Bishop Flavian of Antioch] when he gave the peace to all shortly before ascending to his holy sanctuary, you would not have replied to him all together, And with your spirit. This is why you reply with this expression .reminding yourselves by this reply that he who is here does nothing of his own power, nor are the offered gifts the work of human nature, but is it the grace of the Spirit present and hovering over all things which prepared that mystic sacrifice. (Pentecost Homily)
The priest or bishop who celebrates Mass is configured to Christ by the Sacrament of Holy Orders. The Spirit of Christ is in him in a unique way that is unlike any other non-ordained member of the congregation. The priest acts in persona Christi. That is, Christ personally ministers through him in such a way that we say that Christ is the true priest and celebrant of every Mass. The phrase and with your spirit is an acknowledgment and statement of faith in this fact. The congregation says in effect, We acknowledge the Spirit, presence and grace of Christ in your spirit father.
A hat tip to Louie Verrechio for bringing this to my attention and for the quote from St, John Chrysostom. You can read his article here: No Mere Greeting
This understanding of the Greeting and response is confirmed by the fact that only a Bishop, priest or deacon may give the greeting The Lord be with you and hence receive the response, and with your spirit. For example the General Instruction for the Celebration of Mass in the Absence of a Priest says:
The layperson is not to use words that are proper to a priest or deacon and is to omit rites that are too readily associated with the Mass, for example, greetings especially The Lord be with you and dismissals, since these might give the impression that the layperson is a sacred minister. (SCAP # 39)
Disclaimer: Not all Sacramental Theologians accept this line of thinking. There is seldom perfect agreement on most things liturgical and how they are historically understood. However the view presented here seems largely to be the thinking in Rome and on the Vox Clara Commission which is responsible for overseeing the New Translation. I attended a gathering of all the priests of the Archdiocese of Washington yesterday on the topic of the New Translation. Msgr. Anthony Sherman, who is coordinating the implementation of the New Translation for the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), confirmed for us that this is part of the thinking in returning to the older and with your spirit translation. The other reason is that almost all of the other major language translations render the Latin et cum spiritu tuo as And with your spirit.
My son emailed me a list of the changes to the traditional Catholic Mass/Prayers. I just don’t like them, maybe I’m an oldtimer (47 yo) but they sound a bit politically correct. That was my impression.
A lot of the controversy about this has come from the more liberal wing of the Church...because they are too "challenging" for the "sheeple" to understand.
In fact, this new translation is a whole lot more faithful to the original Latin text of the Novus Ordo.
And the other, other reason is that the Church has been saying this as far back as we can remember.
They are as old as the Church. The manner to which you are accustomed and, indeed, with which you grew up is only as old as you are and goes back to Vatican II liturgical innovations in 1964.
Far from Politically correct.
What they are correct to is the translation from the Latin Vulgate. Check out the Latin and Douay Rheims translations that annalex post to the Daily Readings threads — and you will see the similarities.
Saying it for a long, long time!!!!!
I have always thought that the current translations were very politically correct sounding. The new ones actually strike me as the opposite, and sound much more intentionally religious and sacred.
I’m fine with St. John Chrysostom’s explanation of “and with your spirit”, but even if the phrase is just “Semitic parallelism” as some maintain and is just a fancy Hebraic way of saying “and also with you”, we should still say “and with your spirit” for that very reason. If it is Semitic parallelism, then it is a link to the most ancient form of the liturgy, i.e., when it was still organically connected with Jewish practices of the time of Jesus and the apostles.
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