Wednesday, April 22, 2009

And With Your Spirit

Something that is not being talked about much (at least not around here) is the upcoming changes to the translation of Mass. Our bishops have been discussing the new translation and as a matter of fact the translation for the Ordinary of Mass (the parts that stay the same) has already been approved by the Vatican. Work is still being done on the Proper of Seasons. In a couple years we can look forward to some changes at Mass.

The Church is trying to make the new translations a more faithful reflection of the original Latin texts. The official Mass of the Latin rite (the Mass we attend every week) is written in Latin and all translations come from it. Unfortunately for us English speaking folks they did not translate the Latin very closely. They instead used a translation model called Dynamic Equivalence the result was the loss of a great deal of the beauty in our Mass prayers (that would be my opinion).

I thought I would start looking at the new translations and share my thoughts with you here. You can find a study copy of the Ordo Missae at the USCCB website.

If you follow that link one of the first changes that you will run into is the greeting:

2. Then the Priest, extending his hands, greets the people, saying:

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the communion of the Holy Spirit
be with you all.


Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.


The Lord be with you.

The people reply:

And with your spirit.

What's up with that?

The Latin text from where this comes is: "et cum spiritu tuo". And with your spirit is clearly a more accurate translation, but why?

Some think that it is a bit awkward to say "and with your spirit", but it is a reference to Paul's second letter to Timothy (2 Timothy 4:22). Paul also uses this form of address in his letter to the Galatians (Galatians 6:18). If you read Paul's letters he talks quite about about the actions of the Spirit in his life. It was important to him and it should be to us as well. By saying "And with your spirit" we are recognizing the Holy Spirit who was poured out upon the priest at his ordination, the same Holy Spirit who provides the Eucharist for us though the consecrated hands of the priest.

The words and actions that the Church has selected for the Mass have meaning and are important. I hope to continue to explore and share my thoughts on these changes as I get further in to the new translations.

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