And With Your Spirit: the words 1.0

14 Aug

A woman who had made the transition from the old way to the new way of celebrating Mass back in the late 1960s and early 1970s doesn’t mind the change from “And also with you” to “And with your spirit.” She says, “I like it. It makes it more special.”

It makes it more special, because this is not the way we usually greet each other when we see each other in the morning or when we meet each other during the day. When we are at Mass, though, we are doing something special, and something special is taking place.

It makes it more special, because this new English translation is closer to the actual Latin words that are in the Missal: Et cum spiritu tuo. Even better, it makes it more special because it brings us closer to the translations that many of the other people in the world already use, including those who speak Spanish (Y con tu espíritu), French (Et avec votre espirit), Italian (É con il tuo spirito) and German (Und mit deinem Geiste). When I get back to the Holy Land, I am going to check to see if the Arabic translation of the people’s response has some form of the word “spirit” in it.

It makes it more special, because this translation touches something deep in our Catholic memory. In the presence of anyone who has worshipped at Catholic Mass for longer than forty years say, “Dominus vobiscum,” and they will respond, “Et cum spiritu tuo.” They remember attending Mass when everything was spoken in Latin. And they remember that, when it was first permitted to translate the Mass into English, this response was translated, “And with your spirit,” just like they will say it again now. This “newer” translation is actually an “older” translation. Keeping in touch with our tradition is a big thing for Catholics.

This is how it will sound if the dialogue is chanted: And with your spirit.

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