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Parish News

The New Translation — “And with your Spirit”
Friday, July 15th 2011

Did you know that the translation of the Mass which we currently use is going to change? Over the coming weeks we will have short articles which will help us understand what these changes are and why they have come about.

‘And with your spirit’

One of the first things we will notice with the new translation is that, when the priest says ‘The Lord be with you’, we will now say ‘And with your spirit’. This is the literal translation of what we find in the Latin text “et cum spiritu tuo”. This direct translation is already found in other languages, for example, German, Italian, French & Spanish. When the Mass was first translated into English we were one of only two languages that did not translate it as ‘your spirit’.

The source for this dialogue between priest and people is very much scripture: in four of his letters, St. Paul uses the following greetings: Galatians 6:18 – May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit; Philippians 4:23 – The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your Spirit; 2 Timothy 4:22 – The Lord be with your spirit; Philemon v25 – The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

Similar greetings can be found in the Old Testament. If you think about it, for nearly 2,000 years Christians have been greeting each other, ‘The Lord be with you’, ‘and with your spirit.’ So the new translation will bring unity to this response in all the languages of the world – and with all previous Christian generations.

What does “your spirit” mean?

It does not refer to the Holy Spirit though it is spoken to people who live according to that Spirit. For St. Paul the spirit is our spiritual part that is close to God. “And with your spirit” is about having the spirit or mind of Christ as your guiding light, as what guides us through the day – a Christian spirit.

While it will sound unfamiliar to us this greeting and response captures our biblical roots. It is recognition of the spirit among us as Christians, a spirit that we must live. In greeting one another, it proclaims the presence of Christ among us as previously explained.

This greeting and response occurs five times in the Mass. [ Greeting at the beginning of Mass / Introduction to the Gospel / Dialogue to the Preface & Eucharistic Prayer / Sign of Peace / Final Dismissal ]

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