“Have you ever noticed that we speak a certain dialogue in the Mass before every important liturgical action or prayer? It is an expression of the roles of the priest and the people at Mass. When the priest says “The Lord be with you” (“Dominus vobiscum”), he prays that the Lord will be with the gathered faithful — the same Lord who, through Baptism, has made them share in a royal priesthood and who has said that where two or three are gathered in His name, He would be present (cf. 2 Pet 2:9, Mt 18:20).
In response, the gathered people respond: “And with your spirit” (“Et cum spiritu tuo”). Here, the faithful acknowledge the difference between the common priesthood of the baptized and the ministerial priesthood of the ordained, which is received through the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Not different, as in better than, but different in terms of role, responsibility, and reason to serve. In this Sacrament, the priest has been anointed with the same Holy Spirit that God sent down upon the 70 wise men who helped Moses rule the Israelites… It’s a special sharing through the same Holy Spirit in Christ’s Commissioning of His Apostles to lead the newly established Church.
By these greetings, the priest “signifies the presence of the Lord to the assembled community” and, together with the faithful, reminds us how “the mystery of the Church gathered together is made manifest” (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 50). In this way, the greetings help prepare us for the celebration of the Sacred Mysteries that are the Source and the Summit of the Christian life.” (Drawn from comments by Cardinal George Pell, K of C Article, 2011).
This important dialogue happens four times in the Sacrifice of the Mass. At the initial Greeting, when we are first gathering to pray and just before we acknowledge Christ the source of Forgiveness in the Penitential Rite. We experience this dialogue a second time before encounter Christ the Word in the Gospel – those uniquely important texts from Scriptures that record the words, actions, deeds, and events of Savior’s life, death, & resurrection. A third time the dialogue is spoken at the start of the Eucharistic prayer where we welcome the Word-made-Flesh Truly, Sacramentally, Really Present in our midst in the Eucharist. And finally a fourth time, as the priest calls down the blessing of the Triune God upon the people before sending them forth to live and love as Christ through word and deed. Each of these four actions is vitally important to our ability to encounter Christ and then to evangelize for Christ to others.
May the Lord be with you! And with your Spirit.
+ Nothing Less than saints for the Holy Family of God. +
Holy Family, Saintly Father, Blessed Mother, Divine Son, Pray for us.
~ Fr Jeremy M. Gries