Welcoming the New Translation of the Roman Missal Part II...

Until Easter, there will be a series of articles dedicated to a further understanding of the Mass in anticipation of the new translation of the

Roman Missal that will be implemented in Advent 2011 (November 27th of this year).

The Greeting (by Mr. Phil Kosloski)

To continue our series on the different parts of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we continue to examine the Introductory Rites and take a look at "The Greeting.”

"As an expression of veneration, moreover, the priest and deacon then kiss the altar itself; as the occasion suggests, the priest also incenses the cross and the altar." (GIRM, 49)

The reason for the kiss is threefold: (1) the altar is "a symbol of Christ [Himself]...for the five crosses which are cut into the stone recall Our Lord's five wounds." (2) To venerate the Saints who are encased in the altar stone. (3) "By the kiss [the priest] signifies the union typified by the kiss which the Spouse gives to His Bride;" thus representing the priest's relationship to the Church. (This is the Mass, 36).

Why a kiss? "The kiss was actually very common in ancient culture. The temple was honored by kissing the threshold. In pagan culture it was common to greet the images of the gods either by kissing it directly or throwing a kiss. Likewise it was not uncommon in the ancient world to kiss the family meal table with a kiss before the meal. Hence it was not surprising to find the practice brought into Christian worship" (Msgr. Charles Pope)
"When the Entrance chant is concluded, the priest stands at the chair and, together with the whole gathering, makes the Sign of the Cross. Then he signifies the presence of the Lord to the community gathered there by means of the Greeting. By this Greeting and the people's response, the mystery of the Church gathered together is made manifest." (GIRM, 50)

" The celebrant makes the holy sign which is, above all others, the mark of the beginning; in it and by it are all things done and brought to fulfillment: it is the emblem which sums up the fullness of all things known and concealed, the sacred sign of the Cross" (This is the Mass, 40)

After the sign of the cross, the celebrant greets the people with " The Lord be with you" and the people respond with a new response "And with your spirit." This new response replaces the old translation of "And also with you." The reasoning behind the change is as follows:

"This [translation] more adequately reflects the Latin text of the Mass [et cum spiritu tuo] and the biblical language of St. Paul....It also more fully expresses an important theological point. When we said, 'And also with you' in the older translation, one might get the impression that our response was merely intended to express an exchange of personal greetings or reciprocal good will...But there is much more to this response. When a man is ordained a priest, the Holy Spirit comes upon him in a unique way, enabling him to perform the sacred rites of the Mass and consecrate the Eucharist. By responding, 'And with your spirit,' we acknowledge the Spirit's activity through the priest during the sacred liturgy. " (A Guide to the New Translation of the Mass, 10)
Next week’s article: The Confiteor