Monday, August 6, 2007

Dominus Vobiscum

In the catholic church of my youth the mass was always celebrated in Latin. I can still recall some of the phrases used by the priest who had his back to us. "Kyrie Eleison" and "In nomine Patris, et Filii, + et Spiritus Sancti. Amen." are two that i remember but the most familiar would be "dominus vobiscum" to which we would reply, "et cum spiritu tuo" a kid i thought we were saying etcum spirit 2-2-0!!!! ("the lord be with you" & "and also with you")...

So why am i writing about this? because i long for fresh views of what these prayers mean that we find in the liturgy. As a child they were rote and spoken in a dead language but in my new home of the Episcopal church the collect is read by the celebrant before the readings of the day. I recently picked up a book of collect prayers in a used bookstore and was amazed by how beautiful they were and read that "collective prayer is an inclusive event". I'm still learning what that might mean but i found it interesting that there is more than one translation for the exchange that occurs before the collect. In the catholic church which used latin, DOMINUS VOBISCUM did sound a bit like a spell out of a harry potter book! Besides "the Lord be with you" which connotes something that will happen in the future i discovered that it can be translated as "the Lord IS with you" or better yet "the Lord is HERE, His Spirit is with us." And i need to know that God is here, right now, in this place...and when the celebrant ends with "let us pray" before the reading of the collect i will be thinking "collective prayer"...we're all in this together!

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