“And With Your Spirit” is back.

The new hymnal of the LCMS, Lutheran Service Book, did not make changes to the response to “The Lord Be With You”.  In DS 1&2, it is still, “And also with you.” However, they also didn’t change it in DS3, so there it is, “And with your spirit.”  (The ancient and proper response.)  Where did the newer (DS 1&2) form originate?  Vatican 2, of course.  It was used in the Novus Ordo that came out at that time.  “When the Pope sneezes, the Lutherans catch a cold.”  And boy did we catch this one.  At pastor’s conferences, when someone begins with “The Lord be with you” the understood response is “And also with you.”  Only a few malcontents are obdurate enough to say “And with your spirit”.

Well, this past Sunday, Rome back-dated the English version of the Mass.  (It is not an update, as it returns to the more ancient forms.)  The largest change, in many ways, was a return to “And with your spirit”, which is used five different times in the Roman Rite.  (It is only used three times in the Lutheran version.)

Anyway, all of that to say that Mike Aquilina has written an excellent post explaining the significance of “And with your spirit”.  While it is obviously from a Roman perspective, and contains certain Roman presuppositions that might make us uncomfortable, his basic thesis is sound.  The most important words are actually quoted from Saint Chrysostom:

“If the Holy Spirit were not in this your common father and teacher, you would not, just now, when he ascended this holy chair and wished you all peace, have cried out with one accord, ‘And with your spirit.’

Thus you cry out to him, not only when he ascends his throne and when he speaks to you and prays for you, but also when he stands at this holy altar to offer the sacrifice. He does not touch that which lies on the altar before wishing you the grace of our Lord, and before you have replied to him, ‘And with your spirit.’

By this cry, you are reminded that he who stands at the altar does nothing, and that the gifts that repose there are not the merits of a man; but that the grace of the Holy Spirit is present and, descending on all, accomplishes this mysterious sacrifice. We indeed see a man, but it is God who acts through him. Nothing human takes place at this holy altar.”

Read the whole article HERE.  It is worth your time.

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