October 11th

After the priest and people make the Sign of the Cross together the priest greets the faithful with a liturgical greeting.  This greeting can have a more complex Trinitarian formula, or it can be the simple greeting: “The Lord be with you.”

This liturgical greeting is not a mere “good morning”; this greeting goes above and beyond any colloquial salutation.  By this liturgical greeting the priest is praying that God will assist you to attentively and actively participate at Mass with all your heart.  The faithful respond to this liturgical greeting in kind by praying that the Lord be with the priest as well and help him to be attentive to what he is doing.

There is a total of four times during the Mass when the priest prays that the Lord will be with the people, to inspire their hearts that they may be attentive and open, and the people respond by asking the Lord to be with the priest as well.  The first time is this greeting at the very beginning of the Mass, as was just mentioned.

The second time that the priest asks God to be with the people is at the beginning of the high point of the liturgy of the Word: the reading of the holy Gospel.  The priest prays that the Lord be with the people, that their hearts may be open to receiving the Word of God.  The people ask that the Lord will be with the priest, as he proclaims the Gospel and as he breaks open the Word in his homily.

The third time that this liturgical greeting is used is at the beginning of the Preface, which is the beginning of the summit of the entire Mass: the Eucharistic prayer.  The Lord is again invoked that we may all be aided by grace, so that we can be focused on what it is that is about to take place upon our altar: the Lord is about to be made truly present at the words of the priest.

The fourth and final time that this greeting is exchanged is right before the dismissal at the end of Mass, as we are all about to be sent out into the world to share the Good News of what our God has done for us.  This time, we pray that the Lord will continue to be with us and accompany us as we all go on our way.

“The Lord be with you” is a prayer; it is also a good reminder to pray for your priests as they pray for you.  Let us continue to lift one another up, in prayer, to Our Heavenly Father.  May the Lord be with you during this upcoming week!

God bless,

Father White


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