Well, today is Friday and already I’m thinking about mass this weekend. For those of you who may not be aware (that is, you non-Catholics out there and Catholics who don’t attend mass regularly – you know who you are), some changes were made recently to the text of the mass. The church has been in a constant state of defending the changes, claiming the new version is much more closely aligned with the orignal Latin text. And, even though my daughter has a very impressive grade in her Latin class (as of the last time I checked), I doubt she is capable of corroborating this line of reasoning. And, I’m not sure how far I would get challenging the changes based on my high school junior’s limited Latin (beyond, “Et tu, Brutus?”)
I have to admit, though, that when I first learned of the impending changes, I was thrown into a state of utter panic. “What do you mean I have to learn new responses?” I’m still trying to get used to taking Communion in the hand (which I finally gave in to a few years ago) and the handshake of peace, both of which were added to the mass back in the seventies. I was at least relieved to see that our church had cheat sheets for us to refer to. And those first few weeks were pretty much train wrecks with people struggling to respond properly. So, I was not alone. But as time has passed, I’ve noticed that most everyone has caught on and life has pretty much returned to normal for them, having transitioned rather seamlessly. Except for me and my BWB partner, who STILL cannot remember the correct responses. My excuse is that, for the major changes, such as the recited Nicene Creed, I am prepared with my missalette. I know it’s coming up and I’m so ready. It’s the response to the “Peace be with you” that gets me. And not just sometimes. EVERY SINGLE TIME. I think because it’s slipped in so innocently throughout the mass that I so easily say “And also with you” which, by the way is WRONG. And my response seems to always be the lone one in the sea of correct responses (“And with your Spirit” which, my Protestant friends and Catholic priests have reassured me is the historically correct phrase).
But, this is the part that really kills me. How is it that I, while in the early (very early) stages of middle age cannot, for the life of me, remember to say “And with your Spirit”, but every senior citizen can? Hmmm….? Seriously, what is that all about? My BWB partner was visiting her parents in Florida recently and went to mass with them. She said she was, by far, the youngest person in attendance by a few decades, and yet every one of them responded properly and she was swearing under her breath whenever she uttered, “And also with you.” That’s what got us talking about it. Are we as alone as we feel in this? Have these changes presented the same feelings of trauma and stress for you, as well? And were the changes really necessary? I know who will say “Yes”, but I’m not buying it. So, I’ve decided to stay mum during mass to prevent further embarrassment to my family as I stifle my frustration with each incorrect response that comes so effortlessly from my lips.