The Priestly Greeting

This post is part of a series on Getting the Most Out of Mass: tips to best dispose yourself to receive graces available during Mass (this will be specifically about Sunday Mass, but some of these ideas will also apply to daily Mass). We’re in the section on the Introductory Rites.

What:

The priest extends his hands toward the congregation and greets them with one of the options below:

A

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.1

B

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.2

C

The Lord be with you.3

The congregation responds: “And with your spirit.”5

[Every priest has the option to use Latin during parts of the Mass. If yours chooses to do so, he would say one of the following:]

A

Gratia Domini nostri Jesu Christi, et caritas Dei, et communication Sancti Spiritus sit cum omnibus vobis.

B

Gratia vobis et pax a Deo Patre nostro et Domino Jesu Christo.

C

Dominus vobis cum.

If the priest uses Latin, the congregation responds: “Et cum spiritu tuo.”

Why:

… by means of the Greeting he signifies the presence of the Lord to the assembled community. By this greeting and the people’s response, the mystery of the Church gathered together is made manifest.

General Instruciton of the Roman Missal, 50

In this act of greeting, the priest represents God welcoming us. He does so using a line from scripture. The Catholic Church loves scripture and is always trying to saturate its prayers with scripture to steep our hearts and minds in God’s word.

By initiating this time in God’s name using the Sign of the Cross and continuing with this greeting, we show that Jesus’ Mystical Body is gathered, and since we are gathered in His name, the Head of the Body is present, too.6

Going Deeper:

As the priest offers this greeting, imagine The Holy Trinity standing behind him, offering you grace, love, communion, peace, and/ or Their Presence through the priest, and imagine yourself offering that same back to the priest. When you say “and with your spirit,” really focus on what it is you’re saying. Don’t let them roll off your tongue as empty words.

Also, take note that the priest is addressing the community. Mass is split between times where the priest talks to us, times where he talks to God (in these times, we are supposed to be saying the same words to God internally) alone or leads all of us in talking to God, and times where we are reflecting on what was just said or done. Staying conscious of this will help you to pray the Mass better.

Take a look at all the scriptural references below and reflect on how so much of our prayer in the Mass is taken from scripture and how the Church (as our Mother) is always trying to feed our souls with the Heavenly Food of Scripture.

See how St. Paul and the others used these same greetings and think about how these words connect us to our roots in an unbroken chain of succession from Jesus and the Apostles to today.

What About You?

  • How has devoutly participating in the Priestly Greeting helped you enter more deeply into the Mass?
  • Have you ever noticed how many times lines from scripture are recited throughout the Mass?

Footnotes:

  1. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14).
  2. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:7)
    Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:3)
    Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 1:2)
    Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ… (Galatians 1:3)
    Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1:2)
    Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Phillippians 1:2)
    Grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:2)
    Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philemon 1:3)
    Grace to you and peace from God our Father.” (Colossians 1:2)
    Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, to the Church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. (1 Thessalonians 1:1)
    …Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne… (Revelation 1:4)
    Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. (1 Timothy 1:2)
    Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. (2 Timothy 1:2)
    Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. (Titus 1:4)
    May grace and peace be multiplied to you. (1 Peter 1:2)
    Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love. (2 John 1:3)
  3. And behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem; and he said to the reapers, “The LORD be with you!” And they answered, “The LORD bless you.” (Ruth 2:4)
  4. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen. (Galatians 6:18)
    The Lord be with your spirit. (2 Timothy 4:22)
  5. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20)

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