Tuesday, November 29, 2011

On Neutrinos and the news words at Mass

By Jeanette Arnquist
Director, Ministry of Life Dignity and Justice

A few weeks ago, as I was driving home I heard about an experiment in which it appeared that scientists had measured neutrinos, those little electrically-neutral, sub-atomic particles, traveling faster than the speed of light.  When I went to school, they didn’t even have neutrinos, or at least they didn’t teach us about them.  I had to Google them. Wow! This story is all over the Internet, and if it is true, it has implications which I simply cannot imagine, much less understand.

Similarly, when it became apparent this year that I needed a new cell phone, I found that I didn’t even have the vocabulary to discuss it with a clerk one-third my age.

It is a cliché that our world is changing so rapidly that it is almost impossible to keep up.  Most of us don’t like change, especially in the Church.  I remember very well how controversial it was when the language of the Mass changed to English in the late 1960s.  Many people complained about how the beauty and mystery were being lost. 

Perhaps still smarting from a D in high school Latin, I was excited about the change.  The new translations caught my attention and made me reflect on the meaning of the words.  It deepened my faith.  And at that time I promised myself that I would never become an old lady grousing at changes in the Mass.

So here we are, more than 40 years later.  The language of the Mass is changing again and I am old.  I am not a liturgist and so I adopted a “wait and see” attitude.  During my first Mass with the new language I stumbled repeatedly.  How many times am I going to say, “and also with you.” when the paper I am holding says, in bold print, “and with your spirit?” After a couple of days I have managed to say, “and also with you-r spirit” most of the time, but old habits of speech die hard. 

The good news is that for the most part the new words woke me up again and made me once again reflect on the meaning of the words.

1 comment:

  1. I was very confident. In our Creed, we speak of the four marks of the Church. One of them is "Apostolic." Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and gave them full authority. The realities of Jesus as Priest, Prophet, and King, translate into the Apostolic ministries or worship, teaching, and governing. All three touch the reasons for the new translation. It's a lot easier to have confidence in the Apostolic action through faith in our Creed than to wrestle with it. This to me is couraageous submission to what Jesus established.

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