• Father David M. Knight

A Linguistic Link


Easter Thursday, April 5, 2018

The Holy Spirit unifies the Church over time as well as space. As the language understood by the

congregation passed from Hebrew to Greek to Latin, and then into the "vernacular" (language spoken by the ordinary people), the Mass has preserved some Hebrew words (Hosanna, Amen, Sabaoth), Greek (Kyrie eleison), and Latin (Agnus Dei…, Gloria…, Sanctus…) for regular or occasional use in any country. The General Instructions for the Roman Missal (GIRM 9) tell us this "preserves understanding… of the Church’s entire past and of all the ways in which her one and only faith has been set forth in the quite diverse human and social forms prevailing in the Semitic, Greek, and Latin areas. Moreover, this broader view allows us to see how the Holy Spirit endows the People of God with a marvelous fidelity in preserving the unalterable deposit of faith, even amid a very great variety of prayers and rites."

In our day parish liturgies foster unity through "inclusive language." And congregations will often include words or hymns in the language of an immigrant group in order to emphasize the "communion in the Holy Spirit" that makes us one in spite of our diversity of language. This is the work of the Holy Spirit.

ACTION: Make an effort to "think inclusively" in business, politics, and social life. Respect others' feelings and deliberately emphasize unity with respect for diversity.

PRAYER: Lord, let us be one as you are one, "in the unity of the Holy Spirit."

#HolySpirit

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