Friday, April 25, 2008

"Peace Be With You"

One thought and prayer that I often have during Mass is connecting with the church over time and space. Reciting prayers that have been said for thousands of years and that are being said today by millions around the world is a very powerful experience for me.

On a week-to-week basis, these kinds of thoughts require some abstraction. Sure, I can close my eyes and listen to the responses of those in the congregation around me. But there are many others who aren't there, yet who I nevertheless seek to be in communion with.

All of this became real in a very different sense for me at the Papal Mass. There I was, surrounded by tens of thousands of Catholics, from all over the Archdiocese and beyond. And in the midst of it all was Pope Benedict XVI, the successor of Peter who came from far away to be with us. After all of the pomp and circumstance, when it was time to begin the liturgy, the Pope issued that traditional greeting, "Peace be with you." I was totally unprepared for the incredibly loud and joyous response, "And also with you." This was what I had been imagining all of these years! I felt like I was getting a little glimpse into the church across time and space, and it was kind of overwhelming, actually. I never really was able to croak out a reply of my own, due to the emotions that immediately welled up inside of me.

And also with you!

~Steve

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