I went to church at least once a week since the day of my conception through my nineteenth year of life. Although I have no memory of originally hearing or saying “and also with you”, the response became a reflex. If you plopped me in a pew while I was in a coma, the priest could give his cue and “and also with you” would pass my lips before my next belabored, artificial breathe.
The forced proximity of working in and living above a church for one college semester made me emotionally tired of genuflecting. Sleeping in and Yoga gradually replaced the Sunday morning tradition. Beyond Easter, Mother’s Day and Christmas, there are a few other occasions that I Google Saint-Something-or-Other’s PDF bulletin for mass times.
At church, I know the drill. Actually, I am a pro. I can sit, stand and kneel the shit out of that ceremony. I don’t feel like a pro in life. I don’t know how to respond or which direction to turn or how others seem to navigate so easily while I struggle. Shouldn’t there be some standard procedure for this? Some book I can reference? During one hour on a Sunday, I could partake in something predictable and secure without the chaotic world’s interruption.
You can imagine my surprise when I was about to respond with the same phrase for the three-thousandth time and the other parishioners overpowered me with a resounding “And with your Spirit.”
As I write this to you, I am still trying to convince myself: If the Catholic Church is capable of change, then I can handle change too! Change is okay. But the three year old inside of me is still stamping her feet and whining “I liiiiked it the way it was!”