It was the equivalent of a baseball pitcher saying he was about to throw me curve balls — and I still managed to swing and miss.
Nov. 26 was Opening Day for the long-awaited Roman Missal changes. Before 4:30 Mass began at Greece’s St. Charles Borromeo Church, Father John Firpo advised that many prayers had been reworded so we should follow along from a special pamphlet. Shortly into Mass Father Firpo said for the first time, "The Lord be with you."
"And also with you," I responded automatically, just like the previous couple of thousand times.
But the utterances around me, although I did detect a couple of "And also with yous," sounded more like "And with your spirit." Then I remembered.
My face turned red and my wife, who can’t stand being within a mile of public embarrassment, shot me a glare. I’d blown it on my very first try despite knowing for a year this was coming. What could be worse?
Doing it a second time, that’s what.
A few minutes later: "The Lord be with you." "And also with you."
This time I was the only violator I heard. Talk about a conditioned reflex, wow. Pavlov would’ve had a field day with me. "Read from the pamphlet!" my wife hissed.
The third time around, I started, "And also … " but caught myself.
Foul ball, we’ll say. Haven’t struck out … yet.
Now I began doubting myself in areas I never had. Was I going to botch the Lord’s Prayer? Is "amen" pronounced ay-men or ah-men?
Finally, for the last two "The Lord be with yous," I was ready.
"And with your spirit," I bellowed loud enough to be heard two aisles over, pumping my fist both times.