The Roman Catholic Church has changed the liturgical response to the greeting, “The Lord be with you” back to “And with your spirit.” This is a change from the more modern liturgies that had switched to the more colloquial “And also with you.”
The more modern Lutheran liturgies of the 1980s made the same change, though users of the older services–as well as Divine Service 3 of the new Lutheran Service Book–continued to say “And with your spirit.”
The new Catholic explanations I’ve read say that the “spirit” refers to the Holy Spirit. The greeting thus recognizes the priest as bringing the Holy Spirit with him.
But that doesn’t seem to make linguistic sense. The Lord be with the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit IS the Lord.
I think what’s happening is that the congregation is praying for the pastor–specifically, praying for his spirit, for his soul–as he, mortal that he is, becomes an instrument through whom God will act by means of His Word and sacraments.
Is that right? Or are there other meanings?