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Ad Deum: The Sign of Peace

Of the 24 Rites of the Catholic Church (of which we are the Roman, or Latin, Rite), I am most fascinated by the Chaldean's sign of peace. First, the Chaldeans are the modern-day Iraqi Catholics, whose Mass is not in Latin or the vernacular but in Aramaic, the language we believe Jesus Christ to have spoken with His disciples. The first time I heard the Our Father in Aramaic I got goosebumps all over, as these were, mostly likely, the closest words we have to the Our Father that Jesus first taught.

Back to the sign of peace, it is only one to another, like when we pass the Easter light between candles. But it starts at the altar. The priest brings his hands together over the Eucharist, as if he is collecting up wisping grace into his folded hands; when he turns to the deacon, the deacon brushes his hands over the hands of the priest, as he receives into his now folded hands the peace that comes from the Eucharist. Then to the servers, then to the congregation.

Since we have moved to the Ad Deum orientation, as the celebrant, I get to move out of the way of Christ in the Eucharist, and He becomes the center stage of peace that I share with you all. It's as if those wisps of grace pour forth directly from the altar and flow over the His priestly people.

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