Order of Mass – Gloria Part 1

February 15th, 2011  |  Published in New Roman Missal

Dear Friends,

With today’s bulletin we are beginning a new column in preparation for the implementation of the 3rd edition of the Roman Missal in Advent. The column is entitled “Welcoming the New Roman Missal: New Words . . . deeper Meaning, same Mass.” The column will serve to answer questions on the new translation and further educate the community regarding the changes we will experience. I hope you will find it beneficial.

As we begin that column I will still devote columns a few times a month to a more in-depth look at the new missal, and today I’d like to begin examining the Gloria. The Gloria dates back to the early Church, and is to be sung on all Sundays, outside Advent and Lent, as well as on feasts and solemnities. The following is the text of the newly translated Gloria:

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace
to people of good will. We praise you, we bless
you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you
thanks for your great glory, Lord God, heavenly
King, O God, almighty Father.
Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son, Lord God,
Lamb of God, Son of the Father, you take away
the sins of the world, have mercy on us;
you take away the sins of the world, receive our
prayer; you are seated at the right hand of the
Father, have mercy on us.
For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are
the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus
Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God
the Father. Amen.

As you know, much of the Gloria comes straight from Sacred Scripture. The first lines are the words of the angels heralding the glad tidings of Christ’s birth in Luke 2:14. Yet there are clear differences between the new text of the Gloria and the one we are currently using. For example,
the current text reads, “peace to His people on earth.” The new translation expands this to: “on earth peace to people of good will.” It helps to know that certain translations of Luke 2:14 state: “on earth peace, good will toward men” or “peace among those in whom He is well pleased.” The new translation is a richer reference to the fact that the Messiah’s coming brings the world a higher order of divine peace that only the incarnate Son of God can bestow. Those who live in accordance with God’s will and receive His grace shall experience the fullness of this peace.

Looking at the second sentence of the new translation we see a striking difference with the current words. The new brings back entire phrases that were left out of our current translation. Currently we sing, “we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.” The Latin text, however, offers five successive ways in which we are to give homage to God: “We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory.” In a sense it is true that both of these convey the same idea. But liturgical prayer is enhanced by poetic repetition, and these five ways to worship God hold distinct connotations. Together they combine to express the extent to which it is our Christian duty to give “glory to God.”

Next week we will look at the second half of this ancient hymn.

Fr. John