Introduction: Glory to God in the highest. And on earth peace to men of good will.
First Part: We praise Thee. We bless Thee. We adore Thee. We glorify Thee. We give Thee thanks for Thy great glory. O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father almighty.
Second Part: O Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son. Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. Who takest away the sins of the world, receive our prayer. Who sittest at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us. For Thou alone art holy. Thou alone art Lord. Thou alone, O Jesus Christ, art most high.
Third Part: Together with the Holy Ghost in the glory of God the Father. Amen.
The Gloria is prayed immediately after the Kyrie. The priest is standing at the middle of the altar as he does so. The Gloria is a joyous prayer. For this reason, it is said only on certain days, like Sundays and joyous feasts. It is omitted in Masses for the dead and during Lent.
The Gloria gets its name from the first word of the prayer when it is said in Latin. The word gloria or glory means “great praise and honor.” The prayer gives praise and honor to the Blessed Trinity. You already know one prayer offering glory to the Blessed Trinity, the prayer that begins with the words, “Glory be to the Father.”
The Introduction to the Gloria
Words the angels sang at the birth of Our Lord make up the introduction to this prayer: Glory to God in the highest. And on earth peace to men of good will. The angels sang their Gloria because of the wonderful work Our Lord did. He gave glory to God when He made up to God for the sins of men. He obtained peace for men when He procured pardon for their sins and the gift of grace. Our Lord continues to do this in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
You know what your Catchism says about sanctifying grace. It gives our souls a new life. We share in the life of God Himself. Because of the life of grace in us, we have great peace. This comes from being children of God, with the right to heaven.
You also know that to get God’s grace we must be persons of good will. The angels sang, “Peace on earth to men of good will.” Who are men of good Will? We can answer that question very easily. We are men of good will when we are good Catholics, when we love God, our neighbor, and ourselves in the way the Catholic Church teaches. Jesus, the Son of God, teaches us through the Catholic Church.
The Gloria is made up of an introduction and three parts. The first part is addressed to God the Father, the second part to God the Son, and the third part to God the Holy Ghost. We have already examined the introduction, the words the angels sang at the birth of Our Lord.
The First Part: To God The Father
The first part of the Gloria uses four different words to offer honor to God the Father. The prayer says: We praise Thee. We bless Thee. We adore Thee. We glorify Thee. When we make this part of the prayer with the priest, we are expressing our desire to give God the honor due to Him.
Next, this first part of the prayer says: We give thanks for Thy great glory. O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father almighty. Here we are thanking God for His own greatness. We know a little about God’s greatness from the world about us. The Church also teaches us about His greatness. Some of the teachings of the Church are in our Catechism, in the lesson called “God and His Perfections.”
The Second Part: To God The Son
The second part of the Gloria is addressed to God the Son. It begins with the words, “O Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son, and ends with the line, Thou alone, O Jesus Christ, art most high. In this part of the prayer we praise Our Lord, and we again pray for mercy.
We praise Our Lord when we use the different names given to Him on this prayer. We call Him Lord, Jesus Christ, Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father. At the close of this second part of the Gloria, we praise Him in a very special way. Later, when we look at the third part of the prayer, we will see that this praise also is for God the Holy Ghost and for God the Father.
St. John the Baptist called Our Lord the Lamb of God. When John pointed out Jesus to his disciples, he said: “Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who takest away the sins of the world.” The words Lamb of God describe Jesus who offered Himself in sacrifce by giving up His life to make up for the sins of men. The Bible tells how the Jews would offer a lamb to God in sacrifice. In the Mass Jesus continues to offer Himself in sacrifice, but in an unbloody manner.
Twice, in this second part of the Gloria, we say who takest away the sins of the world. The first time we ask Our Lord to have mercy on us; the second time we ask Him to receive our prayer. Then again we ask Him to have mercy on us. This time we show that we believe He is equal to God the Father. We say who sittest at the right hand of the Father.
When we ask Our Lord to have mercy on us, we are praying for pardon for our sins and for God’s grace. At the same time we are thinking how unworthy we are.
The Third Part: To God The Holy Ghost
In the introduction to the Gloria, we offer praise to the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity. We do this in the words, Glory to God in the highest.
In the third part of the prayer we give praise to the Holy Ghost in a special way when we pray: With the Holy Ghost, in the glory of God the Father, Amen. These words remind us that Jesus and the Holy Ghost are one with Father. As the Catechism says: “The Three Divine Persons are perfectly equal to one another because all are one and the same God.”
Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!