The Roman Missal: Gloria (Part I)

Last weekend, I had a great opportunity to help in the kitchen during the Craft Bazaar.  It was a lot of fun working with fellow parishioners, and I can say that I literally had a hand in those sandwiches.  But I have to say that I was a little scandalized because of all the music in the world, we were listening to Christmas music!  Isn’t it a little early for that, since we haven’t even had Thanksgiving?  Maybe.

Still, this week’s topic brings us to another Christmas carol, and actually, the oldest one we have.  This carol is so old that it was sung even by the angels at Jesus’ birth – the Gloria!  Why do you think it’s called that?  Well, the name is the short version of what the angels were singing in Latin (all angels speak Latin, of course), which you’ve probably heard in the Christmas song “Angels We Have Heard On High: “Glooo-ooooo-ooooo-ooooo-ria in excelsis Deo!”  “Glory to God in the highest!”  This hymn has been part of our Church from the very beginning, and so it’s important that we consider it carefully.

There are some significant changes to the Gloria, as you probably have noticed when we have been singing it over the past few weeks.  One of the changes is part of the refrain that we’ve been singing.  Rather than saying “And peace to His people on earth”, we will say “And on earth, peace to people of good will”.  This is an important reminder that the coming of Jesus – his coming in history at Christmas, his coming at the end of the world, and his coming into our hearts – brings an extraordinary peace.  Those who accept Christ into their lives and live in accordance with God’s will experience the fullness of peace, a peace that only Jesus can bring.

This is only one of the changes to the Gloria, so tune in next week when we will check out some more changes!

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