Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

The hymn Gloria is singing the glory of God and paying homage first to God the Father, then to the Son of God and finally to the Holy Spirit.

Let’s try to understand individual parts of Holy Mass.

The hymn, Gloria, is what we will consider this week. “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to people of good will . . .”. To understand the sublimeness of this hymn and its meaning we need to go back in time, go the fields of Bethlehem and listen to the song of the angels at the birth of the Son of God: Gloria in excelsis Deo. Then surely the whole world resounded with this hymn that announced the coming of His Saviour.

Singing Gloria, we praise God and express our deep conviction that He should be worshiped for all He has done for us in His plan for Salvation and is still doing for us.

“Glory be (. . . .) and on earth peace to people of good will” – how well do we understand these words? Here, it’s not about – as it might seem – people who have good will towards serving God but about people God loves. Just that! Such an understanding of these words is contained in the Gospel according to Luke: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14). God delights in people, delights in us, because His Son gave up His life for us. In His love He wants to give us all peace; the peace of His kingdom, lasting peace, a peace which transcends the meagre peace worked for – often by force – by man, and a peace maintained by the strength of an army. The peace of God came into the world through what to human eyes is small and weak. The Son of God was born in a stable, into poverty, but at the same time gave us the gift of lasting peace. Blessed is the one who is filled with the peace of the Lord!

Further on in this hymn we sing: “we praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory”. We look here for simple words to express to God our reverence and gratitude. At the same time, we sense the poverty of these words, because our hearts feel more and would want to say more.

Following this we list the names of God: “Lord God, heavenly King, O God, Almighty Father”, and we turn to Christ: “Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son, Lord God” and then three times we ask the Lamb of God for mercy: “have mercy on us . . . . receive our prayer . . . . have mercy on us”, John the Baptist, seeing Jesus coming, called Him by this name: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”. The Lamb of God killed for our sins, resurrected and sitting at the right of the Father, we ask to have mercy on us. Why do we turn to Him? “For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High . . .”. He is holy and we the sinful want to draw from His holiness, have a share in it, grow in it. In order for this to be achieved His mercy must first raise us up.
To sum up: the hymn, Gloria, is the singing of the glory of God and worshiping first God the Father, then God the Son and at the end the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the glory of the Holy Trinity resounds in it.

The hymn, Gloria, is what we will consider this week. “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to people of good will . . .”. To understand the sublimeness of this hymn and its meaning we need to go back in time, go the fields of Bethlehem and listen to the song of the angels at the birth of the Son of God: Gloria in excelsis Deo. Then surely the whole world resounded with this hymn that announced the coming of His Saviour.

Singing Gloria, we praise God and express our deep conviction that He should be worshiped for all He has done for us in His plan for Salvation and is still doing for us.

“Glory be (. . . .) and on earth peace to people of good will” – how well do we understand these words? Here, it’s not about – as it might seem – people who have good will towards serving God but about people God loves. Just that! Such an understanding of these words is contained in the Gospel according to Luke: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14). God delights in people, delights in us, because His Son gave up His life for us. In His love He wants to give us all peace; the peace of His kingdom, lasting peace, a peace which transcends the meagre peace worked for – often by force – by man, and a peace maintained by the strength of an army. The peace of God came into the world through what to human eyes is small and weak. The Son of God was born in a stable, into poverty, but at the same time gave us the gift of lasting peace. Blessed is the one who is filled with the peace of the Lord!

Further on in this hymn we sing: “we praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory”. We look here for simple words to express to God our reverence and gratitude. At the same time, we sense the poverty of these words, because our hearts feel more and would want to say more.

Following this we list the names of God: “Lord God, heavenly King, O God, Almighty Father”, and we turn to Christ: “Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son, Lord God” and then three times we ask the Lamb of God for mercy: “have mercy on us . . . . receive our prayer . . . . have mercy on us”, John the Baptist, seeing Jesus coming, called Him by this name: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”. The Lamb of God killed for our sins, resurrected and sitting at the right of the Father, we ask to have mercy on us. Why do we turn to Him? “For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High . . .”. He is holy and we the sinful want to draw from His holiness, have a share in it, grow in it. In order for this to be achieved His mercy must first raise us up.
To sum up: the hymn, Gloria, is the singing of the glory of God and worshiping first God the Father, then God the Son and at the end the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the glory of the Holy Trinity resounds in it.

A plaque on the field of the shepherds of Bethlehem

When we talk of the glory of God, it reminds us of the life of Saint Ignatius Loyola. He had a turbulent youth. As a soldier he took part in many battles. In 1521 he was wounded in the battle of Pamplona, Spain. During treatment, which lasted half a year, he read the life of Christ and the lives of the saints. Under the influence of this reading there was a conversion experience in his life. He decided he would no longer serve any earthly lords, only God Himself; to live “for the greater glory of God” (ad maiorem Dei gloriam). These words became his life motto and also his communities, congregations of Jesuit priests, the Society of Jesus.

In art, Ignatius is most often painted wearing a chasuble. The pictorial representation makes us aware of the role of the Eucharist in his life and spirituality. In his autobiography we read, that when he participated in Holy Mass, “at the moment the Body of the Lord was raised the inner eyes saw white rays coming from above. And (. . . .) clearly seen in the mind was how our Lord Jesus was present in the Blessed Sacrament”. The most frequent grace experienced during the celebration of Mass were tears. They were very frequent. He wrote about this himself in his diary like this: “When I finish Mass (. . .) I experience, at the prayer before the altar, great sobs and tears (. . .) Feeling a great love and sweetness of spirit”. However, Ignatius knew perfectly well that it is not the tears and consolation that are important, but the love and reverence for God. This is why he admonished himself: “going to Mass, I should utter the name of God, our Lord, with great reverence and veneration, (. . .) and not seek tears (. . .) and I often practiced this reverence”.

Let’s return at the end of our reflection to the motto of the Jesuits already mentioned; it goes: “for the greater glory of God”. A person, especially the young, often ask: What is it worth living for? For whom? Maybe we pose this question? Or perhaps we look for a person we could rely on, whom we could trust, who would be a light on our road, whose fidelity we could experience? And it’s not uncommon we don’t find such a person. Even the closest person can fail us; such is the influence of Satan’s temptations, such is the power of sin, that even the closest person after many years can fail us.

We live before everything else for the glory of God! Let it take the first place in our lives, and then everything will be in its proper place! Then we will also make other people feel blessed, and, well, we will discover the answer to the question: who is worth living for?

The prayer of Saint Ignatius Loyola (after Communion):

Lord, we want to thank You for Your love and mercy,
that You have given yourself – the living Bread,which we eat as the food of eternal life.