The Gloria and Our Modern Society
The message down the centuries of this Latin Liturgy is believe in God the Son and he will reward you in Heaven and on Earth - whether you believe in your heart or you know and truly accept all the teachings of Christ.
Glória in Excélsis
Glória in excélsis Deo. Et in terra pax homínibus bonæ voluntátis. Laudámus te. Benedícimus te. Adorámus te. Glorificámus te. Grátias ágimus tibi propter magnam glóriam tuam. Dómine Deus, Rex cælétis, Deus Pater omnípotens. Dómine Fili unigénite, Jesu Christe. Dómine Deus, Agnus Dei, Fílius Patris, Qui tollis peccáta mundi, miserére nobis. Qui tollis peccáta mundi, súscipe deprecatiónem nostram. Qui sedes ad déxteram Patris, miserére nobis. Quóniam tu solus Sanctus. Tu solus Dóminus. Tu solus Altíssimus, Jesu Christe, cum Sancto Spíretu, in glória Dei Patris.
This Latin exultant prayer sung and spoken in Holy Mass is a prayer of evocation as opposed to a set of articles of belief. We are beseeching Heaven and the Trinity to listen and heed our petitions by our proper dutiful attitude to those Three Persons.
We begin with the words of the Angelic throng to the shepherds before they went to the stable to see the baby Jesus and Joseph and Mary.
“Glory to God in the highest and peace to men of goodwill on Earth.”
Note the accent on goodwill - those indisposed to God are not included in the call to peace.
Then we go on to the praises:
“We praise you
We bless you
We adore you
We glorify you.”
Thus the people in Church and even the shepherds outside invoke these praises of the Godhead. Yes the shepherds would know God the Father and lay down their lives for their flocks. The symbolism of the Good Shepherd Himself is at the heart of this intonation and His final heroic sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary. We praise Him for his extraordinary bravery and selflessness which drove Him to succumb to the will of Caesar’s representative Pilate Governor of Palestine 2000 years ago.
“We thank you properly for your great glory.”
The “glory” I would argue lies in Heaven where Christ is at the right hand of the Father and His Coming again in glory at the end of time rather than the glory of the crucifixion. His Kingdom is not of this World but the Next - Father and Son are conjoined in these words. His crucifixion is utter subjugation but turned to exceptional example of obedience to His Father by Christ Himself who was prepared to undergo such humiliation. He turned the worst to the best. Yet this sacrifice on the Cross won His seat in Heaven next to His Father.
“Lord God. Heavenly King. God Father almighty.”
Here we again acknowledge the unity of Father and Son and the Son’s role as King in Heaven which He did not achieve on Earth. The Gloria is no deceptive work - Christ is King in Heaven and until He comes again. God the Father is behind the curtain like His Son. Together they are inseparable and supreme despite our free will on Earth. Their “immense” power is invisible on Earth - we are all drawn to Heaven whether we like it or not. Christ declared He was “a King” to Pilate before He was condemned to death.
“Lord God, only begotten, Son, Jesus Christ.”
What can I say? The epicentre of the Gloria is these words. You cannot get closer to the Father and Son than these exceedingly joyful words of exclamation. They should be said and meant defiantly. We are soldiers of Christ don’t forget. The Father has not created Him but His Son has belonged to Him always: His Father as of the essence of that filial power so pure.
“Lord God. Lamb of God.
Son of the Father who takest away the sin of the World have mercy on us, who takest away the sin of the World receive our prayer.”
“Who sits at the right hand of the Father have mercy on us.”
The ultimate supplication to the Son of God who has saved us yet we still need His mercy and His answer to our prayers. Thus the act of redemption may be fixed in time at the crucifixion but Christ, the High Priest, offers Himself again and again in Mass upon our altars to bring us mercy and His divine will in our lives. We are once more pleading with Him in these ancient words - we know He will grant us mercy and provide us with solace.
“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.”
These words are indomitable - who can possibly defeat us if we have Christ at our side and He is so mighty. Then the Holy Spirit and God the Father come to double and redouble the Son Himself. How can we ever look back and revert to timidity. Now the triumph is Heaven’s and we are here to do the will of the Trinity itself. The Gloria has done its task to lift our spirits and enliven our hearts and minds beyond doubt. Yes we are driven to do the will of Heaven, inexorably.
I say the point of this Gloria is not mere persuasion but exhortation as well. Much of my writing is exhortation and thus persuasion also. I and many others are not left untouched by this Gloria. It deeply and powerfully motivates R.M. Lamb the believer. Please don’t think I put my rudimentary essays anywhere near the level of this extraordinarily inspiring and resonant sung part of our Latin liturgy of Roman Catholicism to which it has belonged for more centuries than we can imagine. My essays are simply tiny in comparison to this great Gloria. But tiny is still special if it contains a little of the truth this Gloria does. For modern society I argue this Gloria’s exhortation is at the heart of Christianity with the Nicene Creed. The hope of the Western World is Christianity and what is more that Christianity is the raison d’etre of the West. We must speak plainly or not at all. If we do not believe and we do not utter our beliefs we wither. For those who wither they will not bear fruit.
“He who believeth in me shall have eternal life.”
as Christ said.
Our society is tasteless, too quiet and lacking in colour. There is only one way forward and that is to reintroduce real character and the life of Christ and His Saints in to our Western way of life and ruling elites. My way is well known and I follow Christ you may be sure. I am not afraid to write that. If those who think the same way, of whom there are some, vocally support me, the Chorus will be, not muted, but truly glorious. Then the Gloria will echo down our “streets” and “courts” and “corridors of power” in the best imaginative sense.