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Glory to God

posted Jan 14, 2012, 1:30 PM by Steven Vaughan   [ updated Aug 10, 2016, 10:18 AM ]
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal describes the Gloria as “a most ancient and venerable hymn by which the Church, gathered in the Holy Spirit, glorifies and entreats God the Father and the Lamb.”

Much of its text comes from Scripture: the first line is derived from the Angels heralding the glad tidings of Christ's birth in Luke 2:14. (The opening phrase, Gloria in excelsis Deo, is universally familiar from the Christmas carol "Angels We have Heard on High."

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will.

It then offers five successive ways in which we should pay homage to God. While these all convey the same idea of worshiping God, prayer is enhanced by poetic repetition, and these five descriptions of worship do hold subtle distinctions. Together, they combine to express the extent to which it is our duty to give “glory to God.”

We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory. 
Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son, Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,

The phrase “Only Begotten Son” recovered from the Latin text in the retranslation of the 3rd Edition of the Roman Missal is a venerable title of Jesus Christ, which speaks of the fact that the Son of God comes forth from the Father, yet is no less an eternal Person of the Divine Trinity.

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.

This is the classic threefold structure of supplication: “have mercy on us... receive our prayer... have mercy on us” that we also see in the Lord, Have Mercy and Lamb of God.

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.