Gloria in Excelsis Deo

The Annunciation to the Shepherds, 1180, fresco, Royal Pantheon, Funeral Chapel of the Kings of Leon Spain. Image Source

How do we pause and look into the face of God throughout our day or week and especially in our worship? How can we keep the fire burning bright so that we do not grow cold in our love and awe of God? What does it take to gaze deeply into the mysteries of God’s divine grace? It seems the first step is to put our work down…no matter how noble our pursuit, spending time throughout our day in stillness towards God can cultivate the inner eye of seeing that brings us before the throne of God.

We will continue with our musical tour of the Mass by focusing on the second part known as the Gloria.

The Gloria is taken from the passage in scripture when the angels announced the birth of Jesus to the Shepherds who were watching their sheep by night.

Gloria in excelsis Deo —-Glory to God in the highest.

Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.

Luke 2:14 (NIV)

The Gloria can be sung or recited following the Kyrie during the Ordinary Mass and special feast days. However the Gloria is omitted from the Mass during the more reflective periods of Advent and Lent. Different traditions follow different practices and music is always evolving so some places of worship will include the Gloria during the Maundy Thursday service and the Easter Vigil.

The Expanded Text

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

We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory, Lord God, heavenly King, O God almighty Father.

Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son, Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, 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.

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.

For a more quiet and reflective experience of the Gloria, enjoy William Byrd’s Mass for 4 Voices. For those of you who read music, or even if you don’t, see if you can follow along to watch how the voices build up to create an over all impression of being in the presence of God.

J. S. Bach and his Mass in B minor brings us before the throne of God. It is very regal with the timpani. I love the huge oboe section in this video and all the camera angles of the inside of this Baroque church. This video really gives you a window into Bach’s musical time period.

Glory and Honor sung by Acappella is a more contemporary praise song. I know these guys and really appreciate their heart for giving voice to praise so that our souls can take flight.

Which is your favorite? or do you have another Gloria you love?

Thanks for reading and have a blessed week!

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