What is this part of the Mass?
The word glory is a translation of the Hebrew word kabod. When kabod is used about people it means honor and importance. The Gloria is a joyful hymn of praise and honor to God. When we say or sing it, we honor God’s importance. We praise God because God is worthy of all honor. The Gloria was written by our ancestors in faith over a long period in time. They consulted the Bible for the words and phrases they wanted to use to praise God. One of the biggest changes you will notice in the new prayers of the Mass is in the words of the Gloria.
What do we say now and what is changing?
The Gloria begins with the words of the angels who sang God’s praise at the birth of Jesus as you see on page 2 of your pew cards. All together now - Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace to people of good will. This is almost a direct quote from Luke (2:14), and a good example of the new translation’s emphasis on biblical references found in the Latin text.
The hymn then follows with words that resemble a litany of praise. Together please: “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.” As mentioned previously, this is another literary tool of the Latin text which works to build, almost into a crescendo (kra-SHEN-doh), our praise and thanks to God.
In the second part of the Gloria, we continue by giving praise and Glory to God the Son. We call Jesus the “Only Begotten Son” of God. He is not just another son of God, he is of the same nature as the Father. He is truly one of a kind. So the changes in the Gloria reflect this deeper understanding of the nature of Jesus and his relationship to the Father. All of us now: “Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son, Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father”
When we pray this hymn we say that Jesus takes away the sins of the world. We know that Jesus takes away original sin and our own personal sins. At the words “you take away the sins of the world” the phrases appear in a different order in the new translation, to follow the order of the words in Latin. This part of the prayer also echoes John 1:29. Another small change appears in this line. Previously we sang about sin in the singular, but the new translation has sins in the plural. This difference indicates that Jesus takes away not just generic sin from the world, but individual sin. Jesus forgives people their personal sins. In Latin, the word used for sins is plural, so the new translation is more accurate in this regard. All together please: “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.” The last part of the Gloria, where we sing praise to Jesus in union with God the Holy Spirit, is unchanged.
The Introductory Rites conclude with the Collect (COLL-ekt), which was previously known as the Opening Prayer. When the priest prays the Collect, he is gathering the prayers of the whole assembly and addressing them to God. The priest does not make up his own prayers for the Collect. They are already included in the Roman Missal. When he prays the Collect, the priest extends his arm with his hands palms upward in a position known as Orans (OH-ranz). This gesture is to remind us that he is gathering us and all our prayers. Within the Mass, only the priest should use the Orans prayer posture.
All the Collects have been retranslated and they may sound more complex to you. The sentences are longer and follow the Latin much more closely. However, the words matter; the words articulate the truths of the Christian faith. The words shape and form us as a believing community, and the words contribute to the unity of the Church across the world. After a short time, you will get used to the new sound of the Collect and hear the flow of the prayer, allowing your heart to join its intention. When the Collect finishes, you will hear another change in the new translation. Previously, the Opening Prayer ended simply with “We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ”.
The new translation of the Collect will make the roles of the Persons of the Trinity sound more precise. For example, one Collect goes like this: “God our Father, who, by sending into the world the Word of truth and the Spirit of sanctification, made known to the human race your wondrous mystery; grant us, we pray, that in professing the true faith, we may acknowledge the Trinity of eternal glory and adore your unity, powerful in majesty. Through our Lord, Jesus Christ.”
As always, we will respond to the Collect with a resounding “Amen!” When we say Amen we are saying “Yes I believe.” Our Amen solemnly affirms our belief in God and the unity of the prayers of everyone present. Say it like you mean it! We will then sit and prepare ourselves to hear the Word of God as we move into the Liturgy of the Word.