How many syllables does the word Gloria have? Answer: 18. Glooooooooooooooooooria!!
During the season of Christmas, beginning on December 25, we reintroduce the Glory to God in the Highest back into the Mass. We fast from this song of praise in the Mass during Advent to prepare for its proclamation on Christmas night to the shepherds in the fields. The proclamation dumbfounds the shepherds, “why us?” but in haste set out to Bethlehem to visit their savior. That kind of meeting with a multitude of Angels would fill your soul with wonder and joy, the song, I’m sure, was sung by the shepherds all the way to Bethlehem.
The Christmas story has become so familiar to us that we often don’t allow it to penetrate our heart. By the time Christmas day comes, we are even tired of all the Christmas around us that began in the stores after Halloween. However, like the shepherds, we should be mystified by this appearance of the Angels, “What does this mean?” When the Gloria is sung at Mass we should rejoice in the song the Angels gave us and our hearts should be lifted up to the Lord!
Christmas celebrates God breaking into the monotony of our human life so often given over to sorrow, suffering, pain (physical or emotional), or depression. This moment in time is the realization of God’s desire to redeem us from the woes that confound us. This moment surpasses all time and is made present to us at every Mass. When God took on flesh to be born of a woman and be laid in a manger, He also took on bread to be placed in our body. He resides in our soul in Holy Communion and desires to be born into the world by our words and deeds in the world. His coming to us is so that we may bring hope to those despairing, joy to those who are in sorrow, comfort to those who suffer, relief to those who are in pain.
St. Irenaeus says, “Life in man is the glory of God; the life of man is the vision of God.” The vision of God is in the Eucharist born to us on the altar through the words of the priest. When we live in the image and likeness of God, as a gift of self to one another, we are the glory of God and His sons and daughters.
This Christmas I pray that you may encounter Christ and be able to sing Gloria to God in the Highest with the Angels and as the shepherds did on Christmas and have the vision of God so that you may give the glory to Him who desires you to know Him and love Him.
- Father Brian J. Lager