GIRM paragraph 53
“It’s what lovers do.”
That is best description I’ve ever heard concerning what the singing of Gloria at Mass is. What do you do when you are in love and feel confident in the presence of your beloved? You tell them how awesome they are. Ha! I do it to my dog! “Hey little buddy! You are so awesome. Are you a handsome beast? Yes you are! Do you love me so much? Yes you do! Do you need a bath? O yes you do!”
So we gathered and sang and given glory to God. We stated that what we are going to do is in the Name of our One Triune God. We have acknowledged His presence and given a minor benediction. We have called to mind our sins, had our minor offenses forgiven, sang of God’s mercy, and now before we enter into deep worship listening to His voice and waiting for His presence Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, we sing to the Beloved Bridegroom with the most “ancient and venerable hymn by which the Church, gathered in the Holy Spirit, glorifies and entreats God the Father and the Lamb.”
We are in love! We are psyched! What we are doing is so awesome the mind cannot fully comprehend it! And on most Sundays the Body of Christ gathers and with mind and heart proclaim, “Glory to God in the YAWN . . . . . on earth.”
Problem #1 It is difficult to sustain love every day and every minute of your life. We get used to the one we fell in love with and married thinking, “I am going to be in love for the rest of my life! This is the one!” We forget that love is an action, not something simply to be absorbed or worse, “felt.” Love requires us to be mindful especially when we are used to having the object of our desire (or else it isn’t really love but a passing addiction.) So we should be mindful of the Gloria just as we are mindful to buy a chocolate heart on St. Valentine’s Day even when we are not feeling particularly romantic. You don’t have to be a cheerleader every time you pray the Gloria (though maybe occasionally you should) but be mindful of the Beloved.
Problem #2 The music inhales with the greatest of vigor. I’m sorry, it just does. And it seems with the new translation the whole thing just got more awkward as old melodies (which weren’t that great to begin with) were butchered to fit the new words OR the rush to get new music out produced tripe. If it were up to me, we would chant it but I know George (I made him up) wants it set to a polka. In the end I think this is the best advice: Get over it. For now, it’s what we got. And like wedding vows, you are not there to take a vow to be loved, you are vowing to love. At Mass, we are not there to be fulfilled musically (though the Good Lord knows that we should offering our best) we are there to give something to God. So sing love poem to God and then START SUPPORTING CATHOLIC ARTISTS so that we have better music!
Here are a couple of interesting factoids: Although the rubrics already state that the priest may not change or make up any part of the Mass unless it is specifically stated that he should or may, it is restated at this particular junction in this fashion: “The text of this hymn may not be replaced by any other.” This is our song folks. Don’t mess with it.
Who may sing the Gloria? First preference seems to be everybody. But that does not exhaust the list. It may be sung by the people alternately with the choir, or by the choir alone.
It is NEVER SKIPPED when it is called for though it may be recited. When recited it is said by all although the congregation may be divided in two with each side taking alternate line.