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We Gather to Give God Glory

During this Year of Faith, we will blog reflections and stories to accompany you on your faith journey.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will.” – Gloria
A Priest friend once told me, “Terry, you are either on the way or in the way.” These words challenge me as I struggle to stay “on the way.” They also reassure me as I recognize God’s grace urging me to stay the course.
I have experienced God’s glory while on the way and, more surprisingly, when I have wandered and been brought back by God’s unconditional mercy.
In Luke’s gospel, shepherds are led to Bethlehem by a chorus of angels: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14). Most of us find our way to Christ not by such dramatic revelations but by the nearness of the spiritual and wondrous in our ordinary lives. When we experience Christ alive and among us, we too sing with the angels, “Glory!”
All earthly peace is from God
The Gloria in the new edition of the Roman Missal represents a return to the text of Luke 2:14 and the angels’ announcement to the shepherds of the Savior’s birth. The song of the angels became the song of the Church.
The revised translation of this hymn changes “his people on earth” to “people of good will.” The current text emphasizes that we belong to God. The new wording describes a quality about us—people of good will.
Luke 2:14 does not imply that God’s peace is only for a select few or that it is “earned” by our good will. As the Fathers of Vatican II remind us, “earthly peace results from the peace of Christ which radiates from God the Father” (Gaudium et spes, 78). By his death, resurrection, and ascension, Jesus reconciled all with God.
The angels’ message is for all
The peace of Luke’s gospel is more than the absence of war; it is a deep sense of security and well-being, characteristic of peace in the Old Testament. The angels’ proclamation of peace was not just for the shepherds 2,000 years ago. It was a proclamation for all people.
In Philippians 4:7, Paul writes of the “peace that surpasses all understanding.” This is the peace the angels announced, that Christ came to bring to all through forgiveness of sin. People of good will receive this grace, get on the way, and sing glory to God both in liturgy and in our everyday lives.
Suggestions for Prayer:
– How do I experience the peace that surpasses understanding? How does my life glorify God?
– Pray by reciting or chanting: “Glory to God in the highest and peace to people of good will…”
Reprinted with permission from Living with Christ. For more information or to subscribe, visit or call 1-800-214-3386.
Sr. Terry is the Executive Director of RENEW International and a Dominican Sister from Blauvelt, NY.

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