Picture it. Confirmation 2020. I am sitting beside Bishop Bergie and I whisper over “don’t forget the Gloria.” He replied, “Fr. Greg, there is no Gloria during Advent.” Opps, after we had recited the Gloria at all our masses last year on the First Sunday of Advent. I don’t remember much of the Confirmation after that. Amen that I did not make the same mistake this year. We are creatures of habit and learn from our mistakes. So why is it that we do not recite, or sing the Glory to God in the Highest during Advent?
There are some basic rules that were set by the Second Vatican Council in its Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. Within the cycle of a year the Church “unfolds” the whole mystery of Christ, from the incarnation and birth until the ascension, the day of Pentecost, and the expectation of blessed hope and the coming of the Lord (# 102). The church is to be particularly directed toward feasts of the Lord that point to salvation (#108).
Put another way, a principle in ritual is to celebrate “feasts” and “fasts” in different ways to allow the mysteries of Christ to be made clear by the celebration. The Resurrection of Christ takes pre-eminence and is characterized by 40 days of Lenten penance followed by the Sacred Triduum and 8 full days (the “Octave”) of Easter. In the same way, Advent precedes Christmas as a time of preparation. In a way, we “fast” in the liturgy to prepare for the “feast” of Christmas.
We can also remember where the first words of the Gloria came from: the Angels sang it to the shepherds the very night that Jesus was born. So, when we will sing the Glory to God in the Highest at our Christmas masses, we will be caught up in a tremendous “feast” of the joy surrounding the birth of our Saviour.
As we enter this Second Week of Advent, may we embrace the season of preparation as a parish family here at St. Julia. May we find precious moments to slow down and remember what this season is exactly all about.
O come, O come, Emmanuel.
May God bless and keep safe each of you and those that you love,
From Our Pastor