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The Song of Gloria & the Collect Prayer

Catechesis by Pope Francis on the Holy Mass
General Audience, Wednesday 10 January 2018 - in Arabic, Croatian, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good Morning!
Over the course of the series of catecheses on the Eucharistic celebration, we have seen that the Penitential Act helps us to strip ourselves of our presumptions and to present ourselves to God as we truly are, conscious of being sinners, in the hope of being forgiven.

It is in the very encounter between human misery and divine mercy that the gratitude expressed in the “Gloria” comes alive; “a very ancient and venerable hymn in which the Church, gathered together in the Holy Spirit, glorifies and entreats God the Father and the Lamb” (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 53).

The beginning of this hymn — “Glory to God in the Highest” — recalls the song of the Angels at Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem: a joyful heralding of the embrace between heaven and earth. This song also engages us, gathered in prayer: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will”.

After the “Gloria” or in its absence, immediately following the Penitential Act, prayer takes on a particular form in the oration known as the “collect”, through which the very character of the celebration is expressed, with variations according to the days and time of the year (cf. ibid., 54). With the invitation “let us pray”, the priest encourages the people to recollect themselves with him in a brief silence, so that they may be conscious that they are in God’s presence and so that all can formulate within their own heart the personal petitions with which they are participating in the Mass (cf. ibid., 54). The priest says “let us pray” and then there is a brief silence, and each one thinks about the things they need, that they wish to ask for in the prayer.

The silence is not confined to the absence of words but rather to preparing oneself to listen to other voices: the one in our heart and, above all, the voice of the Holy Spirit. In the Liturgy, the nature of sacred silence depends on the moment in which it takes place: “within the Act of Penitence and again after the invitation to pray, all recollect themselves; but at the conclusion of a reading or the homily, all meditate briefly on what they have heard; then after Communion, they praise and pray to God in their hearts” (ibid., 45). Thus, before the opening prayer, silence helps us to recollect ourselves and to contemplate why we are there. This, then, is the importance of listening to our heart, so as to then open it to the Lord. Perhaps we have experienced days of toil, of joy, of pain, and we want to tell the Lord about it, to invoke his help, to ask that he be at our side; we may have relatives and friends who are ill or who are undergoing difficult trials; we may wish to entrust to God the future of the Church and the world. And this is the purpose of the brief silence before the priest; collecting everyone’s petitions, he expresses aloud to God, on behalf of all, the common prayer, which concludes the Introductory Rites by offering the “collect” of the individual petitions. I strongly recommend that priests observe this moment of silence and not rush: “Let us pray”, and let there be silence. I recommend this to priests. Without this silence, we run the risk of neglecting the recollection of the soul.

The priest recites this plea, this collect prayer, with outstretched arms. It is the prayerful manner practiced by Christians ever since the first centuries — as attested in numerous frescoes in the catacombs in Rome — to imitate Christ with his arms outstretched on the wood of the Cross. And there, Christ is both the One praying and also the Prayer! In the Crucifix, we recognize the Priest who offers God the worship He cherishes, namely, filial obedience.

Prayers in the Roman Rite are concise but rich in meaning. One can have beautiful meditations on these prayers. Very beautiful! Returning to meditate on these texts, even outside the Mass, can help us understand how to address God, what to ask and which words to use. May the Liturgy become for all of us a true school of prayer."


"Je suis heureux de saluer les pèlerins venus de France et de divers pays francophones, en particulier les collégiens et lycéens de Paris, ainsi que les membres de l’association franco-péruvienne. Que la liturgie devienne pour nous, avec l’aide de l’Esprit Saint, une véritable école de prière. Que Dieu vous bénisse !

I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly those from Norway, New Zealand and the United States of America. In a special way, I greet the numerous seminarians and university students present. Upon you and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you all!

Von Herzen grüße ich die Pilger deutscher Sprache bei der heutigen Generalaudienz. Die heilige Messe bietet uns Gebete und Texte von reicher Bedeutung. Diese regen unser persönliches Beten an und sind uns eine Hilfe zu lernen, wie wir uns an Gott wenden können. Schauen wir zu, dass die Liturgie der Kirche für uns zu einer echten Gebetsschule wird. Gott segne euch und eure Lieben.

Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española, en modo particular a los grupos provenientes de España y América Latina. Pidamos a la Virgen María que interceda por nosotros para que la Santa Misa sea de verdad una auténtica escuela de oración, en la que aprendamos a dirigirnos a Dios en cualquier momento de nuestra vida. Que el Señor los bendiga. Muchas gracias.

Com grande afeto, saúdo os peregrinos de língua portuguesa, em particular os fiéis vindos de Luziânia e Arcozelo, com votos de que possais vós todos encontrar na liturgia uma verdadeira escola de oração. Vele sobre o vosso caminho a Virgem Maria e vos ajude a ser sinal de confiança e esperança no meio dos vossos irmãos. Sobre vós e vossas famílias desça a Bênção de Deus.

أُرحّبُ بالحجّاجِ الناطقينَ باللّغةِ العربيّة، وخاصّةً بالقادمينَ منالشّرق الأوسط. أيّها الإخوةُ والأخواتُ الأعزّاء، إنّ العودة للتأمُّل في نّصوص الصلوات حتى خارج القدّاس يمكنها أن تساعدنا على تعلُّم كيفيّة التوجّه إلى الله، ماذا نطلب وأيّة كلمات نستعمل. لتصبح الليتورجيّة بالنّسبة لنا جميعًا مدرسة حقيقيّة للصّلاة. ليُباركْكُم الربّ!

Serdecznie pozdrawiam polskich pielgrzymów. Drodzy bracia i siostry, stojąc wciąż u początków roku, zawierzamy go Panu i prosimy, aby był czasem łaski, pokoju i nadziei dla nas, dla naszych rodzin i dla całego świata. Z serca błogosławię wam i waszym najbliższym."

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"Cari pellegrini di lingua italiana: benvenuti!

Sono lieto di accogliere i Diaconi permanenti della Diocesi di Biella e le Suore Orsoline Missionarie del Sacro Cuore. Auguro a ciascuno che questo incontro ravvivi la comunione con il ministero universale del Successore di Pietro.

Saluto i gruppi parrocchiali, in particolare quelli di Gesualdo e di Canosa di Puglia; le Scuole d’Infanzia Paritarie della Basilicata e gli Istituti Scolastici: Caetani di Cisterna di Latina e Zona Leda di Aprilia. Saluto i Dirigenti e gli Allievi della Scuola Ispettori e Sovrintendenti della Guardia di Finanza di L’Aquila-Coppito; l’Associazione di Volontariato socio-sanitario di Bronte (CT) e la Fondazione Istituto nazionale dei tumori di Milano.

Un pensiero speciale rivolgo ai giovani, ai malati e agli sposi novelli. Cari giovani, siate portatori dell’amore di Cristo tra i vostri coetanei; cari ammalati, trovate nella tenerezza di Dio il sostegno nel dolore; e voi, cari sposi novelli, siate testimoni della bellezza del Sacramento del Matrimonio attraverso il vostro amore fedele."