The next installment in our prayer series—Glory Be to the Father—is technically called a doxology. Doxology is defined as an expression of praise to God, especially a short hymn either spoken or sung. The Glory Be, also known as Gloria Patri in Latin, is usually said when we recite the Rosary and many popular Catholic devotions.
Whether we’re saying it at the end of a chaplet or novena or randomly on its own, each time we say the words of the Glory Be, we are momentarily turning our attention from within ourselves and focusing it instead on God to give Him His just glory, or praise. We are acknowledging that God is worthy of all of our worship, praise, and thanksgiving.
Think of all the ways the word glory is used to describe something so perfect and beautiful: a glorious sunset; a glorious sky filled with stars; a glorious rainbow, etc. In this doxology, we are saying, “Wow, God you are glorious” and you are the true meaning of all that is good and perfect!
“Wow, God you are glorious” and you are the true meaning of all that is good and perfect!
References in the Bible
There are many doxologies similar to the Glory Be that can be found throughout the Bible, including:
“Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, Who alone works wonders. And blessed be His glorious name forever; And may the whole earth be filled with His glory Amen, and Amen.” (Psalm 72:18-19)
“Praise the LORD! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty expanse. Praise Him for His mighty deeds; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness. Praise Him with trumpet sound; Praise Him with harp and lyre…” (Psalm 150:1-6)
Recognizing our tendency as humans to forget to regularly give God His just praise, the Church began the practice of singing or reciting the Glory Be as early as the 4th century.
Why this short prayer is so powerful
In addition to giving praise to God’s glory, the prayer emphasizes Jesus’ divinity by including the words “and to the Son.” We are extending our praise to Jesus who is true God and true man—He was made of flesh and blood like us, but unlike us, He is divine.
The prayer then takes it one step further to include the Holy Spirit, the third person that makes up the Holy Trinity: one God, who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
This first line summarizes the mystery of our faith: God who is the Father; Jesus, the Son of God who became human and lived among us to die for our sins, and the Holy Spirit who dwells within all of us.
“As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be…”
The “it” is referring to God, His teachings, His words, and His promises. We’re stating our belief that all that Jesus professed and promised is as true and relevant today as it was in the beginning. It also emphasizes the eternal existence of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
“World without end”
This line can be confusing. We know that our time in the physical world is finite, so why are we saying that the world will “never end?” This is a result of what some call poor translation. Here, we’re not talking about our time on Earth; rather we’re stressing our belief that God’s Kingdom in Heaven never ends.
A newer translation of the original Latin version eliminates the words “world without end,” and replaces them with “as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever.”
“as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever.”