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Gloria Patri

The History and Theology of the Lesser Doxology

Nicholas Ayo, C.S.C.

Publication Year: 2007

The Gloria Patri has been prayed from the beginnings of Christianity. In this one-sentence prayer, time and eternity are combined in a compressed expression of doxology, praise of God. In this brief but comprehensive book, Father Ayo examines the riches in this prayer: the philological, historical, and theological origins of Christian prayer itself, and the profound spiritual implications of the Gloria Patri. At the heart of Christian prayer and at the heart of Christian liturgy we always find worship, honor, and praise of God as revealed in Jesus Christ. In Gloria Patri, Father Ayo examines the lesser doxology word by word, in both its various translations and the history of their combination and controversies. He adds to that an exploration of the boundless meanings of praise of the Triune God it encompasses. After reading Gloria Patri, no one can again take for granted this humble sentence.

Published by: University of Notre Dame Press


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

In this book I intend to explore a short, familiar, but little reflected upon prayer—the “Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.” Along with the Lord’s Prayer and the Hail Mary, the so-called lesser doxology1 ...

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pp. xi-xii

Many people have generously assisted me in this endeavor. Nathan Mitchell gave me the breadth and depth of his wisdom in matters liturgical, and he responded to many questions, offered various suggestions, and read the manuscript at various stages and in its totality with a critical eye and generous heart. ...

The Lesser Doxology

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pp. xiii

The Greater Doxology

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pp. xiv

Doxology: Word and Concept

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Doxology as Mystery of God

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pp. 3-8

Doxology is the most exalted verbal expression and the climactic liturgical gesture of the assembled community of faith. Doxology is a formula of praise always dedicated to God and God alone. Doxology is the moment of greatest intensity in prayer. Failing in our own words, we readily acknowledge that ...

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The Philology and Theology of Glory

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pp. 9-18

The translation of the Latin gloria into the English glory is straightforward and requires little comment. Glory in English will, of course, carry connotations that may vary from time to time and place to place. Living languages change; usage changes; dictionary meanings change in the futile attempt to stay current ...

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The History of the Gloria Patri Doxology

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pp. 19-42

Paul gives us the earliest Christian scriptures, and his greeting might well be the text most succinctly supportive of the Christian invocation of the Trinity, which is prayed today at the beginning of the Eucharistic liturgy: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion ...

The Trinity in Time and Eternity

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“Father, Son, and Holy Spirit"

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pp. 45-62

The lesser doxology proclaims glory to God as “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” What understanding of the Trinity might one bring to this prayer and its spiritual implications? In short, how does prayer addressed to the persons of the Trinity enhance the lesser doxology? ...

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“As It Was in the Beginning" — The Glory of Eternity and Time

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pp. 63-75

In the beginning speaks of both eternity and time. In the beginning could mean always in all eternity, which has no beginning in time. In the psalms we read: “Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth ...

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“Is Now"—The Fullness of Time and the Hidden Glory

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pp. 76-98

In the preceding chapter, we spoke of “in the beginning” as a corollary of the mystery of the One and the Many, the mystery of creation as the fullness of eternity that glorifies God throughout the fullness of time. In this chapter we will speak of the “is now” as the mystery of the incarnation ...

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“And Will Be Forever, World Without End" — The Fullness of Grace and the Revealed Glory

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pp. 99-111

In the preceding chapters we drew a parallel between the Father, Son, Holy Spirit and “in the beginning, is now, will be forever.” Accordingly we talked of creation “in the beginning” and the Father as source of all created being, albeit we remain aware that whatever is attributed to the Father ...

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pp. 112-113

The Book of Revelation ends with these lines: “‘Surely, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all” (Rev 22:20–21). Amen is a Semitic word that means “thus” or “it is true.” Amen is rooted in the verb mn, which is related to various Hebrew words ...

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A Last Word

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pp. 114-115

“God for us is who God is as God.”1 As Jesus said: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (1 Jn 14:9). Shaped by the doctrinal controversies of early Christianity, the first part of the Gloria Patri names the Trinity with no commentary but with the “glory” standing for the very being of God, ...

A Poem of Glory

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pp. 116-117


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pp. 118-126

Select Bibliography

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pp. 127-128

E-ISBN-13: 9780268074661
E-ISBN-10: 0268074666
Print-ISBN-13: 9780268020293
Print-ISBN-10: 0268020299

Page Count: 144
Publication Year: 2007