What is the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? A Primer
for Clueless Catholics
A PRIMER for CLUELESS CATHOLICS
you can find a
Traditional Latin Mass in your
diocese (the Tridentine Mass of 1962, prior
to the many unfortunate changes and
liturgical abuses common to nearly every
Mass celebrated in the vernacular subsequent
to Vatican II) ... we have one suggestion:
GO! Find one. If you have
experienced little of sanctity ...
and much in the way of silliness ... if you
have encountered (wo)man more than you have
encountered God ... if you have left as
empty as you had arrived ... go to a
Tridentine Latin Mass (yes, it is both
approved and encouraged by Pope Benedict
XVI). If you were born after 1960 you will
experience something you have never before
encountered; something of unutterable
beauty, sanctity, solemnity, and ceremony
that your forbears knelt before for over
You will find God.
everything, every gesture, every act, is
directed to God Who is the sole focus
of the Most Holy Sacrifice that we call the
Mass and not
to a music "Ministry" or a priest as an
often a comedian who demand your
applause ... at the foot of the crucified
Christ. If you have never really and
truly experienced "the utterly sacred" and
have no idea what it means, what that
experience is ... the experience of
proximity to God Himself ... go to a
Tridentine Latin Mass! Your life in, with,
and through Christ will never be the same
again. You will know what "worship"
is ... and how very different it is from the
many forms of self-adulation you have
encountered in every vernacular Mass (no two
are exactly alike). Instead of the
exaltation of man, you will find the
exaltation of God
and come to realize the vast gulf between
the two and the paltry exchange that has
been traded off when man chose to worship
God on his own terms and sought to
share the very Throne with Him.
those who cannot find a Latin Tridentine
Mass, or whose bishop, in defiance of Rome,
deliberately suppresses it we offer the
following as a way of attending the
vernacular Mass without losing your faith as
a consequence of it:
You haven't the foggiest idea what is going
on during Mass.
You may not even know why you're there.
The reasons are many:
It's what Catholics do and I am Catholic.
I want my kids to grow up in this tradition
that comes from my parents, grandparents,
and forebears throughout the 2000 years
preceding my coming into this world
It is something good to do and it is
holy ... although why it is good and
why it is holy remains a mystery to
My friends go ... although they do not
know why either.
I need God's help, and if I go to Mass
He will look favorably on me.
God is there ... although just how He
is there, I do not understand after
all, God is everywhere, right?
so why is this place so special?
Do not be ashamed. It is not your fault.
There are answers good answers
for all the questions this short list
were never taught.
It is really that simple. No one took the
time to sit down and talk with you about
what is the most important event
in your life and it occurs
every 7 days. In fact, whatever else you
do during the other 167 hours of the week
(job, school, charity in fact, every
other responsibility, necessity,
or good work) however good, kind, lofty,
noble, pales in significance to the Mass.
Before you go further in this brief study
and it is a study that we invite
you to of the single most important thing
in your life, we must make a promise
to you first: it will not be dry
or boring, nor will it be fraught with meaningless
pieties. You will understand what the Mass
is, why it is holy, and why you must be
there. This is our promise to you.
It will not be "socially correct",
sanitized to sensitivities, or keeping in
step with the passing fads that blow through
the pews and across the Altars as so many
shifting winds following that elusive mantra
of "what is in vogue". There is perpetuity
in the Church, and unchangeable elements
of the Mass. Hopefully, we will enable you
to see beyond the Mass so often presented
as entertainment, hosted by an entertainer,
to the deep and very sacred reality within
Mass", as we most often call it,
is really short for, "The Most Holy
Sacrifice of the Mass".
a moment on those 7 words, for they contain
quite nearly everything that you will need
to know in order to understand why you go
to Church, or why you ought to.
The Mass, first and foremost,
is a Sacrifice. Not a figurative
sacrifice, not a mere remembrance of something
done long ago, and not a metaphor. It is
a real sacrifice. At Mass you are witnessing
even participating in a sacrifice, very
real and very present.
Does that surprise you?
We do not hear very much about this but
unless we understand this most
fundamental, this absolutely central
aspect of the Mass, nothing else makes sense.
Our lack of understanding the Mass as a
Sacrifice contributes to most of
the confusion that surrounds our going there
and being there.
But what is the nature of this Sacrifice,
and how is it enacted? Who does the sacrificing
and who or what is sacrificed? How do
we ourselves participate in it?
Tomorrow we will begin to understand.
any graphic above to expand it)
What we have learned today:
The Mass is a Sacrifice
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