The Four Ends of Holy Mass
Holy Mother Church teaches that the Mass has four ends: 1) Adoration of God, 2) Atonement for sins committed, 3) Thanksgiving for favors received, and 4) Petition for favors to be granted. This is made amply evident in the precise form and prayers of the Traditional Latin Mass. For example, the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar at the beginning of Mass and the detailed Offertory prayers make quite clear the role of priest and faithful in the Holy Sacrifice, and what they are offering to and asking of Almighty God.
The Church provides a (formerly indulgenced) Prayer Before Mass which addresses all four of these ends and provides an eminently suitable preparation. As with so many of the best prayers, it condenses many theological concepts into just a few words. The translation from the 1963 Marian Missal is as follows:“Eternal Father, I unite myself with the intentions and affections of our Lady of Sorrows on Calvary, and I offer Thee the Sacrifice which Thy beloved Son Jesus made of Himself on the Cross and which He now renews on this holy altar: 1. To adore Thee and give Thee the honor which is due to Thee, confessing Thy supreme dominion over all things, and the absolute dependence of everything upon Thee, Who art our one and last end. 2. To thank Thee for innumerable benefits received. 3. To appease Thy justice, aroused against us by so many sins, and to make satisfaction for them. 4. To implore grace and mercy for myself, for..., for all afflicted and sorrowing, for poor sinners, for all the world, and for the holy souls in purgatory.”It is worth mentioning that the above prayer before Mass addresses different concepts than, and is not to be confused with, most Prayers Before Receiving Holy Communion. The above prayer is suitable and commendable even if you will not be receiving Communion at a given Mass. Every Mass has infinite value, and assisting at Mass is the source of countless graces, whether or not one receives Holy Communion.
You will occasionally see the expression “assisting at” Mass. This term refers to prayerfully attending Holy Mass. It does not mean physically doing something at Mass, such as singing or serving at the altar. Everyone who attends Mass with devotion is considered to “assist at” Holy Mass, even if you are simply silently following along in a back corner of the church.
Two Special Masses on September 9
In two weeks, on Sunday, September 9, there will be two special Masses in the Extraordinary Form: St. Albertus Church will hold a Mass at noon, and Holy Redeemer Church will hold its first Tridentine Mass in over 40 years at 2:00 PM.
You Can Help Arrange a Mass in an Historic Church
The special Masses that are taking place with increasing frequency at local historic churches are happening because individuals are taking the initiative to obtain the permission of pastors and coordinate the necessary logistics. This is an international phenomenon, not constrained to our corner of the world. Catholics who would rarely if ever venture outside their home parish are being exposed to the liturgical patrimony of the Church. New generations are being given the opportunity to appreciate better the reasons why certain features of their grand and glorious edifices were built. Pipe organs and choir lofts are being used once again for Gregorian Chant, the official music of the Sacred Liturgy. Catholics who already attend the Tridentine Mass are motivated to see some of the architectural gems of this region which they wouldn’t ordinarily visit. Plus these Masses provide a means to draw attention to our home parishes where the Tridentine Mass is offered every week. A win-win for all involved.
If you have connections to a certain historic church in the Archdiocese of Detroit, the Diocese of Lansing, or the Diocese of London, Ontario, consider asking whether they might be interested in hosting a one-time Mass in the Extraordinary Form. Our Detroit and Windsor volunteer team will be happy to assist you in bringing the idea to fruition, and we will guarantee that the event will be cash-positive for the parish. E-mail us at the address at the bottom of this page or call (248) 250-2740 for further information.
Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
Mon. 08/27 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Joseph Calasancticus, Confessor)
Tue. 08/28 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Assumption-Windsor (St. Augustine, Bishop, Confessor, & Doctor)
"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"