June 29, 2023

What do you get out of Mass? Here’s what...

It’s been said that familiarity breeds contempt. For Catholics, I think there’s a temptation for familiarity to breed complacency. We are all susceptible of taking for granted that which is closest to us, including the Mass. While Sacred Tradition is very important to understand the fullness of our faith, if we get too comfortable, our experience of Catholicism can be reduced to rituals alone, going through the motions week in and week out, disconnected from our ‘real lives’. I love the quote I heard recently that “true tradition isn’t the worship of ashes but the preservation of fire.” Amen...


  1. The question as to what a person might "get out of the Mass" unfortunately puts the cart before the horse; on its face, it is self-referential and, in that sense, rather Protestant-like.

    Let us remember that the primary purpose of Mass is to praise and adore God, through the offering of the Sacrifice of His Son.

    As stated in the Baltimore Catechism, the purpose of the Mass (“the sacrifice of the Cross”) is:
    1. To honor and glorify God;
    2. To thank Him for all graces bestowed on the whole world;
    3. To satisfy God’s justice for the sins of men; and
    4. To obtain all graces and blessings.

    See, http://www.baltimore-catechism.com/lesson24.htm.

    Let us also remember that the homily itself is not a “part” of the Mass – it is a stepping outside of the Mass, like an intermission. Much like “good music,” it is anything but essential – and many times, we would be better off without it.

    Finally, let it be recalled that there are circumstances in which a person should refrain from receiving the Eucharist (e.g., if he or she is not a practicing Catholic, is in mortal sin, or otherwise is “unworthy” to receive at that particular moment). See 1 Corinthians 11:27.

    1. Describing the Mass, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy from Vatican Council II says that the faithful offer Christ with the priest, and by this "they should learn to offer themselves as well; through Christ the Mediator, they should be formed day by day into an ever more perfect unity with God and with each other, ...

    2. Thank you. What you have noted does not appear at all inconsistent with the original post provided. In fact, since long prior to Vatican II, the Church has taught that each member of the faithful is to actively pray the Mass, uniting his or her own petitions with those of the priest, etc. The fundamental question, once again, is the purpose: why should the Mass be actively prayed? The answer, as formulated by the Baltimore Catechism provision cited above, remains true.