To receive the fullness of the miraculous graces from the Mass, it can help men to understand the stages of the Mass and how blessings are bestowed to men at each stage. In the Mass, men leave the battlefield of the Spiritual Combat, meet their King on Holy Ground in His fortress and are healed and fed, returning then again to the life-long Spiritual Combat as they battle in their pilgrimage towards Heaven.

Stage 1 – Preparing for Sunday Mass – Blessing #1 – Sacramentally prepared to meet Christ the King 

Men are engaged in a life and death Spiritual Combat in which their lives and the lives of their wives, children, family and friends hang in the balance.  The Holy Mass gives men the ability to be guided and strengthened by Christ the King.

On Saturday (or earlier), do a thorough Examination of Conscience with true contrition (sorrow) using The 10 Commandments or other available guides (CCC 1451-1454). If you are in mortal sin, go to Confession before Sunday Mass. 

On Sunday morning, arise early and pray for 15 minutes, asking Christ to help you keep His day holy. 

Fast (as Christ practiced) for 1 hour prior to Mass in penance. 

Go to Mass with the goal of giving God thanks. Make a list of those things for which you are currently most grateful.

Make a short list of your personal sacrifices for Christ. Make a deliberate decision to give a meaningful financial sacrifice at the Mass.

Make a list of those people and circumstances which need Christ’s help to personally present to Him in the Mass. 

Dress to show honor and respect for your King. Dress at least as well as you would to meet the Pope or President; Christ is infinitely more important. 

Meditate upon the Scripture readings for the day’s Mass. This can include meditating upon the Gospel reading for the day’s Mass and the Daily Devotion from The Every Catholic Man Daily Gospel Devotional; if married, consider reading and discussing the Daily Devotion with your wife and children. 

If you are married and have children, help your wife get the kids ready to go to Mass.

Leave home to arrive at the parish at least 15 minutes prior to Mass to give you and your family time to pray and to avoid distracting other people by arriving at the last minute or late; go earlier if your parish prays the Rosary before Mass.

Stage 2 – Entering the Parish – Blessing #2 – Graced to be in Christ’s Presence 

Upon drawing near the parish, make the Sign of the Cross in honor of Christ who resides and is waiting in the Tabernacle; this should be an automatic habit to honor Christ anytime you drive by any Catholic parish.

As you enter the parish, realize that you are entering hallowed ground and fortress of Christ the King. Be quiet and be awed. Your spouse, children and all present should witness the reverence that you have for Christ the King.

Bless yourself with Holy Water and make the Sign of the Cross, acknowledging Christ the King and your commitment to carry your Cross. Bless your children with Holy Water.

Take in the sacred art (statues, stained glass), with particular attention to the altar, high altar and the Tabernacle.

Make your way to the pew, slowing genuflecting in profound reverence to Christ the King who is present in the Tabernacle. Realize you are in Christ’s presence.

Kneel in prayer. Present your list of things you are grateful for, offer your sacrifices and present your prayer petitions. Ask for forgiveness for your sins for Christ to help you honor Him in the Mass. Pray “before Mass” from the Devotional section “Prayers for the Sacrament of the Eucharist” (p ___) or from The Daily Roman Missal. Remain silent, listening for Christ’s direction.

Stage 3 – The Introductory Rites – Blessing #3 – Forgiven of Venial Sins

Processional

Stand with the priest as Christ the King ascends to Calvary, joining the whole of the Church Militant with all the Saints, Angels and all the martyrs who have died to build Christ’s Church; reverently bow and make the Sign of the Cross as the Crucifix of Christ passes by in the procession to the altar.

Greeting

Acknowledge, honor and confirm your obedience to the Almighty Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in making the Sign of the Cross. Receive the same blessing (“The Lord be with you”) given to God’s greatest men (Joshua, Moses, Gideon, etc.) as they prepared to take up some great mission of God; you too, are on a mission from God. Pray with your hands together over your heart and give robust responses throughout the Mass to demonstrate your reverence and absolute commitment to Christ the King.

Penitent Act/Confiteor

Recalling your Examination of Conscience prior to the Mass, confess the sins which you have personally committed by what you have done and what you have failed to do, to Christ the Eternal Judge in the presence of the whole Communion of Saints. By making this confession, you are confirming that you are a sinner and admitting your sins; do not perjure yourself by absentmindedly making this admission to God if you truly do not mean it or you are not taking this confession seriously. Remember that if you have committed any mortal sin, you can not be forgiven of mortal sin except in the Sacrament of Penance.

Kyrie Elesion

After confessing your sins, you, with the whole Church, begs the Blessed Trinity to have mercy on you and to forgive you for your sins. The Kyrie Elesion relies on Christ’s Divine Mercy which is a powerful and life-saving gift to those who believe and give themselves to Him; feel the great sorrow for your sins and be awed that Jesus Christ Himself is hearing your cries for Him to have mercy on you personally. Give thanks for Christ the King’s Divine Mercy for you, your family and all people of good will.

Gloria

After begging for Christ to have mercy upon you for your sins, now be filled with confidence and joy for Christ’s Divine Mercy upon you, your family and all people of good will. Be awed that in praying the Gloria you are adding your voice to the glory which God received by the whole army of angels at the birth of Christ at His Nativity, the first Christmas.

Collect

In joyful unity with all the Saints, Angels and all God’s people, pray fervently with the priest for the Blessed Trinity to pour down abundant blessings and guidance upon all present and upon every soul on earth during the Mass; be awed that you are hearing words prayed that are being said directly to the Almighty Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Who are present and listening. 

Stage 4 – The Liturgy of the Word  – Blessing #4 – Renewing Vows to the Fullness of the Catholic Faith 

First Reading

After the Collect, sit and reverently realize you are entering into Salvation History through the readings from Sacred Scripture and hearing the same words by which the Almighty Father revealed Himself, in Jesus Christ and with the Holy Spirit, to all the ancient predecessors of the faith; be awed that because you are blessed to be a Catholic man, you are hearing not simply some historical record but a supernatural family history of your ancestors in the faith, your spiritual relatives. Seek to listen deeply and receive from God what He is revealing to you today in the readings. In the readings from the Old Testament, closely pay attention to how the Father is revealing the Son in the Scripture.

Responsorial Psalm

The Psalms are ancient hymns which have been prayed and chanted for thousands of years. Pray with the eternal Church, repeating and singing the same prayers that Christ inspired King David to write and that Christ Himself prayed, even on the Cross; be awed as you pray and sing the same words that have helped make men into Saints for millennia.

Second Reading

Listen to the direction and teaching of Christ’s chosen Apostles, identifying the ways in which God is directing you to grow in the Spirit and to build His Church through the reading; again, recall and be awed that you are hearing the words not from dead men of the past, but living Saints who are in Heaven and are your personal spiritual relatives, your fathers in the faith, and who now speak directly to you today.

Alleluia

Stand in great reverence for the Gospel, shouting out “Alleluia” (“Glory to Him who is, praise God”).  Recognize that Christ Himself is about to speak His own Words to you through the priest/deacon. Make the Sign of the Cross on your forehead to prepare your mind to be imprinted with the Words of Christ, on your lips so that every word that comes from your mouth might become holy, and your heart so that your heart and soul might be filled with the wisdom and love of Jesus Christ; beg Jesus that His words might awaken and fortify you for spiritual combat.

Gospel

Be awed by Jesus Christ, the Word, listening intently to the guidance and commands your King to Whom you have sacredly pledged your allegiance and submission to, words which He continues to speak and mysteriously, speaks to you personally so that you might be drawn to the Blessed Trinity and strengthened in your pilgrimage towards Heaven. Listen closely for how Christ is seeking to help you find the true and lasting happiness He promises, paying special attention and being delighted to recognize the mysterious connections across all the readings for the day.  

Homily

As you sit, briefly give thanks that Jesus Christ established Holy Orders through His Apostles, blessing His Church across the ages with priests and deacons; be awed that the priest or deacon that you are now listening to has a direct spiritual lineage all the way back to Jesus Christ Himself. As Jesus’ chosen priest/deacon speaks, listen and strive to hear what Jesus is saying directly to you today, so that you might grow in holiness; listen for the deep personal truths which draw you to God and ignore any distracting thoughts about the priest/deacon himself or the delivery of his homily. 

Profession of the Faith

Stand to show honor and respect to God and in solemn reverence for the words you are now about to say in the Creed. Having received Christ’s Mercy at the beginning of the Mass and journeyed with the Church Militant across Salvation History through the reading of your personal family story, now renew your sacred vow of loyalty to your King and Savior by reciting the Creed by which you confirm your acceptance of the entirety of the Church’s teachings. 

Similar to the vow a man makes when called to testify before a human judge in a court of law, realize you are making a solemn vow before the Divine Judge, Who you stand before now and you will soon face in your own Judgment. Consider every word and phrase of the Creed, saying each as a solemn declaration of your faith and obedience to Jesus Christ and His Holy Catholic Church. 

Sadly, many Catholics come to Mass and profess the Creed while being in a state of direct rebellion to teachings of the Church (e.g. failing to go to Confession, being in a state of mortal sin, use of contraception, fornication prior to marriage, support of abortion or other grave sins so prevalent in modern society, etc.); these poor souls profess their allegiance with their lips, but their hearts are in rebellion against God. 

Do not perjure yourself before Jesus Christ, your Divine Judge, by mouthing words you are in rebellion against through deliberate and knowledgable denial of Church teachings by any thought, word or deed. If you harbor any doubt or are in direct rebellion to some Church teaching (a mortal sin) and are in danger of heresy, pray now for Christ conform your will to His; make it an urgent priority to review The Catechism of the Catholic Church or other sources about the Church’s definitive teaching and go to speak with your priest to discuss your confusion or refusal to submit to the faith. Know this: God wants you to be happy and has established the teachings of the Church for your salvation and happiness; directly confront your rebellion and seek God’s forgiveness and help to conform your malformed will to His perfect will. 

Prayers of the Faithful

Having renewed your sacred vow of belief and obedience in the Creed, be blessed to pray directly to your Almighty Father, in Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit. Recall the personal petitions you desire to place before God that you noted in preparation for the Mass. Add your prayers to the prayers of the Church and beg for God to hear and answer all the prayers of the faithful, especially those who are gravely suffering or are near death.

Stage 5 – The Liturgy of the Eucharist – Blessing #5 – Witness the Miracle of Transubstantiation and Union with Christ 

Preparation of the Gifts

After praying with the whole Church, sit and begin to be blessed in the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Pray with deep reverence, as if you are personally at Calvary and about the witness the Crucifixion of Jesus and are with Him at the Last Supper. 

Recall the personal sacrifices you identified in your preparation for the Mass and add them to the sacrifices of the whole Church. Do not neglect to make a financial contribution, recalling that the Precepts of the Church oblige you to personally contribute to the financial needs of the Church, consistent with your financial ability to do so; do not be ungrateful to God for His many blessings by being stingy or failing to give what you can. 

Solemnly watch the ancient ritual of the Mass, passed down across the ages, as the priest (and deacon) carefully and lovingly prepare the gifts at the Altar of Calvary. Stand (Pray brethren), speaking with vigor, confirming your awe, gratitude and hope that the Almighty Father accepts all the sacrifices brought before Him.

Preface

As the Eucharistic (thanksgiving) Prayer begins, listen intently to the priest’s pleadings and his thanks to Christ, on behalf of the whole people gathered in the parish, including you and your family. As you reverently observe, let the mysterious and magnificent supernatural event which is now occurring right before you fill your heart and soul in awe and gratitude that God has allowed you, a poor sinner, to be present. 

Sanctus

Be astounded as all present begin to pray the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy), the ancient prayer which has been prayed by the Saints and Martyrs before God for thousands of years; even more astounding, realize that all of the Heavenly Host, including the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, and all the Angels and Saints in Heaven, are praying the Sanctus with you. Marvel and be awed that a lowly man like you can give God glory with all the Saints and Angels and let the glory you are giving to God permeate your soul and know that your prayers are right now, rising up to God in Heaven.

Invocation – In anticipation as the stunning supernatural miracle of the Transubstantiation grows near, humbly fall to your knees before your God, watching in hushed awe as the priest prays for God to perform the greatest miracle imaginable; the Transubstantiation of simple bread and wine into Jesus Christ’s actual Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Pray for God to fill you with the greatest joy and awe in anticipation of the most astonishing event in all of Creation, which you are now about to witness.

Institution Narrative

Recognize Jesus Christ the King is speaking through His priest, repeating the actual words He used at the Last Supper and be awed at the miracle of Transubstantiation, in which the Blessed Trinity causes the the bread and wine to be supernaturally become the actual Body and Blood of Jesus. Gazing at the elevated actual Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, be stunned by the unexplainable Mystery of Faith you are blessed to witness. Add your solemn agreement to the mysterious and soul moving truth of Christ’s Passion, death and Resurrection, saying, “We proclaim your death…” Pray with the priest to the Almighty Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In the Great Amen (I believe!), proclaim your absolute belief that the Body and Blood of Christ is  now present. 

The Lord’s Prayer/Our Father

Stand in honor and awe of the Almighty Father, praying to Him with the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, the Apostles, all the Angels and Saints, using the actual words Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, gave to men to pray. Keep your attention focused on these sacred words of Jesus and do not become distracted by familiarity with the Our Father, concentrating as you say every phrase as if you are saying it for the last time before your death, praying intently that the Almighty Father, through His Son with the Holy Spirit, will answer this personal prayer of yours.

The Sign of Peace

Prior to Communion, being cleansed of venial sin (but not un-repentant mortal sin) receive the gift of Christ’s promised peace; marvel at the profound blessing of personally receiving the peace of Jesus Christ directly from Him. If encouraged to “share the peace”, reverently and briefly offer Christ’s peace to others if you are so moved in your heart to do so, remembering that Jesus Christ is present in the Eucharist and it is He Who deserves your greatest attention.

The Lamb of God – Repeating the acclamation of the powerful and manly Saint John the Baptist, chant the Lamb of God, recalling the mysterious way that God led His People throughout Salvation History to the Eucharist you will now be given. 

Communion

Kneel before the Lamb of God and repeat the words of the Centurion, saying each word with a reverence so deep that Jesus Himself might marvel at your faith as He did with the Centurion. Be convinced of your unworthiness and the infinite gap between where you now are and the perfection of Sainthood Jesus Christ Himself has called you to; be astonished and humbled that Jesus Christ’s infinite sacrifice has been in part for the forgiveness of your personal sins and that He Himself will soon give Himself to you in His Body and Blood. 

If you are in a state of mortal sin do not approach the Eucharist to avoid bringing down God’s Judgment on yourself (1 Cor 11:27); if you are unsure, wait and do not receive the Eucharist until you have spoken to a priest and gone again to receive forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance. 

Approach the Eucharist with awe and holy fear of the awesome Eternal Power of God. Kneel (or bow deeply) before Jesus Christ present in the Eucharist, confirm the reality and your belief that you are receiving “the Body and Blood of Christ” by vigorously saying  “Amen” (“I believe!”); though it is licit to receive the Holy Body and Blood of Jesus in your hands, consider choosing instead to receive the Eucharist on your tongue as a sign of your awe at His Crucifixion for you and your humble reverence of Christ. 

Return to the pew and kneel in awe and gratitude for the supernatural Grace you have been given, that you have received the Bread of Angels, the actual Body and Blood of Jesus Christ which now is pulsing through your own body. Pray that you might receive Jesus Christ’s Grace to the fullest extent possible.  

Stage 6 – The Concluding Rites – Blessing #6 – Blessed by Almighty God and Commissioned to Make Disciples 

Stand, rejoicing that God has called and allowed you to be a Catholic man, a Catholic Son and a Catholic Father.

Receive Jesus Christ’s Blessing that He has bestowed on great warriors in the past, accept the Christ’s mission to “go and make disciples.”

Acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Crucifix passed by in the Procession, bowing and making the Sign of the Cross. After the Procession is complete, kneel, giving thanks and praying that Jesus Christ might give you the Grace to do His Will, to battle sin and build His Kingdom. Offer prayers after the Mass including the Hail Mary, the St. Michael Prayer, and other prayers after the Mass (see “Prayers for the Sacrament of the Eucharist” p ___ or prayers found in  The Daily Roman Missal. 

Genuflect before the Tabernacle before exiting, blessing yourself with Holy Water and confirming you are committed to carry the Cross of Jesus Christ into the world and to draw many to become adopted sons of God.

Stage 7 – Returning to the Spiritual Combat – Blessing #7 – Reinvigorated for the Spiritual Combat

Renewed and strengthened by the blessings of the Almighty Father, in receiving the Body and Blood of the Son, and being filled with the Holy Spirit, return to the field of spiritual combat to serve Jesus in His Catholic Church Militant.

Be a devout Catholic Son and Catholic Father, a sacrificial protector, provider, and leader of your family, keeping spiritual practices that include daily prayer and scripture reading, Adoration, regular Confession and building fraternity with other Catholic men until you are next blessed to come before the Blessed Trinity in the Holy Mass.