Rose vestments and the special fruits of the Mass

On Gaudete and Laetare Sundays, Catholic Internet abounds with photos of rose vestments laid out in sacristies and worn at Mass. Indeed I posted the above image myself on Twitter yesterday ;-) Looking at these pictures prompted me to write something about the fruits of the Mass.

Every Mass is offered for, and benefits, all the living and the dead. This is the will of Christ and the Church, quite independent of the priest who offers the Mass. In addition to these "general fruits," we speak of the "special fruits" gained by those people who assist in offering the Mass.* The most obvious way of assisting is by actually being present at the Mass, and participating devoutly, but it is also possible to assist by providing for the celebration by building the Church, by keeping it maintained, or by providing things for the Mass, such as vessels – or indeed vestments.

The special fruits of the Mass are impetratory, propitiatory, and satisfactory.
  • Impetratory – the Mass is the greatest act of petition and obtains many spiritual benefits for us, and sometimes material (or “temporal”) benefits.
  • Propitiatory – the Mass protects us from harm and from the wrath of God, and it avails for the forgiveness of our sins (provided that we are sorry for them.)
  • Satisfactory – the Mass remits the temporal punishment due to our sins, (provided that we are in a state of grace.)

Back in 2009, Damian Thompson and Fr John Zuhlsdorf encouraged many people to contribute to providing a High Mass set of rose vestments for Our Lady of the Rosary in Blackfen where I was parish priest. Those vestments were later acquired by St Bede’s at Clapham Park where they are regularly in use. There are many people who benefit from the special fruits of the Masses celebrated using those vestments.

* For any readers who might get worried about incompleteness, there are also the most special fruits of the Mass and the ministerial fruits of the Mass which I am not covering in this post.

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