The Dismissal: Before the Last Blessing
After the Postcommunion, the priest goes to the center of the altar. Then he faces the people and prays. “The Lord be with you.” The altar boy answers for the people, “And with your spirit.”
The dismissal is next given. The priest, still facing the people, says: “Go, the Mass is over.” Sometimes the Latin is put into other English words – “Go, you are sent forth.” or “Go, you are dismissed.” The altar boy replies: “Thanks be to God.” In the name of the people he is thanking God for the graces they have recieved during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
During Advent and Lent the priest says: “Let us bless the Lord,” instead of “Go, the Mass is over.” At Masses for the dead the people are dismissed with the prayer, “May they rest in peace.”
After making the short dismissal prayer, the priest turns and bows before the altar. Silently he prays:
May the tribute of my worship be pleasing to Thee, most Holy Trinity, and grant that the sacrifice which I, all unworthy, have offered in the presence of Thy majesty, may be acceptable to Thee, and through Thy mercy obtain forgiveness for me and all for whom I have offered it.
This prayer speaks of some things about Holy Mass that Catholics desire always to remember.
The Mass is, first of all, an act of worship of the Most Holy Trinity.
An act of worship tries to give to God the honor that is due Him.
Holy Mass is a sacrifice.
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the all-perfect sacrifice. In the Mass Our Lord Jesus Christ, through the priest, offers Himself to God under the appearances of bread and wine.
The priest is speaking for himself. He says how unworthy he is to have offered the Holy Sacrifice.
The words of the priest remind the people to have the same thought. They know how unworthy they are to unite with the priest in offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. They know how poorly they have done so.
The priest asks for forgiveness for himself, and for all those for whom he has offered the Holy Sacrifice.
Many times during Holy Mass the priest and people pray for two things. The first is forgiveness or pardon. The second, not mentioned in this prayer, is God’s grace and help. Priest and people pray for these blessings for themselves and for others.
The Last or Final Blessing
When the priest has finished the prayer that he says bowed over the altar, he kisses the altar. Then he raises his eyes and hands toward heaven. Next, he turns to the people and blesses them. He makes the Sign of the Cross and says: May God almighty bless you: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The altar boy answers, Amen.
The words of blessing seem to speak to the people of two things. First, they remind them of the blessings received from the Most Holy Trinity during Holy Mass. Then they seem to tell the people that they have new grace. They have help from God for all they shall do and think and say, as they go forth from Holy Mass.
Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!