First of all, I have to mention that I'm truly sorry if this question would seem inappropriate for this site for some people. Still, I think it is better to ask here rather on math.stackexchange.

I recently grasped basic notions of Grothendieck universes for category theory. We most use the axioms of Zermelo and Fraenkel, Axiom of Choice and an additional axiom saying that any set is contained within some universe. What is more, I understood that the purpose of universes, intuitively, is that we can "do set theory" within the universe. That is, we can construct new sets out of old ones using the axioms of Zermelo and Fraenkel, and still stay within universe. But my understanding may be false, please, correct me, if I'm wrong. Many of the sources I consulted are either very technical or very brief, so my understanding of the matter is somewhat vague.

Still, as of now, I don't think I understand what Grothendieck universes and the axiom (the one about every set being in a universe) brings to the table of category theory.
Classically, people wanted to talk, for example, about all categories of sets with (or without) structure (e.g. $\mathrm{Grp}, \ \mathrm{Ring}, \ \mathrm{R-Mod}$ or even $\mathrm{Set}$). So, if we use classes, the collections of objects in the aformentioned categories would be proper classes.
Now, if we use universes, we fix a Grothendieck universe $\mathbb{U}$ and assume that collections of objects and morphisms in any category are actually sets. Then we call the members of $\mathbb{U} \ \ \mathbb{U}$**-sets**, the subsets of $\mathbb{U} \ \ \mathbb{U}$**-classes**, and we call a $\mathbb{U}$-class **proper** if it is not a member of of $\mathbb{U}$.

After that, we call a category $\mathrm{C}$ a $\mathbb{U}$**-small** if the set of objects and the set of morphisms of $\mathrm{C}$ are $\mathbb{U}$-sets. And we call $\mathrm{C}$ a **locally small** if the set of objects and the set of morphisms of $\mathrm{C}$ are $\mathbb{U}$-classes, and $\forall X,Y \in \mathrm{C}: \ \mathrm{Hom_C} (X,Y)$ is a $\mathbb{U}$-set.

But I have to wonder what is the motivation? I realise that in the end it is supposed to ease the foundations of category theory on set theory by erasing the need on distinguishing between sets, classes, conglomerates and whatever the "higher" notions are called (sorry, I haven't heard of them). But how is this supposed to make up for the fact that we don't study "the whole" category (such as the category of all sets, for example) anymore? And what is the motivation behind the notion of Grothendieck universe in respect of category theory? So, we can "do set theory" in a universe, and what it does for us as far as category theory goes?

**To sum up: my question is what exactly the use of Grothendieck universes gives us so we don't need to study categories with proper classes of objects and morphisms, or proper conglomerates of objects and morphisms, or other collections of objects and morphisms that are not sets? If we assume that any category has only a set of objects and morphisms, but this time use the help of Grothendieck universes, why this works? Why can we forsake collections of elements that are too big to be a set in favor of sets and only sets if we fix a universe $\mathbb{U}$ and study whether sets of objects and morphisms of a category belong to $\mathbb{U}$? What is the "magic" of a Grothendieck universe?**

**P.S.** I consulted several sources before asking this question, they were helpful to me in other aspects, but in the end they didn't resolve my confusing on this specific matter. In particular, I consulted Borceux'. Mac Lane's and Kashiwara's (coathored with P.Schapira) books on category theory, the articles by D.Murfet and M.Shulman. I know there is supposed to be an extensive exposition in SGA 4, but, unfortunately, I can't read French.

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