Before I say anything on the matter, I’d like to get this out of the way. Whether one goes to an Ordinary or Extraordinary Roman Rite Mass, he is still at a Mass. Therefore, the Lord is still present, and every manner of grace which a person can receive is fully available in both forms, since the Lord is fully present in both. In that respect, one Mass is not somehow “better” than another.
It was recently brought to my attention that the Ordinary Form is just as beautiful as the Extraordinary Form, if said well. While this might be true to a degree, even the most reverent Novus Ordo Missae has a stripped-down feeling by comparison, even if it’s ad orientem and makes use of altar rails and strictly male servers and the whole nine yards. Here’s why: certain prayers are gone.
Take, for example, the prayers before the Introit found in the Extraordinary Form. The priest and server, before going up to the altar, recite Psalm 42, special meaning found in the phrase “Introibo ad altare Dei” (“I will go unto the altar of God”) and the server’s response, “Ad Deum qui laetificat iuventutem meam” (“To God who gives joy to my youth”). Not only is this a quoting of Sacred Scripture, but it also helps convey the mystery and awe of which the Mass is possessing. It’s a shame that this was removed from the Ordinary Form.
Observe as well the Suscipe, Sancta Trinitas, a prayer which has also been removed from the Ordinary Form, said during the Offertory:
Accept, most Holy Trinity, this offering which we are making to You in remembrance of the passion, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, Our Lord; and in honor of blessed Mary, ever Virgin, Blessed John the Baptist, the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and of (name of the Saints whose relics are in the Altar) and of all the Saints; that it may add to their honor and aid our salvation; and may they deign to intercede in heaven for us who honor their memory here on earth. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
If that prayer doesn’t scream “Catholic” to you, I don’t know what does.
Another unfortunate removal comes during the Communion Rite. In the Extraordinary Form, the priest says a beautiful, concise little prayer before giving Our Lord to the communicant: Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam. Amen (“May the body of Our Lord Jesus Christ preserve your soul unto life everlasting. Amen.”). Not only is this far more theological than a mere, “The Body of Christ’, but the priest would also make a Sign of the Cross with the consecrated Host. Why in the world did this have to be done away with? I must say it’s one of my prayers that perhaps this practice above all could be reintroduced into the Novus Ordo. That would make me incredibly happy.
Speaking of making the Sign of the Cross, the number of times that’s done has been greatly diminished as well. In the Extraordinary Form, the priest would make the Sign of the Cross over the bread and wine more than twenty times. In the Ordinary Form he only signs them once. Again, why?
Two more things removed from the Novus Ordo would be the Last Gospel and the prayers at the foot of the altar. The Last Gospel consists of the first eighteen verses of John (“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”, etc), describing the Incarnation as the first step of redemption. The prayers at the foot of the altar consist of a Hail Mary, the Salve Regina, and the St. Michael Prayer. Yet again, why did they have to be removed? It’s one of my great wishes that these eventually return as well.
I’ve often found myself wondering why the Novus Ordo isn’t just a direct translation of the 1962 missal. Then nothing would be removed, and besides, the translations of Latin found in there are often more competent than what we actually use (with the exception of “thee”s and “thy”s and “-eth” at the end of every verb).
Just some thoughts from yours truly.