Noen steder har katolikker opplevd at presten har bedt barn komme opp og stå sammen med ham ved alteret under den eukaristiske bønn, men selv om dette er forbudt, viser det noe som kan hjelpe oss å forstå hva som skjer i messen, når de troende assisterer presten under hans frembærelse av det aukaristsike offeret. Det kan vi lese her på nettstedet praythemass.org:
… I would like to dwell more on this point, for it seems to be an attempted solution to a pastoral problem, namely that the people in the congregation (at least in the priest’s estimation) see themselves as merely watching the priest, as separated from him, perhaps even as isolated from him by the intervention of the altar itself. The attempted solution in the scenario I have described lies in re-locating and re-orienting the selected members of the congregation so that they are on the same side of the altar as the priest and facing in the same direction as him.
In a Mass celebrated ad orientem, the problem disappears, since the entire congregation is situated “behind the altar.” They all stand together with the priest. They are all associated with him as he offers the Eucharistic Sacrifice in the person of Christ. The interior and spiritual orientation of the Mass is reflected in and bolstered by the physical posture of the priest and people.
People commonly refer to ad orientem worship as “the priest with his back to the people.” This characterization, while literally correct, presumes a view of the Mass that has already reduced the congregation to being only an audience. The deacon also stands and kneels behind the priest, but no one speaks of “the priest with his back to the deacon.” Why would they? After all, the deacon is standing there with the priest, and he has his own proper role. If, as Catholic doctrine demands, we begin with an affirmation that the congregation offers the Mass through and with the priest, that they are fundamentally associated with the action of Christ through the priest and have their own proper role, we would hardly be tempted to say that the priest stands “with his back to the people.” We may as well say that the people in the first pew stand with their backs to the people in the second pew. Rather, we would naturally say that the people face the altar together with the priest. They all face the same direction, since they are all engaged in the same sacred action. …