The joy of worship is expressed very different in the Extraordinary Form Mass, or Tridentine Mass. Whereas in the Ordinary Form Mass, there is contemporary or classical music that the people often join in and sing, and there are responses from the people which are loud, and gestures that people make with their arms and hands to show they are happy, the Tridentine Mass does not have any of that.
Instead, the joy of worship is expressed in the solemnity and splendor with which the altar is adorned. The Solemn High Mass has many large and small candles burning, providing the beauty of candlelight. There are exquisite flower arrangements and beautiful, fine cloths that drape the altar and ambo.
Then the organ intones much more solemn and deeply moving Gregorian melodies which are chanted. Very little of the Tridentine Mass is recited when the Mass is solemn and joyful. Most of the Mass is chanted between the priest and the choir, with even the Scripture lesson and Gospel being sung in Gregorian melody, accompanied with candles and incense and great pomp.
Finally, in the Solemn High Mass of the Extraordinary Form, you have a priest, a deacon, and a subdeacon, in matching and beautiful vestments. There are many gestures, such as bows and genuflections, which convey a sense of grandeur as the three of them move from one part of the Mass to the next. Because of the Gregorian chants, nothing is rushed or busy, but carried out with great seriousness and deliberation. This is why the Tridentine Mass in its most solemn and joyful form always has a Master of Ceremonies.
The choreography of movement, combined with song, gesture, incense, and gestures, communicates intense emotions and feelings which are indeed heavenly and raise the mind to God. Although the people themselves do not participate, their attention is usually rapt in the unfolding drama of ancient ritual carried out with a deep sense of prayer and adoration of the one, True God.
In other words, it is a different kind of expression of joy. It is not a “feeling” thing, as with the Ordinary Form Mass, but an interior sense that the congregation is being swept up into another dimension of existence. Even small children are known to remain silent and in awe as they see the grandeur of the Solemn High Mass.
If you ever see a fine ballet, where the dancers are silent, but where the movements of ballet communicate intense emotion and meaning, you will understand what I mean. I would say that the Ordinary Form Mass lets people make noise, and move their body, like a country dance which is fun and entertaining.
The Tridentine Mass, however, is more like watching the ballet “Swan Lake” and having such intention emotion in your heart that even though no one makes a sound, many in the audience are weeping when the ballet is finished. God bless and take care! Fr. Angel