The reality is the Novus Ordo mass is not going away and the Traditional Latin Mass is being restricted. Perhaps the future will bring an increase in the TLM and decrease in NO, but there is no guarantee, and, at this time, it appears the Novus Ordo will be the prominent Mass in the Church. A large portion of Catholics are unable to drive a long distance to attend the only TLM within hours from their home.
However, those who feel they must attend the Novus Ordo have a responsibility to be as reverent as possible. If one attends the Novus Ordo then there are also a few opportunities to bring an increased reverence to the Mass and, perhaps, cause others to reconsider increasing their reverence. The responsibility of reverence during Mass not only lies with the clergy, but also with the laity. There are two simple ways one can increase Eucharistic reverence at Mass. It all begins with you. It may sound rebellious, counter-cultural, or even unnecessary. However, it is exactly the opposite. It is adhering to the history of reverence toward Christ and the Eucharist while simultaneously reminding ourselves of whom we are receiving in the host.
1.) Receive the Eucharist on the tongue: St. Thomas Aquinas said, “out of reverence towards this Sacrament, nothing touches it, but what is consecrated.” Receiving the Eucharist on the tongue not only reminds you of the holiness and sacredness of which you are receiving, but also signifies to those around you that this is the Lord. It is more than bread. It is the body, blood, soul, and divinity of the Lord. Rome allows for a choice. With the creation of Novus Ordo, it provides for Catholics to choose if they want to receive on the tongue or in the hand. If you want to increase reverence in your parish then receiving on the tongue is a small thing to do which sends a massive message. It sends a message of holiness and sacredness. We may be given a choice, but we must choose wisely.
2.) Receive the Eucharist kneeling: There is something special about the moment. There is something sacred about the holy. When we receive the Eucharist standing before the priest, it places us in a physical equality with the priest and, as a result, minimizes the sacredness of that which we receive. Receiving the Lord on our knees turns the ordinary moment into a holy and extraordinary moment. Let us remember we are given the body, blood, soul, and divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ in the small host. We can lose track of what that means. We can miss the moment. The devil creates the distraction, the habit, of making reception of the Eucharist a routine rather than a heavenly moment. However, when we receive the Eucharist on our knees we are forced to look up toward the priest. We place ourselves in a lower position and our eyes look up to the Lord. Kneeling says, “I am unworthy”. Kneeling says, “I am second, or third, or fourth and the Lord, present in the holy Eucharist, is first and foremost.” The emphasis when kneeling sends the message that Jesus is the focus, and He belongs above while I belong below. It expresses gratitude for the gift we are given and recognizes the Lord showers us with grace, forgives our stupid mistakes and sins, welcomes us into His kingdom, and calls us His child. It is in that moment that we see Him. It is in that moment that we look up to Jesus. It is in that moment that we surrender.
We may not be able to individually make Rome change things which cause an irreverent reception of the Eucharist, an increased disbelief in the Real Presence, or a decreased view of the sacred within the Mass. However, individually, we can make a difference. We can begin to stir the waves within our own parish which sends a message of holiness. It sends a message of sacredness. It sends the message of Jesus ever present in the Mass and in the Eucharist. It will also increase your faith, your belief, and your view of the Eucharist.