Well, “reverent” is kind of subjective depending on what you are used to.
Take, for instance, churches that are more “shout and praise” style. [b:1ujibjmg]That[/b:1ujibjmg] is their form of showing reverence to God. What has become the common definition (at least here in the U.S.) I think is the silent, being still, hands folded, keeping all of your limbs in towards yourself.
In the Catholic Church today you will see many people with their hands folded as they pray, but only a few thousand years ago, the way to pray was with the hands open and the body open to God – that is the way the Hebrews pray.
This position is kind of interesting because when you do it, you feel more vulnerable (at least I do) and open. It’s almost like you’re allowing yourself to become hit by something. Whereas the hands folded thing is a nice security blanket where you can keep yourself focused inward. It’s really an interesting experience to pray with your hands out instead of in.
Now, I have always grown up with the Mass in the vernacular so I am not too familiar with the Tidentine Mass, but I do know a few things. For one, it would seem weird to me that the priest is not facing toward me when doing a lot of the Eucharistic prayers since part of the purpose of the Eucharist is to bind the Body of Christ together. And communion rails and all that seem to me to be keeping something that is meant for the people away from the people. I think the changes in the mass were a great thing.
If you look at the original Eucharist, you see that all the people were gathered around a table, facing each other and sharing. They were not 50 yards away in a back pew watching the “show” at the altar.
I also think that the Mass is whatever you put into it. If you’re not attentive or not in tune with what is going on then yeah, it won’t seem that great.
Now, I understand that the Tridentine Mass might be beautiful with the singing and Latin and all that, but I do not see it any more reverent than any other type of Mass. The Mass is something that can be integrated with different cultures, hence the different Rites of the Church (with the Latin Rite being the most common) and creating different worship styles. Reverence in each of these settings may be different due to different cultural norms thereby making reverence subjective.