In the usus antiquior the silence shouts "PRAYER", in the usus recentior celebrated ad orientem there is a strong indication prayer is taking place but when it is celebrated facing the people, well, I am not sure what is going on and what the people are meant to do, I must confess I don't know what our !st Communion children are taught to do in the Eucharistic Prayer.
What do you do during the Eucharistic Prayer?
Do you join the priest in saying the Eucharistic Prayer? I am told in some liberal parishes priests encourage people to join in, even here some people follow the prayer in their missals, a few even move their lips.
Do you just wait for the priest to finish - not sure what to do? This seems to be why most priests opt for the short and quick EP2.
Do you say your own prayers? It always strikes me as a bit rude to deliberately pray about something else when the priest is addressing God.
In "The Sprit of Liturgy" the Pope speaks about returning to silent Eucharistic Prayer, or saying it silently but announcing in some way key words. In Britain on his visit he used Latin, which in most people's minds is bit like silence with sound and people commented on the profound sense of prayer.
The Eucharistic Prayer should be the moment of profound intercession for the Church, the world, salvation, mission. The answer is presumably a return to celebrating ad orientem and in silence.
Fr Mark Kirby gives 10 reasons for celebrating ad orientem:
1. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is experienced as having a theocentric direction and focus.
2. The faithful are spared the tiresome clerocentrism that has so overtaken the celebration of Holy Mass in the past forty years.
3. It has once again become evident that the Canon of the Mass (Prex Eucharistica) is addressed to the Father, by the priest, in the name of all.
4. The sacrificial character of the Mass is wonderfully expressed and affirmed.
5. Almost imperceptibly one discovers the rightness of praying silently at certain moments, of reciting certain parts of the Mass softly, and of cantillating others.
6. It affords the priest celebrant the boon of a holy modesty.
7. I find myself more and more identified with Christ, Eternal High Priest and Hostia perpetua, in the liturgy of the heavenly sanctuary, beyond the veil, before the Face of the Father.
8. During the Canon of the Mass I am graced with a profound recollection.
9. The people have become more reverent in their demeanour.
10. The entire celebration of Holy Mass has gained in reverence, attention, and devotion.