The Mass has never been about “us.” It is not celebrated for us, it is not something that is intended to be modified by us, and it does not have our feelings or preferences as its fundamental purpose or end.
The Mass is, instead, where we go to worship the Thrice-Holy and Almighty God in the manner that is the most pleasing to Him. It is where we bend our knee in humble adoration before the True Cross of the Savior as we actually experience His one sacrifice on Calvary. It is where we attempt to fulfill our mighty obligations of service and worship. It is where we lay down our entire selves before Him, seeking forgiveness and mercy.
Meaning of active participationAs we worship and submit ourselves to Him in this way, the Mass is also where God in his infinite generosity and compassion gives us the gift of his very Self (although nothing we have done has merited such a gift). It is for these reasons that the Second Vatican Council exhorted all the faithful to active and fully conscious participation. Without active interior participation at the Mass, how could we ever hope to worship in a worthy or proper manner?
Here is the crucial point: no one is arguing that the Mass should become some somber and morose ritual of lamentation. Rather, what could be the cause of greater joy? God himself has become a Man and has forgiven our sins! Christ is Crucified and is Risen! Alleluia!
Offer our best and most beautifulHowever, because the Mass is not something that we created; because God himself has given the Mass to the Church as the means by which He desires to be worshipped; because the Church has protected and nurtured these sacred mysteries across the ages; for these and so many reasons, it is not proper that we change the focus of the Mass from Christ to us. It is not proper or just that we do anything that obfuscates the sacred and solemn nature of the Mass. It is not proper to offer anything less than our best and most beautiful to God in the liturgy.