I have been thinking about the concept of 'noble simplicity' lately, mainly because some pictures of rather overblown Christmas decorations in churches I have seen. I mean trees that dominate the sanctuary, or the worst examples, cribs that obscure the altar. Those are neither noble nor simple. Accounts of Christmas liturgies where the Liturgy of the Word is replaced by some sort of Nativity Play complete with braying donkey are a contradiction of 'noble simplicity', they show a deep discomfort with Mgr Bugnini's liturgy. One of the problems with the Novus Ordo is that there is a temptation to add complexity onto complexity, idea onto idea, theme upon theme, to the point where focus is lost.
Despite the apparent complexity of the Old Rite, even on special days like Candlemas, for a non-Latin speaking member of the congregation there is something quite remarkable about returning to the same basic ideas, which are hammered deep into the soul with every Mass attended: we pray, bread and wine is offered and God comes to us, or even more simply put: God comes to us: we worship. This is a simple kerygmatic proclamation, the Gospel and the mystery of the Church at its absolute simplest and most basic. For those with Latin or who bother with a Missal various subordinate ideas are there, right down to the details of the Gospel and Epistle and the intricacies of the prayers and chants but essentially, the dominating message is one of worship in which the relationship between man and God is clearly seen.
I have often wondered why I feel compelled to preach -at least explain the scriptures- at the Novus Ordo but at the Old Rite I feel no such compunction, as a priest I simply want to worship along with my people I want to immerse myself in the Mysteries I am celebrating.
+++The principle of 'noble simplicity' is important in catechesis too. For converts who generally already always believe in God, we can get terribly complicated and present the faith as a series of propositions, it is that which leads complexity. The noble and simple message is contained in the simple statement the present Rite of Reception of an Adult demands, apart from the recitation of the Creed the conversi are expected to be able to say, "I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God." Explaining why this is required and its meaning, is presumably the purpose and end of convert instruction, the RCIA process, Catholic education etc.
Presumably if one fails to believe and also profess it, it is time to stop conning oneself and leave the Church.