Lent is a season of conversion. During this time, it’s common to encounter readings, orations, and teachings from the saints in the Mass and the Breviary that direct us to “turn away” from sin and error and “turn to” God.
Ad Orientum forces us to recognize the critical unity between our physical and spiritual state in the Mass. The attitude that only my internal participation matters coincides with the earliest heresy of Gnosticism and doesn’t give me the opportunity to go deeper in my worship by engaging my body and directing it along with my heart toward God.
Honestly, if everyone turning together toward God brings a greater focus on him rather than us what are we fighting against? If it is also traditional why does it matter if we want to do everything we can to get closer to God? Why is it important the priest faces us?