Ad Deum: With the people not against them
There have been many profound reflections for me as a priest now offering the Mass with the people of God, with the flock entrusted to my care. I feel like I am truly with you before God. As we recite the Holy, Holy, Holy (Sanctus) for example, there is an intensity which rushes upon me, like a great choir of voices behind me...but I too am a part of that choir. The hymn of praise is unmistakably for the Lord, and we as a whole people, laity and clergy, are offering it to God.
This is a very different experience than I have had in the past with versus populum; that word versus is most commonly linked in English with some kind of face-off (eg. fighter versus, or vs for short, another fighter) or the word adversary has the same root. While it doesn't always have a adversarial context, it does have that sense of being against rather than with. I hadn't noticed, until I said a Mass versus populum again, this feeling of being apart from the people of God, separated.
When we come before God, it seems better for us to be together, ut unum sint (Jn 17:21).