I said in my last post:
"The last thing that strikes me is the action of actually ascending the Altar after the prayers. Without having studied in depth the theology of the Mass, it seems to me that this action represents the priest taking on the role of alter Christus, another Christ. It may not be that exact moment that this is considered to be the case, but it certainly means something significant that the priest is going "in unto the Altar of God", physically rising above the congregation to where Christ is in the tabernacle, to the Altar where the Sacrifice of the Mass will again be offered in worship of God."
I'd now like to add on to that just slightly.
I had meant, when I wrote this, to also deal with the concept of the Mass as being God's presence on earth, and in a sense being heaven on earth. Later in the Mass the priest prays "Let my prayer, O Lord, like incense before You; the lifting up of my hands, like the evening sacrifice." Just like the incense used throughout the Mass, the priest himself brings our prayers up to God and, as Christ became Man and dwelt among us, one like us in all things but sin, the priest also brings God to us via the Consecration.
So the priest, when he ascends the Altar, also in a manner of speaking ascends to heaven in order to bring Christ back to us.
I am utterly fascinated by the many layers of meaning in the TLM. I'm confident that I've hardly even scratched the surface yet; there is simply so much to take in.