Chapter XI. Characteristics of a Sacramental Metacosmic Humanity THE APOSTOLIC CHURCH
IT REMAINS ONLY to suggest some of the marks or signs which we might reasonably expect to find characterizing a group or cell of Our Lord's social humanity, the redeeming fruits of whose life continually undergo the process of Sacramental Metacosmesis.
The humanity of such a group is literally the humanity of the Man Jesus socially extended. And although this social extension is not joined im-mediately to the divine nature, nevertheless, in the Memorial of Our Lord's Body and Blood, that same process of Metacosmesis is mediately opened to it which was initiated im-mediately in the union of the two natures in Our Lord's individual case. Therefore, we might expect to find in it certain peculiar characteristics entirely analogous to those discoverable in the individual humanity of Our Lord Himself.
As a matter of record, this seems to have been the case with the Apostolic and sub-Apostolic Church. So far as we can judge, the early Church in the first centuries after Pentecost continued to exhibit the marks of Metacosmesis with singular clarity and consistency. Some of these have already been suggested at an earlier point. She had an organic sense of corporate vocational purpose far beyond that conceivable in any merely human society. She had a sense of being the continuing organism of the Incarnate Lord. She had such sureness and courage and such zeal for the spread of a new and divine life among men as the world had never before seen. She was gifted with extraordinarily new and deep insights into the meanings of Our Lord's teachings and, above all, of His life and work as the initiator [159/160] and continuer of her corporate being. The miracles of Our Lord's promise she often performed.
Organizationally she showed a daring adaptability, almost a fluidity, a practical venturesomeness in extending her Evangel and her life, which betokened a spirit little short of a divine incaution. Yet as she went forward almost over-eagerly to meet the seemingly insurmountable obstacles in her path, she moved serenely, calmly, as possessing a life already transcending the times and the tides of a fallen world. From the beginning she moved as the figure of a New Jerusalem come down from heaven as a bride adorned for her husband, a newly ordered, completely re-created social body. And in her will to set forward the work of her redeeming action, her members endured the dangers of exhausting travel, the murderous hostility of human enemies, hunger and want, personal humiliation and isolation and, when called upon for ultimate witness, a martyr's death. Such are the marks of the Sacramental metacosmic humanity of Our Incarnate Lord.
THE CHURCH IN LATER AGES
And whenever this metacosmic humanity is genuinely manifested among men in any age the marks of the Church are ever those of faith perfected in Our Lord Sacramentally present in her midst; of hope perfected in the ever-recurring consummation of the Offerings of her growth by Sacramental reception into His risen life; of love perfected in that organic unity which is the fruit of the return of these Offerings to herself again, in complete oneness with Our Lord in His Body and His Blood.
One of the most striking outward characteristics of Our Lord's metacosmic humanity is its courage. This is not merely a physical courage, although this is certainly present. But it is the courage of faith that the Church's tasks can be accomplished in spite of humanly seeming overwhelming adverse odds; faith in the marvellous potentialities of man as revealed in their redeemed fulfilment in Our Lord; faith in Our Lord's promise that His work can and will triumph over every obstacle and opposition of the fallen world.
 Thus the Church--when she really is the metacosmic Church--moves in freedom. She has freedom from fear of material hardship, because she expects to embrace this when it comes. She is free from the fear of failure, because her ultimate victory is already assured. She has freedom from worried preoccupation with the immediate delights and securities available on the terms laid down by a fallen world, because she is already entering prophetically upon the new delights and new securities of the re-ordered world of a redeemed future history. She is thus free to attack her present evilly constituted environment, though this crash around her in revolution before it can be made over to prepare the way of the Lord. She has freedom from doubt and misgiving, because she has sure knowledge of her appointed goal. She has freedom from human mistrust within her brotherhood, because her love perfected in her Lord, casts out fear. She has freedom from the sins and disorders of the fallen world, because her fellowship is already received into the perfection of Our Lord's humanity and by His living action, in spite of persisting or repeated human failures, can continually be reperfected in Him, Materially and psychologically she lives an integrated life, an ordered corporate life whose individual units, even while they fight for a wider spread of the redemption of the world environment, begin at once to experience in advance the rounded fulfilment of every need and potentiality of human nature.
THE NATURAL AND THE SUPERNATURAL VIRTUES
Thus the members of Our Lord's humanity, by the grace of the Holy Spirit in their midst, perfect the natural virtues of courage, wisdom and justice as they go about their appointed tasks in dealing with their fellows in the Incarnation and with the problems of their still unredeemed environmental world. But when these natural virtues are brought into the metacosmic process of the Divine Community they emerge as those supernatural virtues which only Our Lord's Incarnation can bestow. They emerge as virtues which may not be attained by unaided man, but which may be [161/162] infused by God alone. The wisdom brought forward in the Offertory emerges in the Holy Communion as a divinely implanted faith which both knows Our Lord and cleaves unwaveringly to His work, even in the face of humanly seeming impossibilities. The courage of the Offertory emerges as the hope which surmounts every human defeat and counsels advance when natural man alone in a fallen world must needs retreat. And justice consecrated upon the Altar returns to its offerers as that Christian love which, in fact, includes within itself all other virtues, and which in eternity can bind men into perfect unity with the Blessed Trinity through the Incarnation of God the Son. Thus even while the Church Militant here in earth fights the bloody battle with the world of hate, injustice and decay, she is already a joyous, prophetic social organism, showing forth the characteristics of a redeemed world microcosmically far in advance of its macrocosmic achievement. And she points by the ordered sureness of her metacosmic life in earth to the vision of man's full salvation in eternity.
THE TENSION BETWEEN PERSONAL FREEDOM AND CORPORATE SOCIAL ALLEGIANCE
Another point worthy of particular mention concerns the metacosmic resolution of that age old tension which seems always to be felt when man tries to satisfy his potentialities both for a full individual personal development, and for an equally full and harmonious corporate social life. These two potentialities exist side by side among the endowments of human nature. Common sense should teach us that they cannot be mutually exclusive; for no individual can develop fully as a person unless he live a life of fruitful social interchange within an organized human environment. The individual must express himself, and so develop himself, by entering into rational relationships with other men. An individual cannot develop as a solitary and yet completely human being. This cannot happen even through a relationship with God, if other human beings be excluded; for man is by nature a social creature. Love to God cannot be [162/163] expressed without an expression of love to one's fellow men. As St. John remarks, if a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how shall he love God whom he hath not seen? [1 John 4:20.] God's own perfection is seen in the social unity of the Blessed Trinity, and since man as an individual is not constituted as a self-contained social being, he cannot fulfil his true nature as created in the image of God except through a correspondingly perfected social intercourse with his fellow men.
On the other hand, no organized society can dispense with the fullest possible personal development of its respective individual human units; for it is from the integrated relationships of persons in vast and rich variety that the wealth of its own corporate values emerges.
In practice, however, men have found a proper individual self regard and a proper corporate social allegiance exceedingly difficult to reconcile in an unconflicting, mutually complementary manner. Historically, our scientists, philosophers and religious leaders have tended to divide into two groups according to the relative priority which they have given to the importance of individual development as against the perfection of social organization. On the one hand some have believed that if the social order of human life were perfected according to a certain chosen pattern, then a desired personal development of individuals within this order would pretty much follow as a matter of necessity. Such people have stressed the advisability of setting up a carefully constituted state, if necessary by the invocation of social force. In modern times such theorists are called totalitarian. The highest development of the individual, so they think, must emerge from the imposition of a social order which is given total precedence over its individual units. Others have taken the opposite view, contending that if individuals can be fully developed and "perfected" as mature units of humanity, then an adequate system of social relationships will certainly constitute itself, without the invocation of force and merely as a necessary [163/164] fruit of the mutual contacts of such perfected individuals. Theorists of this school of thought tend to abhor employing even a modicum of coercion over any individual whatever. They are called anarchists.
This controversy between totalitarianism and anarchism is an ancient one. It is the old controversy between beliefs which stem from exaggeratedly one-sided interpretations of the respective teachings of Plato the Academician and Zeno the Stoic. This is a difficult controversy to settle in the abstract, because in known historical experience the personal and the social potentialities in human nature have never found a reconciliation which has proved practically workable and which at the same time has given complete opportunity for the full development of both. A full actualization of human nature seems to demand nothing less than a complete self-losing of the individual within a corporate social whole of some kind or other. It also seems to demand a complete self-development in individual terms, a fully rounded, autonomous and free individual personality. Humanly speaking, the two demands appear mutually conflicting and paradoxical.
Historical experience teaches clearly enough that neither the extreme of totalitarianism nor that of anarchy can resolve the difficulty. It has been found that a social order imposed by coercion has not developed the highest and freest types of individuals as a kind of inevitable by-product. Nor has exclusive emphasis upon individual development necessarily produced a correspondingly rationally ordered, harmonious social life. In other words, totalitarianism even when benevolently intended tends to produce regimented, habitually non-rational individuals who are not true persons in a full sense of that word. And theoretical anarchy (for example the laissez-faire ideal of nineteenth century individualistic economic enterprise) has produced not so much the individuality characteristic of proper personal development, as individualism--a very different matter--which wrecks true personality, and which bears fruit not in social order but in the chaos of extreme, socially destructive competition.
 HUMAN RESOLUTIONS OF THIS TENSION ALWAYS SOUGHT IN COMPROMISE
The practical human solution of this difficulty has always been sought in an attempted compromise between the two extremes. Men have had to have some sort of enforced social order, some kind of political state, empowered to invoke coercion against too individualistic infringements of the basic principles of its constitution. At the same time, they have tried to reserve as large an area of individualistic behavior--and even of downright anti-social behavior--as is compatible with the perpetuation of the chosen social structure.
The most successful approaches to this kind of compromise have been our present-day bourgeois capitalist, political democracies. We have set up states to which we can give our allegiance. We thus satisfy, in part at least, the natural human necessity of individual self-giving to a corporate social whole. The usual modern name for this kind of allegiance is patriotism. In times of war or other national danger this allegiance can be developed to a point of claiming individual self-losing in a high degree. And because this relatively complete self-losing is not in general common, or even socially desirable in times of peace, war brings to many citizens of the political democracies a kind of catharsis which appears almost mystical, because it is so refreshing after the relative frustration of the self-losing human potentiality in times of normal, peaceful life. [Note the manifestation of this in the "Union Sacrée" of France and the "Burgfriede" in Germany in 1914.]
For in peaceful times the citizens of the modern democracies reserve as much room for individualistic activity as possible. Corporately unchecked, individualistic reservations are made most notably in the areas of the economic life of citizens. Here they try to reserve complete individualistic freedom of action. It is considered a grave and highly dangerous abuse of democracy if the coercion of the political state impinges upon private business enterprise. In theory the economic area of life is reserved for [165/166] individualistic development and self-expression. It is here that that other necessity of human nature, the free development of the individual person, is supposed at least theoretically to find its opportunity for actualization without any a priori and trammeling corporate references whatever.
But this kind of compromise, in which neither the human potentiality for social self-giving, nor the correlative potentiality for the completely free development of individual personality can ever be concurrently completely actualized, has never proved permanently satisfactory to the majority of people. Within it there is a continuing experience of conflict and inconsistency. Historically men have therefore tended to sway back and forth, making experiments either in the direction of social totalitarianism or of individualistic anarchy. As has been said, the modern bourgeois democracies, with their relatively stable political states and with cultural structures to which individual citizens may often adhere with emotional pride, combined with the reservation of a relative individualism in economic matters, have given us the most successful compromises of this kind to date. But even in the modern politically democratic world, vast numbers of people, significantly enough very often its most active and vigorous inhabitants, have recently given their allegiances to the totalitarian state orders of fascism. Surely this betokens some kind of dangerous mass frustration of the self-giving human potentiality within our bourgeois capitalist system of "free enterprise." The widespread emotional rejection of our compromise method of achieving individual freedom shows that capitalist individualism in practice is providing neither a satisfactory opportunity for a truly personal development, nor is it providing within what has come to be the most important area of secular life, the economic structure, anything which can call forth and satisfy fully a rational and enthusiastic corporate allegiance. Thus in the western world satisfaction even with the bourgeois capitalist compromise is beginning seriously to wane.
Yet in spite of its inherent unsatisfactoriness, it appears that "corporateness with reservations" is the only solution [166/167] open to unaided man within a fallen world. It might be called the "solution of Ananias and Saphira." This married couple, we are told, made a great show of total giving of then-worldly goods to the early Christian community in Jerusalem. At the same time, with careful worldly wisdom they secretly kept back something of their money for their personal individual use. [Acts of the Apostles, 5:1-11.] This reservation was condemned by the Christian community in no uncertain terms. When their action was found out, it is reported that the two offenders died from the shock and chagrin of their exposure. Yet every secular solution of this dilemma comes to just this kind of thing. Man sets up a social structure of some kind, some potential entity to which he gives corporate allegiance up to a point. But what he calls personal, individual freedom is preserved by withholding something--frequently as much as possible--from any corporate self-giving. Unfortunately for the success of this kind of arrangement, the full realization of man's true nature--in other words, the redemption of man--requires the complete satisfaction of these two deep potentialities. Man needs to give himself completely, and without any reservation whatever, either material or spiritual, to a corporate social life. He needs also basically to be concerned with a full development of his personal autonomy as a rational individual. He needs as an individual both to lose this individuality and at the same time to keep it at its best. He appears to need to be, at one and the same time and quite uncompromisingly, both a totalitarian and an anarchist!
FULL RESOLUTION FOUND IN THE INCARNATION
The solution of this dilemma is found only within the New World of the Incarnation. The Offertory does make a total demand upon the members of Our Lord's social humanity. When the bread and wine are placed upon the Altar nothing may be reserved to the individuals making the offering. As Our Lord tells us, he that loves father or mother, or son or daughter more than Him, is not worthy [167/168] of Him; [Matt. 10:37-38.] and he that loves his own life shall lose it. [John 12:25.] Not even the most precious potentialities of human life may be held back for individual use. If as in the case of Ananias and Saphira worldly-wise considerations of human welfare, individual careers, or even preservation of lives themselves cause such partial withholding, then the Offertory is greatly compromised and those who make the reservations take part in the Memorial at grave danger to themselves. Here is demanded a total allegiance. The individual must indeed be lost. And here in the Community of the Holy Spirit man's deep and natural need for complete and utter individual self-losing to a social whole is fully met. The social demand of the Divine Community is indeed a totalitarian demand. When properly responded to, as it must be by genuine Christians, it gives that satisfaction to the natural human craving which only total sinking of the individual in a social organism can supply.
The unreserved total gift by His individual members of themselves and of all that they have to the corporate humanity of His Incarnation is accepted by Our Lord at the Offertory. It is then consummated in an absolute perfection in the Consecration of the Bread and Wine. But immediately thereafter Our Lord turns again to those who, as individuals, have given their all to Him, and gives to them in return His own Body and Blood. In necessary concomitance He thus bestows Himself also in His own totality. And since the total Gifts of the Offertory have now been received by Him into His risen life, these too now concomitantly return with Him from eternity into human time again. In this Holy Communion each single member of Our Lord's social humanity receives his own life, lost within the social totality of the body of the Incarnation, but here rebestowed freely into his individual keeping. Each individual, now united to Our Lord by the Gift of the Holy Communion, is by this same Gift endowed again with completely free personal autonomy. He is thus left utterly free to the end that he may, in turn, freely and autonomously [168/169] give himself again in a reaffirmed total allegiance to Our Lord's continuing social organism. And in this rebestowed individual freedom--a freedom to reaffirm an equally total social allegiance--man's need for complete personal autonomy is also perfectly met.
But this solution of the problem is not the achievement of fallen man. The total social corporateness of the Divine Community is the work of the Holy Spirit making it possible for men to lose their individual lives as they prepare their Offertory within the growing organism of Our Lord's redeeming humanity. And the rebestowal of personal autonomy is the free Gift of Our Lord in the Holy Communion, recommitting into the hands of His individual members the lives which have first been received corporately and totally into Himself.
By Metacosmesis the total corporateness brought forward in the Offertory becomes perfect personal individuality in the Holy Communion. Totalitarian allegiance becomes individual autonomy. Total service to Our Lord in and through His Community becomes the highest and most glorious individual freedom. [Cf. Book of Common Prayer, Collect for Peace at Morning Prayer. "Whose service is perfect freedom" is a highly metacosmic expression.]
Thus does complete and unreserved social losing of individual life turn out to be that necessary element in the content of the Offertory on the natural level of Our Lord's social humanity which is required that it may become an equally complete and uninfringed finding of autonomous personal life in its Consecration, and that it may be rebestowed in its form of metacosmic freedom in the Holy Communion.
This personal freedom is attained, not by partial individual reservation, not by keeping something back at the corporate Offertory, but by a conversion of a total relinquishment of individual life into that freedom which emerges at the end of the Sacramental process as the fruit of Metacosmesis. And a metacosmic individual freedom, fashioned thus from that which begins, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, as a voluntary bondage within the Sacramental [169/170] Community, is the only freedom proper to those who are redeemed by Our Lord as His brethren in the Incarnation and, therefore, as the sons of God. It is the only individual freedom in this fallen world which can forthwith adequately lend itself again to total corporate dedication for the preparation of a succeeding Offertory to come.
This analysis enables us to see that there is nothing essentially evil in the total allegiance of individuals to a corporate order. There is nothing essentially evil in what might be called the strictly "total" element of present-day totalitarianisms. The evil here resides in the fact that human totalitarianism in a fallen world is inevitably so constituted that, while it both can and does receive the lives of its individual members as they lose themselves in its social whole, it can never rebestow the individual personal autonomies which are thus relinquished. Human totalitarianism involves a kind of demonic offertory. It provides a pseudo-satisfaction of the self-losing impulse which has now shown itself able to deceive millions of people. But this demonic counterfeit of the Christian Offertory can be followed by neither a Consecration nor the Gift of the Holy Communion. There is no Metacosmesis. It is therefore a self-losing which cannot be followed by metacosmic conversion into the finding of life. It is followed instead by the unconsecrated and irrevocable bondage of hell.
Furthermore, personal autonomy, individual freedom, is certainly not an evil in itself either. Men may not be classified as reprehensible when they see the value of individual personality. The difficulty here experienced lies in the fact that in a fallen world individual freedom must be sought by holding back something in such wise that the complementary social self-giving is partly vitiated. Furthermore, individual freedom preserved by withholding, loses its own value by that very circumstance. It has been withheld from the Offertory. It tries to alter Our Lord's dictum of "He that loseth his life in this world shall find it," to, "He that keepeth something back of his life shall at least have this much!" This always proves unsatisfactory [170/171] and, when extremely pursued, it is disastrously anti-social. This is why no man-made "democracy," in spite of relative or temporary success, can ever meet the full requirement of human redemption. Only Our Lord in His Sacramental Community can meet both necessities fully and so break the horns of this dilemma.
In a fallen world Christians have no alternative but to seek the humanly democratic compromise. In the world of Original Sin, the only other present alternative is demonic totalitarianism. This is why Christians today are bound to fight for human democracy and must seek to destroy fascism. Fascism is infinitely the worse secular solution of man's present social difficulties. And in an unredeemed world, the enabling power of the Atonement, in this particular situation as in all other environmental difficulties, will make it possible for Christians to make those temporary compromises and reservations which human democracy even at its best demands. If it turn out historically unavoidable, the Atonement will enable Christians to be the champions even of social structures forcefully imposed in temporary revolutionary situations, provided these structures move essentially in the direction of a more successful future human democracy rather than in the direction of fascism. For example, it is now sufficiently clear in the case of Soviet Russia that certain social rigidities, resulting both from persisting revolutionary difficulties and from recent war, are not by any means the same kinds of rigidities lately found in Nazi Germany. As the late Archbishop of Canterbury once pointed out, the present potentialities of Russian Communism all point in the direction of a most thorough human democracy. To many observers it begins to appear as the nearest human approach to a solution of the problem of the individual-social tension which the secular world has as yet found. The human totalitarianism of Communism, in so far as it persists, is accidental to a situation and not constitutional to a system. On the other hand, every fascist state must be constitutionally totalitarian. In principle it can never move from this position unless it be overthrown. It is [171/172] therefore demonic. Hence for Christians to choose fascism--or any of its subtle modifications which are showing their heads within our western Democracies--in preference to something like the present Russian socialist order would be a secular environmental choice tempting the power of the Atonement beyond endurance. Were it tendered as an element within the Offertory, the choice of fascism would be present there not as an unavoidable contingency, but as a vitiating sin, since the other vastly more suitable choice is a present available secular alternative.
But in the meantime within their own Sacramental group, Christians can find the problem solved far in advance of the full redemption of the secular world. It is solved basically by Our Lord Himself who (unlike human "leaders") both receives the unreserved corporate allegiance of His Community and rebestows individual autonomy upon its members. The individual reservations necessary in the environing world are utterly out of place in the metacosmic organism of Our Lord's humanity. The sin of Ananias and Saphira was that in keeping something back for themselves they behaved towards the ordered life of the Divine Community as if it were still a part of the fallen world. They lacked the faith to make a total gift, because they lacked the faith to believe Our Lord's promise that within His social body he that totally loses his life does really find it! To make this kind of reservation of individualistic "freedom" within the Community of the Holy Spirit is indeed to sin against Him. If men come to the Offertory with reservations for individual lives, they vitiate His work among them. As St. Peter said of Ananias and his wife, they tempt the Spirit of the Lord. [Acts of the Apostles, 5:9.] And this sin cannot be forgiven while the reservations persist; for by its very nature it blocks the whole process of reconciliation, the whole functional life of a metacosmic humanity.
SOURCES OF DEFECTS IN THE METACOSMIC HUMANITY OF THE CONTEMPORARY CHURCH
The conventional Church of today seems on the whole to [172/173] exhibit few of those metacosmic characteristics which were found in the individual humanity of Our Lord and in His social humanity of the years immediately succeeding His ascension. The reasons for this may well lie in the fact that her members have forgotten the corporately total claim made upon them by the Divine Community of the Holy Spirit. They have forgotten that nothing less than a complete corporate giving of themselves into Our Lord's humanity will do. The Church's leaders neither teach nor guide her members practically in this direction. She therefore lacks her proper character as a redeeming social organism because her members--whether through ignorance, through disbelief or through lack of living faith--habitually sin the sin of Ananias and Saphira.
The metacosmic character of the Divine Community may also be seriously lessened if its members refuse or neglect to accept again the personal and free responsibility with which Our Lord would entrust them in the Holy Communion. For by such refusal or neglect they both affront His trust and frustrate the spread of the Incarnation. This sin too is widespread in the Church. It may also be weakened by that deficiency in the exercise of persevering prayer which, as we have noted in the case of the Apostles, Our Lord said had prevented the cure of an epileptic boy while He Himself was absent on the Mount of the Transfiguration. And certainly the cultivation of the great art of prayer and meditation is gravely neglected by many Christians in this age. The prayer content of the bread and wine of the average Offertory is very meagre indeed.
But what needs chiefly to be emphasized in our time is that the realization of a metacosmic humanity through the reception of the Holy Communion requires an adequately patterned and fulfilled Offertory as its prior condition. Altogether too many Christians who would like to call themselves Catholics draw near to the Altar without so much as giving a thought to that complete self-losing within the life and work of the Community of the Holy Spirit which the Offertory demands. They come instead seeking something for themselves, some comfort, some aid, some power [173/174] for their own individual natural lives. Perhaps in more expansive moments they come seeking favors for others who are dear to them. But, to put it bluntly, this is really coming with a purpose to use Our Lord for ends of their own.
To do this is to pervert the process of Our Lord's Memorial. The individual members of His group may not come to Him holding fast to their own lives, their own individual persons, merely asking Him to intervene to strengthen, to heal or to patch up, so that they may continue to lead these lives in a "better" way. They must come in order to give themselves to Him completely. If within the power of the Atonement they ask for help at this point, if they ask for healing and forgiveness at the time of the Offertory, if they intercede for others, this must be primarily that the Offertory itself may be perfected for Our Lord's reception. But so far as their own continuing individual lives are concerned, they must come to lose them there totally in Our Lord's Incarnate humanity.
Subsequently--after the Consecration and in the Holy Communion--they receive again their individual lives, not merely healed, but absolutely perfected in union with Our Lord. But neither is this the primary purpose of the approach to the Altar. The purpose of the approach is giving, not getting. Individuals may not even come to the Offertory saying subtly within themselves: "If I give myself, I shall get myself back again. Our Lord has promised this!" Our Lord has promised no such thing. To suggest it is to try to bargain with Him. He has merely stated a truth about His Memorial when it is properly carried through and its Metacosmesis complete. But to give one's life in order to find one's life is just another crafty method of self-reservation. Within the Offertory individuals must be prepared literally to relinquish everything, even life itself. The return Gift of complete personal freedom and of individuality after the corporate Offertory, should be viewed as a marvellous, not to say amazing, boon. It is a boon which may not be demanded under any terms of human justice. It may not be asked for; it ought not even to be expected. It [174/175] transcends the merit of man. It is not the obligation of God. It is of Our Lord's free grace alone. But let those who approach Our Lord's Altar ponder the truth that unless there be lives completely lost within the Offertory, there will in turn be no lives metacosmically found within the Holy Communion. Even God cannot rebestow lives which are withheld from Him.