THE CHRISTIAN ALTAR, like the temple at Jerusalem, is the rallying-point of God's people. Here, as there, heaven touches earth, yet remains uncontaminated by its contact. Christ is not moved when the sacrament is moved, is not broken when the sacrament is broken; so close does he come to our experience of daily life, so remote does he remain from it. And one of the chief influences he exerts, one of the chief ends he attains, by that nearness of his, is to draw us, his children, closer together. It is the sacrament of peace, as Jerusalem was the city of peace; through it we are one in fellowship. We speak of Christians as united in a single communion, of one Christian body as being in communion with, or out of communion with, another; that is no accident, no abuse of language. The whole notion of Christian solidarity grows out of, and is centred in, the common participation of a common table. As the many grains of wheat are ground together into one loaf, as the many grapes are pressed together into one cup, so we, being many, are one in Christ. How could we be one with Christ, without becoming one in Christ?
That supernatural unity is still laid up for us, if we would only realize it, in the tabernacle. Christian people, however much separated by long distances of land or sea, meet together in full force, by a mystical reunion, whenever and wherever the break is broken, and the cup blessed. We do well to remember that notion in times like these ...
The Blessed Sacrament, the Jerusalem of our souls, stands apart from and above all the ebb and flow of world-politics, its citizenship a common fellowship between us and those who are estranged from us, those who at the moment are our enemies. Our friends yesterday, our friends tomorrow -- in the timeless existence to which that altar introduces us, they are our friends today.
- Ronald A. Knox