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The Science of the Sacraments


  The Sacrament puts the man right with God; but it does not relieve his from the responsibility for his acts, nor in any way affect their physical consequences. It is a spiritual process, a loosening from the bondage of sin, a process of at-onement with the Higher Self, a restoration of the inner harmony of being which is distributed by wrong-doing, so that the man can make a fresh effort towards righteousness, fortified by the uninterrupted flow of the divine power within him. A man cannot escape the consequences of his misdeeds, though he can neutralize them by sowing fresh causes of a righteous kind.  




  When the celebrant makes the first cross, the blessing of the Lord, which flows into them to some extent, puts all their bodies into order and straightens things out in the personality. As he recites the words "the Lord in His loving kindness look down upon you and be gracious unto you," the Priest is working at the level where the Lord looks down upon us as a unity—the buddhic plane— where we receive His Graciousness in so generous a measure. Here the celebrant is one with his congregation, and at this high level, having tried to draw them all up into himself, he pours a rush of force down into their lower vehicles, that a take the image of their Higher Selves (already made brighter and truer reflections of the Great Self by the outpouring in the Confiteor and at the first blessing in the absolution) and, through their points of entry, stamps this down upon the personality, thereby not only affecting that personality, but also clearing the 49 channel connecting it with the Greater Self. The power of God stimulates the Divine Image within each of us to impress Itself more definitely on the personality, and in forcing itself down it clears out any kinks in the connection channel between the lower and Higher Selves—between the individual and God. Thus the Life of the Logos—the evolutionary stream—can again flow smoothly through the man. He is no longer a snag in the stream, because he has been put right in his relation with his Maker.  




  The beautiful words referring to Initiation which commence "Under the veil of earthly things," wake the people on to the physical plane again, and they begin to feel their way back to collective action; but now, with the wonderful stimulus of the Host acting from within them, their aspirations, rise coloured, as all this last part of the Service seems to be, with gold and rose. These are the colours which, when fully waked and roused to a final effort of praise, the congregation send streaming up and out through the openings of the edifice at the Communio. This is a very wonderful uprush because of the power of the Host working in the congregation, and the response to it is proportionally fine. The celebrant immediately spreads out this down-pouring by the Minor Benediction, which glows most gloriously, and this time with gold rather than primrose. Every one's connections with his Higher Self are not fully opened, and at the Post Communio this condition is strengthened, for a curious sort of white substance seems to come down into the communicating channels, so as to hold them open. This ensures that the power of the Host within the man will have a clear path down which it can act, through each person who has partaken of it, as a 182 powerful radiating centre on to the world in general. But though this substance keeps the channel between the lower and higher parts of the person open, it also has a second function of preventing too sudden an outrush of power in a way that might prove less effective than its conserved and gradual distribution. This is what is meant when this part of the Service is compared to the locking of a talisman.