NONE shall appear before me empty-handed, said the voice
of God to ancient Israel. So the worshipper came pulling in a ram
by the horn, or carrying a pair of doves. We do not come empty-handed,
our hand being in the hand of Christ, as he goes onward to his sacrifice.
Is he our victim, then, and do we lead him to God's altar? Yes, he
is our victim; he goes with us willingly, to make our peace with God.
But do we lead him, or is it he that leads us? The question cannot
be answered one way or the other. It is one mind that leads both
him and us to the altar, but that mind is the mind of Christ, his mind
mastering ours. His will is that we should offer him; yet with himself
he offers us. He too will not be empty-handed; he will present us
along with himself. And his desire is to present us not as empty
men, empty hearts to God: happy if he can present us full of good works
and faithful prayers since our last communion; if not so, then full at
least of penitence and careful resolution for the coming days; but not
empty, not just empty.