From "The Devastated Vineyard" (1973), by Dietrich von Hildebrand
One forgets that Christ always addressed only individual souls; as Kierkegaard emphasizes in his "Purity of Heart": God knows only the individual and not the mass.
Sacred community among Christians can only grow out of the love for Christ. This sacred community must "pass through" the intimate personal union with Christ. The words of Christ, "Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Mt. 18:20), are often wrongly interpreted. One thinks that community as such draws Christ into our midst. One forgets the decisive importance of the words, "in my name." These words, which Christ also uses in speaking of that prayer to God which will be heard, include many things and refer to a basis of Christian community which goes beyond merely aiming at community. They include full faith in Christ as He is encountered in every individual, meeting other Christians in Christ -- here the individual soul goes beyond its union with Jesus and attains to a holy union with others which is possible only in and through Him...
...The great miracle of consecration at Mass lies of course in the transformation of bread into the real living, glorified Body of Christ, and of wine into His real Blood united with His Body. This bodily presence of Christ in the consecrated Host is something utterly different from His presence in the midst of those who are gathered together in His name....In emphasizing the meal rather than the unbloody re-enactment of the sacrifice of Calvary, rather than His becoming really present in the Mass, community with the other faithful is made the main thing. The main theme of the holy Mass -- the re-enactment of the sacrifice of Calvary, by which God is unspeakably glorified -- is thrust into the background. One forgets that the glorification of God is the center of the holy Mass, and that each individual, together with all the other faithful, has the privilege of participating in this glorification which the priest as representative of Christ carries out. The earlier practice of the priest facing the altar was a deep expression of this: the faithful looked with the priest toward the altar, and they were drawn by him into the mystery of the sacrifice. This was a deep Christ-centered gesture: the priest, who represents Christ, was shown to be that mediator at Mass whom we follow -- and he was completely directed to God.
...This is the true sacred hierarchy: first, the glorification of God, where we are directed exclusively to God in adoration, then the intimate union of love with Jesus in Holy Communion, and finally the triumphant unity with all the faithful who are present, as well as with the entire Church. As soon as one aims at this unity directly and ignores this sacred hierarchy, one loses the unity and replaces it, at least subjectively, with a profane unity, such as we might find in an association of army veterans. Blindness to the sacred as well as secularization go hand in hand with an overemphasis on the "collective," with the triumph of collectivism.