Re: Mithra

From: <>
Date: Wed Apr 06 2005 - 07:54:16 EDT

In a message dated 4/6/05 3:44:13 AM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:
I'm not a catholic myself, so not an expert on this subject, but I remember
having a long discussion with a Catholic at university about the doctrine of
transubstantiation, and I think that if you're looking at "digestive processes",
then you're missing the point. As far as I'm aware, in the Eucharist service
a prayer is said to bring the Holy Spirit down on the bread and wine, and a
bell is rung, and at that point Catholics believe that a miracle happens and
they acquire the properties of the Deity. However, as far as the chemical
composition is concerned, no change is believed to take place. This was explained
to me as "accidence" as opposed to "substance", which implied more than just
the material properties. So in "substance" it becomes the body of Christ, but
in "brute material" it is unchanged. So as I understand it Transubstantiation
happens *before* you take the bread and wine and what your digestive juices
do with it is irrelevant.

I think this way of talking about it makes the process little different from
what happens, e.g. in the Anglican service when one of the prayers is that the
bread and wine may be for us the Body and Blood of Christ.

I must relate an incident that happened to me in a Catholic church in
Freiburg, Germany that tangientially relates to this. I was on a wine tasting holidy
in Germany with my German evening class. One woman on the holiday was a
devout Catholic and wanted to attend mass and wanted someone to go with her. She
knew I was a Christian and not a Catholic. During communion, of course, I did
not go up to the altar, out of respect for her beliefs. Instead, naturally I
prayed, or rather meditated and brought a picture to mind of what it was
actually like at the Last Supper. I remember imagining a picture of Christ taking
the bread in his hands, saying "This is my Body", and gently tearing it apart
and offering it to the disciples saying quite simply "It's for you".

For me, this was an immensely powerful and moving experience, and I was left
with the strong feeling that, despite the fact I hadn't physically partaken of
the Communion, that none the less, I had, in some strong spiritual sense,
shared it with all these people. So I would say that "in substance" (in the same
sense of substance as in the word transubstantiation), I had indeed shared in
the body of Christ even though I hadn't even touched the bread.

The woman I was with was upset that "I have invited you into my church, and I
can't even offer you a meal". I replied "but you have".

Your explanation is pretty close to the one in the Catholic Encyclopedia
which is on line, though it takes longer to make the point.
Received on Wed Apr 6 07:54:45 2005

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Wed Apr 06 2005 - 07:54:45 EDT