Sunday, 23 February 2014

Communing with History

Substance metaphysics, that much-maligned, apparently ‘static’ conception of thought, can lead us to a deeper appreciation of phenomena, an understanding of how all aspects of a being tensely coexist in one singular point.

The Eucharist sheds light on this. It is not simply the Body and Blood of Christ, but it is (in the traditional phrase) his ‘Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity’ – that is, all there is to Him. When the bread is broken, Christ is not divided: his Person resides completely in every part of the sacrament, just as, before, every part of the bread was equally completely bread. It is not the matter but the being that is changed; and the being is unbreakable, indivisible.

It is indivisible even through time. During Mass on Christmas Day, it occurred to me that Christ in the sacrament was not only the crucified Christ, but also the infant Christ, the child Christ, the risen Christ, the Christ in Heaven now. All the phases of the unending life of the Messiah belong to one Being, and that Being is among us.

Substance metaphysics sheds light also on our own life. I was reminded of the final chapter in The Great Divorce, the vision of the chessmen moving on the board of Time, watched by the unmoving souls whom they represent; and also of a striking passage in the Benedicto-Franciscan encyclical:

This trustworthy truth of God is, as the Bible makes clear, his own faithful presence throughout history, his ability to hold together times and ages, and to gather into one the scattered strands of our lives.
(Lumen Fidei, 23)

1 comment:

  1. That awful post-Christian idea of "being on the right side of history" comes to mind while reading your post. I'm only interested in being on the right side of the True Living God who "hold[s] together time and ages".

    (My Blog: "Bridging the gap between Pop Culture and Christianity through movies, TV, music, memes, etc.")