substantiating the transient nature of miracles

photo by erica blair

excerpted from the print magazine…

I was something of a closeted Catholic priest as a young boy, both figuratively and literally. I had an intimate, if shorthand knowledge of the Bible, gained from hours of study poring over my Catholic Children’s Picture Bible, which contained the most lurid, violent paintings of both New and Old Testament atrocities. I could repeat the entire Catholic church service from memory. I knew when to sit, when to kneel and when to stand. And I knew when the altar boy would ring the hand chimes to accompany the words, “This is my body, which will be given up for you.” Those chimes signified the arrival of the weekly miracle we Catholics believed in known as transubstantiation.

Transubstantiation is the belief that the re-enactment of Christ’s last supper, wherein he took bread and wine, called them his flesh and blood and gave them to his companions to eat is a literal, not figurative, transformation of this food and drink.

So each week, when the priest held aloft the circular disk of bread (which we were told were manufactured in factories by nuns) he was actually holding aloft the body of Christ, which the congregation would then line up and swallow as they returned to their seats.

Joe Ollmann is the author of two graphic novels – Chewing on Tinfoil and The Big Book of Wag. While they gather dust in bookstores everywhere, he diligently works on a third. He is also the art director at ascent magazine and is currently endeavouring to drink more water.

Copyright ©2007 ascent magazine, first Canadian yoga magazine, yoga for an inspired life