May 11, 2013

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I attended a gathering of Charismatic Catholics* at which the speaker was a former Four Square Gospel minister who had converted to Catholicism. He told of the miraculous healings he had done among the “born again” crowd, including once raising a young man from the dead.

He became Catholic when he married his second wife after he had lost his first to cancer. I learned that several months after this talk his second wife also died of cancer. On the surface, this seems a form of duality – the miracle worker who cannot save his owned loved ones – the cobbler’s children who have no shoes. However, we live in a physical world, a world of mortality. Even the young man who was raised from the dead will one day return there, just like Lazarus 2000 years ago.

This gentleman told us that the greatest healer in our world is the Catholic Eucharist. That is actually a logical conclusion arising from the belief that through transubstantiation the bread and the wine become the body and blood of Christ. The physical and the divine are merged, so there is no longer a duality, only a perfect unity.

I feel confident that all of the Charismatics present were completely confident in that belief. I did not get the feeling, though, that many of them would be considered mystics. They knew the formerly physical bread and wine can merge with and become divine, but most of them would not believe themselves to have also merged and become divine. Rather, there would always be a separation between us mere mortals and the Godhead, the Christ, the divine. Thus, transubstantiation eroded the concept of duality only to a point. The person receiving communion still remained separate from the consecrated host.

A mass was celebrated after the gentleman had given his talk. We were advised to pay attention to the whole process of communion, and to consider what healing we would want for ourselves or our families as we actually received the sacrament. As I walked toward the altar, I thought, “I’m healthy now. My whole family seems healthy. I feel fortunate.” I did not know that within the next year I would lose both my parents and my brother would be fighting the disease that would take his life. I have looked back on that time and considered the duality between my perceptions and what we call reality. Continue reading