Feb 10, 2009

Entanglement with Christ through Transubstantiation

Persons who receive the Eucharist consecrated by a Catholic priest eat and drink the substance of the body and blood of Jesus Christ that was shed on the cross of 2000 years ago. John Young in The Wanderer newspaper (Feb 12, 2009) observes that this mystery and defined Catholic doctrine is being referred to as "only a theological opinion" in a "widespread reluctance to accept the clear teaching of the Church on the nature of the Real Presence."

Young continues, "Transubstantiation has become an embarrassment" to certain philosophers who "can't logically admit substance because they restrict knowledge to the observable, and substances are not observable." He argues "the substance is the underlying reality beneath the appearances we see, hear, touch, taste, and smell....the substance is the essence, the basic nature, of the thing."

Some years ago, the wife of a friend expressed doubts about the transubstantiation of bread and wine into Christ's body and blood in the Eucharist. She seemed not to understand the accidents of bread and wine continue to exist after the priest's consecration, but that the underlying substance has been changed. Her doubts about transubstantiation seem unreasonable because of what we know about the nature of matter from the study of quantum physics. Homiletic and Pastoral Review (oldest magazine for priests in the U.S.) published an article several years ago on why knowledge of quantum mechanics, including quarks, made transubstantiation easier for the mind to grasp. [I think the author was Abraham Vorghese.]

When you interact with Jesus during Holy Communion, quantum physics teaches an 'entanglement' occurs, while theology teaches that you share in the life of God. The introduction to Louisa Gilder's new book, The Age of Entanglement: When Quantum Physics was Reborn, gives an unusual insight into what happens when two entities interact. Apply this next scientific paragraph written by Gilder to Holy Communion when we interact with God, the Son, made man.
ANY TIME TWO ENTITIES INTERACT, they entangle. It doesn't matter if they are photons (bits of light), atoms (bits of matter), or bigger things made of atoms like dust motels, microscopes, cats, or people [my emphasis]. The entanglement persists no matter how far these entities separate, as long as they don't subsequently interact with anything else--an almost impossible tall order for a cat or a person, which is why we don't notice the effect.

But the motions of subatomic particles are dominated by entanglement. It starts when they interact; in doing so, they lose their separate existence. No matter how far they move apart, if one is tweaked, measured, observed, the other seems to instantly respond, even if the whole world lies between them. And no one knows how.
Louisa Gilder describes entanglement as "the seemingly telepathic communication between separated particles--one of the fundamental concepts of quantum physics. Einstein in 1935 [in "the most cited [paper] of all Einstein's roster of glittering, earthshaking work"] called entanglement "spooky action at a distance."

Quantum physics and entanglement seem much better than Newtonian physics at understanding substances, even transubstantiation and reception of Holy Communion (though more insightful physics can never describe elements such as the love exchanged between the two parties in this God-man relationship). Yet from quantum mechanics, we now know that appearances observed in our everyday life are simply shadows of the hidden realities of substances. We also know from Schrödinger, that an entangled state can be used to steer a distant particle into one of a set of states. [That makes me think of God's spiritual direction of souls to a state of sanctity--"Be ye perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect."]

Entanglement with God (who self-limits himself to time and space and who pours out his life to communicants) seems to relate to
mutual envelopment that has always been taught to occur during reception of the Eucharist. I see a correspondence between "communication between separated particles" and my own experience at Mass. Union with Christ during Holy Communion persists until broken (only partially?) by succeeding interactions with the world.


Child of God said...

Just a housekeeping reminder:
You should update the copyright at the bottom of your blog page to 2009.

(c) 2008 - dustiam - all rights reserved

Radical Catholic Mom said...

Super fascinating take. Wow.

Mike Rizzio said...

Einstein spent an hour with a very holy Catholic priest from NJ discussing transubstantiation around 1950. I have posted the excerpt from the book where this encounter is detailed. It can be found at http://eucharist-emc2.blogspot.com/2007/08/afternoon-with-einstein.html

Einstein received three years of Catholic schooling 1886-1889.

I believe that reality, both spiritual and physical is connected in Light because as St. James wrote: Every best gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration.

No change...the speed of light is the "conversion constant"

Is it just a coincidence that in the physical realm this speed in a vacuum it is ever so close to 3 x 10^8 meters per second (As an opportunity for us creatures (made of dust) to render glory and honor to the Three Persons of Most Holy Trinity)?

It is just a coincidence that St. Paul's conversion is ingited by this blinding Light (which is mysteriously one with Jesus "Light from Light")and that for 3 days he is without physical sight.

I pray that we Catholics begin to understand that the battle is not just pro-choice vs. pro-life. No it is an anti-Trinity= vs. the Holy Trinity. Anti-Light, Anti-Life, Anti-Love. We must bundle these three key manifestations of God as Scripture teaches us (1 John) and raise them together to heaven as a guidon for the remnant. Otherwise the evil one will continue to have his way, dividing and conquering and stealing souls for eternal torment.

If we think clearly about it, we observe that the Einstein's "spooky" quantum interactions are what we call Catholics call the mystery of Divine Action or as the Greek Orthodox call it energeia.

Ed said...

There are 3 great transubstantiations in the history of the Universe:

1. 14 Billion years ago -- the Big Bang when energy became matter.
2. 2000 years ago -- the Resurrection when matter became energy. Through Quantum Physics, the miraculous event was permanently recorded on the Linen Shroud.
3. The perpetual re-enactment of 1 & 2 in the Holy Eucharist.

Dominus Vobiscum