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.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."
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.
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.