Thursday, 4 November 2010

A relic-related puzzle

Those of you who follow me on Twitter will probably have seen already, but there was a nice interview in Wednesday's Guardian with Zygmunt Bauman, who I blogged about last week. He's still alive, kicking, and apparently being very influential on Ed Miliband.

But on to more important things. I've been reading a lot of Aquinas recently, and remembering why I love him so much. A case in point is a question in part three of the Summa Theologica, where he discusses the nature of Christ's post-resurrection body and his ascension to heaven. He raises a perplexing issue: if Christ's whole body ascended into heaven, what about all the bits of his blood kept as relics by churches? Does that mean the body of Christ which ascended was incomplete, and that he left little bits of himself scattered all over Christendom? No no, says Aquinas, that won't do: Christ took his whole body with him into heaven, and all the blood that had spilled out of him while he was on the cross went with him. The relics are really Christ's blood, though, only their bits of blood didn't flow from his side while he was on the cross but came flowing out of images of Christ when people hit them. So that's alright, then.

Photo credit: Thomas Hawk

1 comment:

Carnival said...

What do you think of the Eucharist then? It is not a relic but it is given to the world as a gift every Catholic mass.