Be a red blood cell!

I’m offering this for thought. After receiving the Eucharist on Good Friday, the following thought came to mind. I do appreciate your comments on this. Thanks!

In our bodies, red blood cells flow into the lungs. There, through a process of diffusion, the red blood cells receive (they actually receive, they don’t reach out and grab) oxygen. The red blood cells leave the lungs and travel throughout the body delivering this life giving oxygen to the cells that they contact. The oxygen is given to the other cells that need it.

While I was kneeling there in the Good Friday service, I noticed how people were flowing through the church, moving up toward the front to receive the Eucharist. There, they return to their seats. Mass ends right after that and people disperse out into the community. They have received Christ and they carry that to others in the community, sharing this life giving Light with the people they contact. The Light is shown most brightly on those in the dark.

I put those two thoughts together with the way Christ “breathed” the Holy Spirit onto his apostles, and that made me wonder if God designed our bodies for the purpose of giving us a model for the way the Eucharist works throughout humanity.

I see our own internal lungs as a model of the Church; the oxygen as a model for the Eucharist; and the red blood cells as a model for the faithful ministering to all of humanity, the healthy and sick alike. We are in a repeating cycle of going to the Church, being nourished, returning to the community and sharing our God given gifts.

What a marvelous analogy! I have never thought of that before, by the similarities are certainly worth meditating upon. Thank you for sharing!

I think this is an excellent model you have drawn. As an engineer, it’s a good model I crave; I don’t always have to know the truth.

That said, your model speaks to what I have come to think as well. That spiritual and physical processes, and may I add mental and social, all have common characteristics that could metaphorically or allegorically compared.

The Mass is intended to appeal to all five sensory systems, which opens us up as much as possible to receive the life-giving breath (btw “inspired” means “breathed” so if we are inspired by what we sense, we are breathed into) through the Host.

Actually this rocks! This could be a very excellent piece in the puzzle I’ve tried to draw. For example, if you compare spiritual communication (turn the other cheek, do not resist evil with evil, evil as separation) and compare it to bodily functions, is it any wonder the Church opposes condoms? Over a period of 2000 years technology has changed. Our ways of doing things have changed. Our ways of communicating has changed, not just because of computers or phones but the whole way we as people speak to each other. So the focus of the Church on human biology and morality associated with it, keeps a construct that will withstand changes in technology.

For example, what if you tell your father/teacher/friend, “I’m not listening.” Is that not a contraceptive act? It prevented an exchange which would have been an act of love.

Just a couple more gratuitous examples if I may, if my many words have not become burdensome already:

When Jesus says the yeast will disperse through the dough, this could apply to memes, (actual memes not necessarily Internet ones but those work too) or chemicals in fluids like a gas in the air. One drop of perfume will permeate all the air in the room. A mustard seed grows into the largest bush – again dispersion and unity. Or could He be talking about the “pay forward” approach to acts of kindness?

That’s enough. Your post my my day. And it was already glorious! :thumbsup:


Note: the Good Friday service is not a mass, since there is no consecration, also it has no formal beginning or end, since the Holy Thursday Mass lacks a formal ending and the Easter Vigil lacks a formal beginning.

Good observation. Yes, much in the natural order points to theological things. :o Think of all the figures in Scripture, such as the movement of the sun, a lamb, a shepherd, money, the hand, the eye, the parts of the body, etc…!

Yes, good analogy. We are many parts but one Body in Christ. A good many of us just might be called to be red blood cells in that Body. :thumbsup:

I had never thought of it that way. Excellent! :clapping:

What a wonderful analogy! I’ll have to remember this :thumbsup:

Agreed,… :slight_smile:


I have long thought that if human body-cells had been known in NT times, individuals’ role in the Mystical Body would have been described in terms of them.

Of course, these were not discovered then, so we are compared to hands, feet, eyes, nose, etc (visible parts of body).

Interesting that while there are far more people in the Mystical Body than there are visible human body parts, there are vastly fewer people in the Mystical Body than there are cells in a single human body!

The truth lies between those illustrations.

Nice work!


We could even view the single cell egg as the essence of unity of humankind. Kind of like a single set of spiritual parents, Adam and Eve. In the womb, the egg differentiates into the different types of tissues and organs. Just like science, math, philosophy, religion, and the arts all used to be lumped together and now are differentiating even as we cruise through the end times, guided by whatever light each of us goes by, to assume our positions. So in this gestation period that 2013 is a part of, we are still getting more diverse, each serving a different function in the Body. One thing I’ve been called to be at times is His waste removal system. It’s kind of like evil spirits are magnetically attracted to me so I preprocess them with seeds of the Word and release them, and any leftovers or inedibles I take to Jesus on the Cross, for re-purposing.


I understand where you are attempting to go with this analogy but, I am not fully comfortable with your use of Oxygen as a model for the Eucharist. That assumes that we take into ourselves and make part of ourselves the Eucharist. We do not. We are actually through reception of the Eucharist taken up into Jesus. That is part of the mystery and why Jesus used the parable of the vine. Through reception of the Eucharist we receive the grace to carry out the actions of love and be “little christs” (small “c”) to the world (also represented in the oils of conformation).

The lungs of the church so to speak are the western and eastern churches in communion with Rome and also to some extent the orthodox churches (may we all be one again one day). Established symbology could lead to confussion.

I agree very much with your last sentence. Another way of saying how we love God (and God loves us) and then in turn love our neighbor. As St. Therese said “It is love! To love, to be loved.” :knight1:

Actually, I like the oxygen idea a lot.

The oxygen in our breathing does not become part of our bodies. Only a small part of it is absorbed in the lungs; the rest is exhaled; that is why CPR works, because there is still enough oxygen in our exhaled breath to keep a body alive. Our LORD transmits life!

When we exhale, we emit CO2 equal to the oxygen our lungs absorb. So the oxygen does not become part of our bodies. What our bodies do gain is its free energy, which our bodies turn into life!


Hello Cadian,

Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

I fully agree that reception and not “take” is critical. However, when it comes to a red blood cell, there is no “taking.” The oxygen comes to the red blood cell through a process of diffusion internal to the alveoli . The red blood cell does not reach out and take oxygen from some other place and then pull it into the internals of the blood cell.

The point of the “body of Christ” analogy, as far as I see it, is to understand that we all are all interacting and affecting each other. If we sin, if we do not operate as we are design to operate, then others are harmed, the body of Christ is harmed. Loving our neighbor is critical, but so is being holy unto ourselves.

Just some thoughts…

At the start of the creation of man (humanity), Adam was created. From Adam, his rib was pulled out and Eve was made from that rib. Children spawned from Eve. Every single person who has ever existed, exists today, or ever will exist can trace their ancestry back to that very first creation of Adam.

The same is true at the cellular level in our bodies. At some point, our very first cell is created. From that very first cell, all other cells that have ever been alive and functioning in our bodies can trace their origin back to that very first cell.

I do think that God gave us a body for many reasons. But, I do think that it is possible that the structure of our body gives us a picture of the whole of humanity at some level.

Many reasons indeed!

The human soma is a microcosm of the physical universe; it emBODIES and expresses our mind the way the physical universe expresses the mind and power of God. IMNAAHO of course!

Alleluia! ICXC NIKA!

Once I saw a DVD that also drew comparisons between a city and a body. You have systems to bring in water and nutrients and deliver them to each cell – house, business, sprinkler. You have waste gathering and removal. You have the white corpuscles to take down would-be attackers on the rest of the cells. You have boundaries around specific organs, like a shopping mall. You can imagine the rest of it.


Can I be a phagocyte? I feel like destroying viruses sounds more fun :wink:

JK! I do really like your analogy though!

I see our own internal lungs as a model of the Church; the oxygen as a model for the Eucharist; and the red blood cells as a model for the faithful ministering to all of humanity


OK, in that context I can see where you are leading one to think of the analogy of the red blood cell, not of it’s own action imbibing the oxygen as metaphor for grace being given to the communicant via the Eucharist as another example of the parable of the vine when explained as you have. I just find it, without the explanation, and standing on it’s own, a bit of a stretch. Perhaps amend your original example with the further explanation? With that further clarification, then the analogy has more merit.

Indeed. That has merit. It is just a bit convoluted for the casual observer. Again perhaps further clarification is warranted. Perhaps draw a link to the writings of St. John the Evangelist’s description of the vine?

Understood, thank you for entertaining my criticism. Offered in love ( I hope ). :knight1:

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