Dumb question, but is transubstantiatin considered to be supernatural event or metaphysical event? What’s the difference?
Both. Supernatural in that it is Holy Spirit which does the wok and not any natural power. Metaphysical in that what is happening can be talked about in philosophical term dealing with fundamentals beyond the physical world.
But when I was at Mass today I found that the Gloria we used took me completely out of a metaphysical or supernatural sensitivity. I think it was Mass of the Redeemer by Dan Schutte. It made me long for the solemnity of the TLM and I am not even a traditionalist.
But the actual act of the bread turning into Jesus is supernatural?
Yes, I would say so because (without using fancy philosophical reasoning which I have no knowledge of) the mystery of transubstantiation occurs by God’s grace and goes beyond the scope of the natural world.
May God bless you abundantly and forever!
I would say that the explanation of transubstantiation is metaphysical (philosophy of existence).
But part of the experience of the Eucharist is that of faith. Faith is required in order for one to receive the Eucharist, and faith is a supernatural gift from God.
However, I wish we had a different word than supernatural to describe faith. A word which does not get confused with things that are not real, or are just made up. Faith is a real spiritual state of a person. It is only supernatural since it crosses over the horizon of time and allows one to see with faith things that are otherwise unseen. To the materialist, this appears to be supernatural. Faith is within the nature of man.
Of course it’s supernatural – in the sense that such a thing would not happen under “normal” physical laws. It is beyond the “natural”. It occurs through the action of God’s supernatural intervention.
As to metaphysical, that depends on how you define “metaphysics/metaphysical”. If your understanding of metaphysics is something that does not happen in reality, but only in the realm of thought, concepts, etc. – then NO, the Eucharist is not a metaphysical event. Metaphysics enters into it in the use of metaphysical terms to try and explain the nature of what takes place in transubstantiation. ----- why it is in reality Christ’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity even though physically it retains the appearance of bread and wine.
Transubstantiation is not just a concept or something that takes place only in the realm of our mind/thinking, or only in the spiritual realm. It involves Jesus’ real body and blood, not just His soul and Divinity.
“the actual act” is key. Metaphysical has to do with ideas and explanations by the intellect. “Actual” means real, existing on its own, outside of the intellect.
When talking about the “actual” Eucharist, it is the “actual” existence of the second person of God under the form of bread. This metaphysical idea does not share the existence of what is in reality. The Eucharist is really and truely actually the body of Jesus as he said it was and not just a thought.
Now we can have a metaphysical discussion about it. But that means that the actuallity of the Eucharist in the mind is only a thought and not an actual being of the second person of the Trinity.
Is it supernatural? I would say that it is definitely by supernatural power that the Eucharist exists. And this power comes from Jesus who told his apostles at the Last Supper to do this.
And if it is a supernatural power to change one substance into another, can this be said to be in a sense miraculous? Not totally miraculous since the appearances and the sensibles of bread and wine are still there, that is, the superfucials. But the underlying reality of bread is gone and now it is the body of Jesus.
To see this does not take metaphysics but faith which is a power given by God to an individual.
Definition of “metaphysical”
“concerned with first principles and ultimate grounds, as being, time, or substance.”
Transubstantiation is a metaphysical change because it is a change of substance. Metaphysics does not mean “beyond the physical” as if the change did not occur in real physical objects (bread, wine).
Transubstantiation is supernatural. It is a daily miracle contained within every Mass.
I have used the following examples…this might help understand it better:
Two variables in play: Accidents (aka Appearances), and Essence (aka Substance). *
- Example of a natural change in accidents: water becoming ice or steam. Accidents change, essence (H2O) stays the same
- Example of a natural change in substance: metabolism of food. In this case, both the accidents and essence changes (from food into chemicals and nutrients used by the body.)
- Example of a supernatural change in accidents: Jesus multiplying the loaves and fishes. In both cases, the essences (bread and fish) stay the same, but the quantity (accidents) changes
- Example of a supernatural change in essence: Transubstantiation. The accidents (qualities of bread and wine) remain, however, the essence changes 100% from bread and wine into the body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord. This is a miracle and requires faith. However, the Person that taught us this rose from the dead in fulfillment of numerous scriptures, proving He is who He said He is: God.*
I don’t think there is any change in substance or accidents in the case of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. The loaves and fishes still have their respective accidents and substance.
The substance of bread changes ONLY into the substance of Christ’s body; then the rest of Christ’s human nature becomes present by concomitancy, and his Divine Nature becomes present by the hypostatic union. The substance of wine changes ONLY into the substance of Christ’s blood; then the rest of Christ’s human nature becomes present by concomitancy, and his Divine Nature becomes present by the hypostatic union.
The substance of bread and wine do not change into the soul of Christ, nor into His Divine Nature.
If I have two loaves and 5 fishes, then they are multiplied such they fill up many wicker baskets, then the accidents (appearance) did change. If I only looked at one single fish before and had one single fish after, then the accidents did not change. BUT…Christ “multiplied” them, so that more is visually different then less, thus accidents did change.
From the CCC…emphasis mine:
1374 The mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as "the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend."201 In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist* "the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.**"202 "This presence is called ‘real’ - by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be ‘real’ too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present."203
1377 The Eucharistic presence of Christ begins at the moment of the consecration and endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist. Christ is present whole and entire in each of the species and whole and entire in each of their parts, in such a way that the breaking of the bread does not divide Christ.207*
I’ll stand corrected on the bread becoming the body, and the wine becoming the blood, but according to the Church, we receive the entire Christ with either species, and the entire Christ includes the soul and divinity.
Thought so. Thanks to all.
Yes, the consecration results in the entire Christ being present, body, blood, soul, Divinity.
Cause - supernatural
Effect - metaphysical