Sunday, March 20, 2011

2011.03.20 Placebo Eucharist?

There is a lot of writing about the placebo effect. Evidence that something works even if you tell someone that a pill, for example, is only a placebo, has no medicinal ingredients. (Deborah Kotz, Boston Globe G, 3.7.2011)

Why? Many reasons: personality, authority says so, desire for healing/relief, suggestibility. In short, they don’t really know why placebos works.

I have wondered about the placebo effect in the Eucharist/Holy Communion. Yikes! Heresy.

Does Eucharist nurture your soul and deliver a shot of grace because it does, or because you have faith that it will in relation to your experience in a Christian community? OR because the priests told you so from when you were little, or just yesterday? OR Jesus said it in the Bible? OR Mommy said so!? OR— all of the above?

For me the Eucharist is a relational event: my faith opens to divine grace and TOGETHER they (my faith and God’s grace) make a glorious sacramental placebo.

(After all, the word placebo does derive from Latin, “I shall please.”)