aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

For my fellow liturgigeeks

Caroline Bynum has shown how the female ascetical traditions of the later Middle Ages were closely associated with an obsessive eucharistic theology that functioned within a complex symbolic system of food manipulation. Where male religious battled the carnal temptations of their libidinous desires, female ascetics deprived themselves of food as the ultimate test of their devotion to God. In this ascetical system, the eucharistic host was described in the starkest terms; Mecthild of Magdeberg (died 1282?) was not alone in describing receiving communion as "eating God." In a supreme act of eucharistic piety, Saint Catherine of Siena (c. 1347-1380) claimed that she could reject all earthly food and survive on the consecrated host alone, which undoubtedly accounts for the demise of her emaciated body at the age of thirty-three.
-- Timothy Thibodeau, in The Oxford History of Christian Worship

Men obsess over sex; women obsess over food. The more things change . . .

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