I AM FOOD: The Mass in Planetary Perspective by Roger Corless

I AM FOOD: The Mass in Planetary Perspective

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Splendid stuff: a short guide to the Roman Catholic Eucharist that sparkles with wit, style, and scholarly imagination. Corless teaches Buddhism and Comparative Religion at Duke, and while he writes here in a popular and personal vein, he draws on a rich assortment of (mostly) Eastern sources. The title comes from one of the Upanishads, from which Corless quotes a marvelous excerpt (in his own translation). He explicates a good deal of t he Mass and Christianity as a whole in terms of mandalas (e.g., the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21-22 is a Palace Mandala, not ""the Hollywood clichÉ of the Pearly Gates,"" nor ""a nice place for one's cosmic retirement, a Sun City, Arizona, in the sky""). And throughout the book he displays an appropriately Buddhist levity where dogma is concerned, comparing the theoretical structure of Christian theology to the Munster Family mansion, or the Deposit of Faith to the flavorful deposit in a stock pot--clergy and laity should see to it that nobody slips ""a dead rat or other unsuitable item"" into the pot, and to be on the lookout for interesting new spices to enhance the soup. But, despite the stream of irreverences, Corless actually stays close to old tradition in his step-by-step exposition of the mass (he cites Ronald Knox as a model). And his climactic point would be orthodox enough for St. Augustine: in Communion, he writes, Christians ""accept our own divinization as the Humanized Universe Mandala is returned to us as the divinized microcosm of Christ, and as such we are offered back to the Father."" Read Corless if you know something about the Eucharist already (beginners will find him tricky to follow), or if you simply want the pleasure of watching a sprightly, civilized religious mind at work.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1981
Publisher: Crossroad