We are not just material beings, but spiritual persons with a need for meaning, purpose, and fulfillment that transcends the visible confines of this world. This longing for transcendence is a longing for truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth, goodness, and beauty are called the transcendentals of being, because they are aspects of being. Everything in existence has these transcendentals to some extent. God, of course, as the source of all truth, goodness, and beauty, has these transcendentals to an infinite degree. Oftentimes, He draws us to Himself primarily through one of these transcendentals. St. Augustine, who was drawn to beauty in all its creaturely forms, found the ultimate beauty he was seeking in God, his creator, the beauty “ever ancient, ever new.”―Sister Gabriella Yi, O.P.

Living right on the left coast of North America!

So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.—2 Thessalonians 2:15

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Would you like hand sanitizer with Holy Communion?

Most parishes in our diocese have hand sanitizer on the credence table for the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHC) to use prior to distributing Holy Communion.

Which means... .

... there is frequently a lingering aftertaste that is the sharp chemical sting from sanitizer residue on the hands of an EMHC transferred to the Sacred Host. Yikes!

This past Sunday, the EMHC did not disappoint. As soon as I knelt (genuflected) to receive Holy Communion, I caught a whiff of the pungent chemical. And yes, the taste of sanitizer was strong.

Frankly, I prefer the Sacred Host without an isopropyl alcohol chaser, thank you very much. Hand sanitizer is a poor substitute for the Precious Blood.

Perhaps it is appropriate, in a very weird and unfortunate (sacrilegious?) way, that a Mass sanitized of beauty and reverence should also have the Host sanitized.

UPDATE June 15, 2015—FYI chemical concern: Holding Thermal Receipt Paper and Eating Food after Using Hand Sanitizer Results in High Serum Bioactive and Urine Total Levels of Bisphenol A (BPA).

Bisphenol A (BPA) is an endocrine disrupting environmental contaminant used in a wide variety of products, and BPA metabolites are found in almost everyone’s urine, suggesting widespread exposure from multiple sources. Regulatory agencies estimate that virtually all BPA exposure is from food and beverage packaging. However, free BPA is applied to the outer layer of thermal receipt paper present in very high (~20 mg BPA/g paper) quantities as a print developer. Not taken into account when considering thermal paper as a source of BPA exposure is that some commonly used hand sanitizers, as well as other skin care products, contain mixtures of dermal penetration enhancing chemicals that can increase by up to 100 fold the dermal absorption of lipophilic compounds such as BPA. We found that when men and women held thermal receipt paper immediately after using a hand sanitizer with penetration enhancing chemicals, significant free BPA was transferred to their hands and then to French fries that were eaten, and the combination of dermal and oral BPA absorption led to a rapid and dramatic average maximum increase (Cmax) in unconjugated (bioactive) BPA of ~7 ng/mL in serum and ~20 µg total BPA/g creatinine in urine within 90 min. The default method used by regulatory agencies to test for hazards posed by chemicals is intra-gastric gavage. For BPA this approach results in less than 1% of the administered dose being bioavailable in blood. It also ignores dermal absorption as well as sublingual absorption in the mouth that both bypass first-pass liver metabolism. The elevated levels of BPA that we observed due to holding thermal paper after using a product containing dermal penetration enhancing chemicals have been related to an increased risk for a wide range of developmental abnormalities as well as diseases in adults.

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