Cells in Communion

The smallest unit of true life is called a cell. (Viruses aren’t cells, as they can only function in the presence of living cells). Bacteria are cells, though they lack a central organising nucleus. A cell with a nucleus is called a eukaryote, and is the most advanced cell of all.

All higher forms than single cell life are formed from communities of cells living together, each with a different talent to contribute to the whole. These multi-cellular communities are called organisms. You and I are such.

The thing that defines a cell is its cell membrane. This provides its perimeter and demarcation from the environment in which it lives. Without this demarcation, the biochemical processes of the cell would cease as the components diffuse away from one another. Cell death is marked by the breakdown of the membrane, after which the former cell contents just become part of the environment (again). Ashes to ashes, etc. Within that membrane, life can function safely and in an organised fashion. Energy production and usage, and structure formation can occur therein, undisturbed by the environment outside. Ultimately, if the cell is successful and it is permitted by its programming, the cell will divide, and donate its membrane to its two beautiful daughters.

Membranes are walls, but they do have doors. No cell can exist without some contact  with the outside. Supplies of nutrients need to enter, waste must leave, communication with the outside, and other cells must happen, or the cell will malfunction. An example of this is a cancer where a single cell stops listening to its neighbours (and it’s own programming), and starts dividing like mad. Soon a tumour results, a community of like minded mad cells. In an organism/community of cells, this kind of behaviour by a tumour will lead to dysfunction, illness, and ultimately death of the whole community of cells.

The function of the cell membrane is essential to life both of the cell, and of the community to which it belongs. Many antibiotics act by preventing bacteria from correctly forming cell walls. Go figure.

For life to exist, a boundary is needed. to separate the living from the dead. Whether that boundary is a cell membrane or one’s skin, it is an absolute necessity. The skin is the largest organ in the human body, and when it is damaged, severe illness or death soon follows, as any burns sufferer can demonstrate. Burns are intensely painful, and rightly so. Protection, or “saving one’s skin” is essential to survival. In hazardous conditions, one protects one’s skin with clothes and creams and so forth.

The boundary around a human being encloses their identity. Loss of one’s identity is what happens in mental illness, bad religion or demonic possession. Christianity strengthens identity, while keeping it in proportion and right order. Egoism is identity gone mad. Anything that promotes egoism is pathogenic (disease-producing).

On the human level, the boundary also represents the Law. Certain behaviours are proscribed that are incompatible with human health and growth on the personal and social scale, and must be kept out. Just as it is a recipe for disaster to play with fire, so too is it wicked to play with the passions, our own or those of others. Humans are not selfish, whimsically behaving beasts, their health, growth and integration have an eternal, spiritual endpoint that transcends this universe. Beware of those who want to break down necessary boundaries. Such are invaders and parasites.

Like creation itself, the Law comes from above. For the sake of humanity, creation and eternity, our home, we must all play by the Law. Playing by the Law has been made easy in our lawless times. We have the example of Christ Jesus to follow. He came not to abolish the Law, but to fulfil it, for He is the Law itself. Life lies with Him. Amen.

The alternative to the Law is an inescapable, entropic decay towards madness and Hell.

Make your choice now.

About Brother Burrito

A sinner who hopes in God's Mercy, and who cannot stop smiling since realizing that Christ IS the Way , the Truth and the Life. Alleluia!
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8 Responses to Cells

  1. Despicable Dan says:

    “Egoism is identity gone mad”…yet without the ego we could not function. It is an essential part of the psyche and is most evident in children, where though it is often obnoxious is nevertheless a survival mechanism. It did not appear by accident, the unattributed writer should know.

    “Christianity strengthens identity” – but which version of Christianity? Mormonism? Or the snake handling congregations of the US? The Jehovah’s Witnesses?- we are not told. Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam unarguably strengthen identity too, so I find this exclusive assertion unfounded. And of course identity and ego are often inseparable.

    The confused extended metaphor of cell life is a non-sequitur and I’m sorry that I find the article to be not well thought through on many counts.


  2. Toad says:

    “Playing by the Law has been made easy in our lawless times.”
    ..should there be a “not” in there, Burro? Or has Toad just missed the whole point? (again)

    As to Dan’s point, well – as always – it all depends on what we mean by a word; “Egoism,” in this case. We each have our own personality.
    As we should.


  3. Roger says:

    I enjoyed this article with thanks.
    St Paul says that man is Soul, Spirit, Body. St Paul 1 Thess [23] And may the God of peace himself sanctify you in all things; that your whole spirit, and soul, and body, may be preserved blameless in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    From this there are three domains of which the Body is one. The Cell and living organisms (as opposed to non living matter). This is the Material world that we know.
    The comes the spirit, which is outside of the study of Science?
    Then the most obscure the Soul and here what do we know?
    Creation is concerned with ALL three. The Bible, the Faith The Virgin Birth, Passion, Resurrection ALL follow from the Fall Of Adam and Eve Original SIn. The Expulsion from Paradise (which isn’t the beautific vision of Heaven) and from that comes Mans Labour and sweat and toil, pain, suffering the Cross. So we know and have stopped defending preaching and actually being apostolic that Man’s Fallen Nature and the restoration of Man through Grace. Somehow the Cell and this Body is the consequence of the Origional Sin. Man has Free Will (the Will is clearly not of the Body) and this most precious gift would be meaningless without choice. What is this choice? Ultimately God or the negation of God. Heaven and Hell. This is the work and realm of the Church Grace and Mans last End.
    The world and materialism and egoism (only God can say I AM when Man says I AM he is claiming to be God). , so called sciences which are really manipulative and the means for avarice and power. Wordly, Caeser has NO rights over the things of God. This today has huge imprecations because in the endevour to become Modern the Church has forgotten the things of God. The article on Cells is very good because it reflects Gods building blocks for the Body. But the spirit and the soul dominate the Body.
    The Faith is in crisis because it has made itself subservient to the Material world. Taken its most precious vessels of Grace and covered them in Mud. Marriage for instance, divorce has been forced on Man. Homosexuality is an abomination. Poor sinners publically lynched , what about St Mary Magdalen? Did Our Lord shun her because of the opinion of the world?
    Preach again Heaven , Hell preach the enemy of Fallen Man, the world , the flesh and the Devil.
    Because the world and the flesh (materialism) is playing into the Devils hands!


  4. Thank you, Brother Burrito! I am sure Toad is right – ‘not’ was an erroneous omission ??


  5. kathleen says:

    Wow, I’ve learnt more about medicine since knowing you, Brother Burrito, than I ever have before! It’s amazing how you use your knowledge as a doctor to draw fascinating metaphors between our bodies and our souls. Congrats!

    Just one point….. where you say: “Like creation itself, the Law comes from above.”
    I’m sure you mean ‘Divine‘ Law, don’t you? Man-made laws are not always just and good, unfortunately.
    But yes, I liked this article too (and your great comment Roger!)

    @ Dan…. (who I’m sure is not really ‘Despicable’! ;-))
    ““Christianity strengthens identity” – but which version of Christianity?”

    BB could only mean orthodox Christianity, especially Catholicism of course! But other world religions do hold, to a greater or lesser degree, elements of truth and goodness.


  6. Despicable Dan the Bongo Man says:

    Thank you Kathleen. I should really use my full title which is Despicable Dan the Bongo Man.

    My comments on world religions were *not at all* about inherent ‘truth and goodness’, but referred closely to the article’s assertion that “Christianity strengthens identity”. It does I’m sure, but so do many other things and not only religion. Of course I guessed that the writer meant Catholicism, but it could have been the Jehovah’s Witness lot for all anyone knew.


  7. johnkonnor72 says:

    …I think the cell analogy is good ina sporotual sense those who realize their true vocation and attain some semblance of sanctified grace become healthy cells in the mystical body of Christ as such each cell becomes dependent upon the others …a lattice work…the DNA being the holy spirit…communicating in a way what sort of function a particular cell will perform… Always a good article to be found..keep up the good work…the cells in a state of mortal sin eventually cut themselves off from the lifeblood and fall away…constantly replaced with renewed…a cycle of spiritual life…


  8. golden chersonnese says:

    So what? So this: God, in his wisdom, takes this natural tendency to make connections between physical reality and abstractions like purity, truth, beauty and love and raises it and all things to communicate, not mere ideas, but his very own life to us. How? More on this next time.
    (Mark Shea, writer of markticles)



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