Friday, October 17, 2008

Sacraments of Flesh and Blood

Sacraments...when you are a Roman Catholic you hear a lot about those. Baptism, Extreme Unction, Holy Communion. I think the notion of sacraments were the things that attracted me the most about the Church. Prods make such a big deal about Communion being a symbol, but it isn't just a symbol. It's real.

I became more intimate with the notion of communion when I read Memnoch the Devil, by Anne Rice. Now, I only liked two of her books, this one and Interview. In Memnoch, Vampire Lestat is taken on a sort of Divine Comedy and Paradise Lost sort of voyage where he sees heaven and hell and the death of Christ. Lestat, being Vampire, is transfixed by the divine sacrifice of Christ's crucifixion very much for the same reason that we should be. It's the blood. The promise of everlasting life and salvation from death. The juxtaposition of life in the midst of death and for Lestat, death before the Ultimate Life is fascinating. The Vampire's promise, if there is such a thing, is everlasting life, as a walking undead. Christ's promise is the everlasting salvation of the soul though the body dies and fades away. It will be resurrected, of course, but til the judgement trump our human presence is erased.

In Dracula, the Vampire promises eternal life and everlasting love, to walk in the shadows and to control the beasts and the winds. Mina joins in this other communion with the Count, as Sookie did with Bill, as all female Victims do in the arms of their Vampire. Love and sex and religion and sacrament become entangled as their bed sheets as they embrace the ultimate "human" love. Are the Vampires, when they share their own sweet stuff, imitating the (not blaspheming) the act of Christ on his Cross? To have a love who will not die, immune to all disease except those particular to the Vampire? To embrace the sacred love of believer and God, the ecstacy that St. Therese felt in the presence of the angel.

So, is this the root of the tale of Vampire, denied the sacraments of Church, so they go to those who can fulfill the promise in covenants of flesh and blood? And is not their dark kiss the gift of salvation from earthly death. I don't know, perhaps I seek a cure from all my pain, a body that will never sicken, never die and a lover who will always walk with me through the centuries. But what of the soul?