Although I had vaguely heard of "supernatural fasting" from Sara Maitland’s 1983 A Map of the New Country, it was quite some time before I took these claims seriously as a result of reading Sophy Burnham’s underrated The Ecstatic Journey: Walking the Mystical Path in Everyday Life, which spoke of Catherine of Siena as having fasted for seven years.
Probably because of
- my autism attracting me to people who are psychologically the opposite (as stigmatics certainly are) of myself
- my problematic tendency to be excited at things like inedia (long abstience from food)
The whole issue, I think, is that the psychological make-up of the two sides of the culture wars are so different that either side understanding the other is in essence out of the question. This difference is
- as Benjamin Wiker says, based on the surface on the difference between a designed and a random universe
- but at depth roots in psychological difference between a rational thinking type who views everything as explicable, and a feeling type who does not and tends to see things in terms of natural law and as a result, of God
The best final word, from that same book - and indeed the best summary of this extremely difficult and culturally inherently divisive question, is:
- because they ate Holy Communion every day, these inedics do not strictly qualify for the records the Guinness Book of Records is asking for.
- Sophy Burnham, however, does say that this consumption of Holy Communion is so limited that their inedia still defies normal laws about eating.
- Marthe Robin (and some other inedics), however, were paralysed throughout their period of inedia, so they were not living a normal life, as is pointed out in the excellent book The PK zone: a cross-cultural review of psychokinesis (PK)
Although fraud seems to be a frequent explanation for the apparent ability to survive without eating, there do appear to be a few cases that are not so easily dismissed