Intimacy of the Diet

When Jesus chose to institute the Eucharist he utilized bread as the Matter of the Sacrament. The reason Jesus chose bread is because of a pretty direct correlation between earthly sustenance and heavenly sustenance. Bread is an obvious source of life. We would cease to live without food; and bread was the most basic building block in the Jewish food pyramid. Similarly, we would cease to have heavenly life without Grace; and the true Body of Christ is the most basic building block in the Divine food pyramid.

“direct correlation between earthly sustenance and heavenly sustenance”

I have a friend that I grew up with, both of us devout Catholics. I got the chance to follow up with him later in life. He married a great Christian woman but no longer attends Mass since he joined her church. I’ll never forget him telling me, “Yeah, it’s a bummer I don’t get to Mass much anymore. Our service is good, but I really miss the Eucharist.” This stuck with me as he went on to describe such an intimate relationship he was able to partake in with Jesus through the Eucharist.

It is too easy for us to take intimacy for granted in our lives. We attend Mass on a weekly (often daily) basis and it is easy to get caught up in the routine of it all and forget how blessed we are to be able to receive Jesus in such an intimate way. As a man who has struggled with chastity in his life, it is so easy to take the gift of sexuality for granted, abuse it, and forget how blessed we are to be able to partake in creation with God. Similarly, as a man who has struggled with sloth and gluttony in his life, it is so easy to take the gift of our body for granted, abuse it, and forget how blessed we are to have a weapon given to us by God that we can use to serve Him, each other, and the entire Body of Christ.

Food and drink are the most essential needs of the body and we forget how reverently we should treat the process of ingesting them. Just as our society has perverted human sexuality into a mere source of pleasure and selfishness, our views of nutrition have also become similarly warped. It is all too common in our society to value the pleasure and satisfaction of our diet over the nutritional benefit it gives us. Our food becomes part of us. It fuels our body and mind. It is intimate enough of a process that Jesus used it as a method to deliver Himself to us and bestow His love and grace unto us, through our food.

“society has perverted human sexuality into a mere source of pleasure and selfishness, our views of nutrition have also become similarly warped”

It has taken me a long time to understand the true importance of this. I have always known “your body is a temple”, but it’s more than that. Your body is a gift, a weapon, and ultimately the only way for you to become truly united with Jesus while here on earth.

Another story that stands out to me has to do with my friends and I climbing a mountain at sunrise. We smoked a cigar and thanked the Lord for the wonderful fellowship we have. We hiked, smoked, then ran back down the mountain to get to daily Mass that morning. On my way to receive the Eucharist, I felt terrible receiving Jesus with very recent cigar breath. I felt as if I were approaching the altar in my sweat-drenched workout tank and some flip flops. It felt wrong that I would offer the worst of myself to the King of the Universe.

I challenge you to begin evaluating your nutrition and diet with sacredness in the same manner you evaluate chastity in your lives. Note, I am not comparing eating a candy bar with infidelity or breaking your abstinence, but I am urging you to evaluate your diet as a whole and evaluate the relationship you have with your food through the same sacred lens. There are too many similarities between the sins of lust and gluttony to ignore. Both stem from an inordinate desire of something sacred, both are marketed to convince us their only purpose is pleasure, and succumbing to either is too selfish for you to ignore and cave in to. You are better than that. You are worth investing time to evaluate your source of nourishment. Ultimately, you are preparing a wonderful place to receive Jesus every time He offers His Body to your body in the Eucharist.

“You are worth investing time to evaluate your source of nourishment”

The Lord takes your nutrition seriously. Do you?

In His strength,

Mark Howerton