Friday, January 16, 2015

Catholics: Experts on Eating

I have a history of struggling with food and body image, like many women in America.

I'm grateful that I recognize the joy I get from exercise and glorifying God with my body through running. However, I still go up and down with my relationship with food.

I've given up sugar ( to the extent where I checked ingredients lists), I've gone vegan for a little while (knowingly temporarily. Bacon.), I've done Weight Watchers, I've tracked every morsel I put into my mouth, I've deprived myself of one thing or another, and I usually end up exasperated and disappointed.

The most success that I've had came when I gave up sugar, and I think that had a lot to do with the fact that I was enjoying God's blessing of vegetables and fruits with a smiling heart. However, as soon as I got through (hmmm) Christmas this year I lost sight of why I was choosing foods the way I had been choosing them. I realized I didn't have the right mindset, and it really was all about me trying to control.

Yesterday I was listening to my free treat, a surprise Sirius XM subscription in my car (when there had not been one since we bought the car) and I heard part of Jen Fulwiler's radio show. She had Emily Stimpson on air with her, talking about her new blog The Catholic Table. They discussed how their relationship with food and eating changed for the better when they fully explored their Catholic faith.

That's why the Vatican is in Italy. Think about the way they treat food over there! Imagine if the Vatican was in Germany, or in England. The Italian culture stresses a total appreciation for every morsel, combined with an expression of love for those gathered by sitting down and savoring time at the table.

God provided the Eucharist for us commune with Him and His other children while we are on Earth. I need to go to Him more often and to try to control less often. I don't want to find myself using terms like "got through," as in: survived the dessert table, to discuss time with my family at Christmas ever again.

A nice intro post on Emily's blog: What is The Catholic Table?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Gesture of Peace

Here we go again. Couple in front of me, couple beside me, family behind me. Great. I picked my seat perfectly, AGAIN. Why can't some old widow sit next to me ONE of these days. Great. Here he goes, ready to spin everyone off into the arms of their spouses, girlfriends, fiances, moms/dads/people-who-love-them-enough-to-join-them-at-Mass. Great. Another reminder that I'm single and here alone. I love this.

This may or may not have been an inner dialogue of my own several years ago. Going to Mass by yourself can hurt. Often, it can hurt so much that you A) stop going to Mass all together, B) stop going to one parish and "church hop," therefore preventing yourself from becoming established in one place, or C) get mad at God for keeping you in this state of limbo.

My compassionate, wonderful husband has always made it his mission to include people. So many of his friends are those who he met because he was reaching out to them when they were the new kid or were in need of someone to reach out to them. It's one of my favorite things about my BFF/husband.

This holy husband of mine introduced me to this practice with which I'm about to challenge you: if you are lucky enough to go to Mass with someone (spouse, significant other, friend, family, anyone), don't offer them the gesture of peace until after you've offered it to all of those around you. There is bound to be someone near you who is dreading the gesture of peace because they know they'll have those 24 seconds alone, watching everyone else remind them that they came alone. 

We are a community. Build it and reach out to those who came to gather. Your Mass partner isn't going anywhere. This is one small way I believe we can strengthen the Church.
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