Mea culpa, it's been forever, hasn't it? Life is busy with four kids (yes, I did say four!), homeschooling, and renovating.
I keep saying I'm going to start blogging again, and I never seem to get around to it.
Today I want to write about nourishment, which is fitting seeing how today's Gospel reading was this, from the book of John:
"I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh."
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ So Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live for ever." (6:51-58)
We, as Catholics, find in this passage one of the scriptural justifications for ancient Tradition, the doctrine of Transubstantiation. It is the belief that the bread and wine actually turn into the Body and Blood of Christ. Whenever Jesus prefaced a passage with "Very truly, I tell you,", which is also sometimes translated as "Verrily, verrily, I say unto you", Jesus is speaking literally. He tells us that we must literally eat the flesh and drink the blood.
Some people will argue that Jesus didn't mean literally, but was speaking figuratively. But if that was the case, why did that statement cause such an uproar among the other Jews? They thought he was speaking literally! Besides, if you look back on the history of the Jews, and what sacrifices entailed and what happened to them, it makes perfect sense that Jesus - the sacrifice once and for all - needs to be consumed, as all sacrifices must be in some fashion.
But enough of the theology. This is about food.
I've been feeling really awful lately. The baby, at 10.5 months, sleeps like a newborn. Meaning, she's up every 45 to 90 minutes through the night. Her waking wakes up Abby, who sometimes struggles to go back to sleep. That means lots of sleepless night for this Momma, and my zombie-like state during the day means some of the daily household stuff does by the wayside.
Meal-planning was basically non-existent this past week, since getting back from our sorjourn to Winnipeg for a bit of holidays and to attend the funeral Mass for my husband's grandmother. And my body paid the price.
I didn't realize it until yesterday, after eating an honest-to-goodness real meal cooked from real food, with lots of veggies and good quality protein just how low I had been feeling, and how much of it was from the junk and processed food I had been feeding it. The difference was remarkable.
Eating badly seems to be a self-perpetuating thing. You eat badly because you're too tired to prepare something decent. You feel worse because you didn't eat well, which makes you too tired for the next meal. It keeps going.
We had relaxed Abby's food restrictions somewhat in recent months, and it makes a tremendous difference. Gluten, as it turns out, is still mostly off-limits. We can let her have some here and there (helpful for things like birthday parties), but we pay for it the next day in her behaviour. She's a good eater, however, and I can't complain. She loves foods like egg whites, broccoli (she can eat a 5 lb bag by herself in the course of 3 days), turnips, roasted chicken, carrots, salad greens, baked potatoes etc. Stuff that most parents dream of their kids eating, nevermind kids on the spectrum. Many of her classmates seem to survive on processed foods, which can't be helping their behaviour.
Joseph can't have too much processed stuff either, or he's positively vibrating. He seems to need a diet of fresh air, good activities to keep his mind and body busy, plenty of fruits and raw veggies, and strict restrictions on things like TV and computer time (AKA screen time), as they seem to effect her weirdly and needs to detox from them once you turn them off.
We need to be conscious of what we choose to nourish ourselves with. I think eating fresh, whole food is more important that choosing non-GMO, although I will chose non-GMO when I can. I think nourishing our minds with good books, good projects, and lifelong learning is paramount. I think nourishing our hearts with the companionship of family and good friends helps us lead balanced lives. And nourishing our soul with Christ, both literally when we receive the most Holy Eucharist, and spirituality within our devotions and liturgical practices, strengthens us in our daily lives.