Before coming to St Vincent’s I was a nutritionist. I provided nutrition coaching and personal training. During that time I heard about all sorts of diets people were trying and every year there was a different diet craze. One that stuck around is eating lots of protein. From Paleo, to Keto, and even plant based diets, protein is always a nutrient people are interested in. For the most part I agree. I could go on and tell you all the benefits of protein in one’s diet. However, when it comes to changing our health and especially body composition, eating ample protein is only part of the equation. Other factors are needed in order to change. For example, if you want to burn more fat increasing your muscle mass is helpful. Most people know protein provides the building blocks for muscle. So naturally people think if you eat more protein, you’ll gain more muscle. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. In order to gain muscle, the muscle needs to be challenged and made to adapt. This can be done through specific exercise which tears muscle fibers. When the muscle repairs it grows back bigger and stronger. Here is where nutrition and protein come in to aid in this process. So why am I giving a nutrition lesson? Well, I’ve been witnessing many First Communions this past month which has been very joyful. But it has also made me wonder more about the Eucharist and how it “works.”
We know that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist and when we are given this sacrament we are made equipped to go into the world and carry on his mission. But how come I don’t feel like it? Nothing has changed and sometimes I sin right after Mass and think what the heck! Shouldn’t I have been given an extra boost of holiness that would prevent me from sin so soon? So it dawned on me that when we receive Jesus as our spiritual nourishment maybe it’s like eating protein. We can’t just receive Him and do nothing and expect it to change us. Just like with our bodies, our souls need a reason to change. We must challenge it so it can adapt and grow. This is where “practicing” our faith comes in. Jesus is our spiritual nourishment and He provides the building blocks for our spiritual muscles. So if we want to grow in faith and in holiness we must do something to make it happen. What kind of spiritual exercise are you doing regularly to grow?
Stephanie Nguyen | Pastoral Assistant to Liturgy and Children’s Ministry