When Ash Wednesday approaches you find that the bulk of Catholic conversations revolve around “hey, what are you giving up?”. I think it is a beautiful thing to see people conversing over the sacrifices their making for Our Lord this Lenten season. I had decided after talking to my Doctor that this Lent I would do the ‘paleo’ diet. For those of you that do not know, this diet has been popularized as being the ‘caveman’ or ‘cavewomen’ diet because the food consists of eating no wheat, grains, or processed foods. The thing is? I LOVE all of those things! The bread, noodles, and cheese all seemed like it would be too hard to say goodbye to.
After praying about it I knew that the challenge would be something very worth it! As my boyfriends Dad would say, ‘accept the challenge to feel the exhilaration of victory!’. And this dear friends in Christ…. is going to be a challenge.
This leads to the question… Why paleo? What made you say yes? What does that have to do with Jesus?
The first answer is this… My body? Is a temple. It contains within it the Holy Spirit and many times I become the tabernacle after I have received the Eucharist…. I CONTAIN inside me the King of King’s and Lord of Lords! Jesus Christ, true God and true man, is within me! Shouldn’t I be taking care of His dwelling place? The thing is that it had been so easy for me to recognize my body being a temple when I talk about chastity or sobriety, but I never had though about it in the terms of my nutrition. Silly isn’t it? Saint Paul talks about the fact that our body is a temple and this couldn’t be more true than making sure we take care of what God has given us here on earth. We need to care for our bodies not because of outer appearance, although that is a temptation I totally understand, but because self harm comes in many different forms… even neglect. When we neglect to care for our bodies in our nutrition than we are not taking care of what God has given us.
The second answer is that self control in one area of your life will lead to self control in others. This can be understood that in order to practice virtues in one area of your life it is better to practice self control. Therefore, if you struggle with lustful or slothfulness then practicing self control in an area such as nutrition will teach you a main definitive thing… you can’t always get what you want. This phrase isn’t just a catchy lyric! In all seriousness during lent it may seem silly to be giving up something you may see as small and not having to do directly with Jesus like coffee, soda, or sweets. This was evident when I asked my oldest sister what she was giving up and she replied, “Oh just soda. I know it’s silly”. The fact is that it isn’t at all! My sister loves her daily dose of Coca-Cola and so I know that this will be very difficult! Therefore, give yourself more credit than that! You are learning this sort of self control that will help you defeat the larger sins that may plague your life.
The final answer to the, ‘why paleo?, for me is that it leads me to spiritual nourishment. My friends in Christ we give up things like this because we want to be nourished spiritually and we are having to rely on the spiritual nourishment! I know that making Lenten sacrifices is not easy but strengthening our relationship with Christ and receiving His body and blood more often will relieve some of that discomfort we feel during this time.
Remember these three things:
1. Your body is a temple.
2. Self control in one area of your life will lead to self control in others.
3. Rely on spiritual nourishment.