Saturday, September 12, 2015

'Eucharist Has Zero Calories'

On the spiritual page of the Catholic Times, the columnist tells us about a professor, he and many others admired. He  was a respected teacher within the church who was fighting a number of diseases;  one of the them was diabetes and was doing it for thirty years and joyfully.

Exercise, and control over his eating, was always done carefully; on a work trip, he would check his blood sugar. On trips with the columnist, he would come to his room and ask to check the columnist's  blood sugar.

He would  habitually  check  the amount of food he ate: the  calories in each meal. If you were beside him, you would hear him give each food the number of calories.  On one occasion the columnist hearing the counting  of the calories and the number given to one particular food, said to the professor: "Hey, that couldn't have that many calories!" He was right on;  out of curiosity, the columnist did his checking, and his count was accurate.

On  one occasion at a meeting with the professor, there was a table set up for snacks. As in the past each plate was given the amount of calories, and he  ate accordingly. One of the dishes was cups of noodles. This would have exceeded his caloric intake on that day, and he passed it up. After the snack and a period of rest, they  headed for the area for the liturgy of the Mass. One of the study group members asked the professor how many calories in the Eucharist.
The question came from one who hadn't been baptized very long and  left the columnist  with a strange feeling. He must have heard all the talk of bread from heaven, and  the bread of life and wanted to satisfy his curiosity.

The professor answered: "Eucharist has zero calories." These words were greeted with a period of silence and the nodding of heads in agreement. The columnist found the answer ripe for meditative reflection. A young scholar asking a vivid, graphic question, the professor without thought: zero calories, and the columnist tongue tied but with many thoughts running through his head.

That night the professor and the study team at the Mass each would have different responses to the 'o' calories of the professor. The columnist was at the back of the church and at the elevation of the Eucharist, the meaning of 'flesh and  bread'  came to him with more force than in the past.

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