Super(natural) Size Me!

Jesus giving himself to us in the Eucharist is ‘soul’ food in the purest sense.

‘Holy Communion in Togo’
‘Holy Communion in Togo’ (photo: godongphoto / Shutterstock)

“If you ate only one meal a week, would you survive? It is the same for your soul. Nourish it with the Blessed Sacrament.” —St. André Bessette

Twenty years ago, Morgan Spurlock released his documentary “Super Size Me.” Many of you are familiar with the premise. He ate nothing but McDonald’s food for 30 straight days — breakfast, lunch and dinner. If McDonald’s didn’t sell it, he didn’t eat it. Although he never asked to “supersize” his meals, his rule of thumb was to always answer “yes” if asked.

A fascinating experiment, to be sure. He enlisted the expertise of a cardiologist, a gastroenterologist and a nutritionist from the outset to monitor his health changes. All were surprised at how quickly his situation deteriorated. He gained nearly 25 pounds. His cholesterol, blood pressure and other vitals skyrocketed. He had frequent headaches and felt depressed. Near the end of the month, one doctor was flabbergasted to see that a person could turn his liver to mush (similar to the effect of long-term heavy drinking) simply by eating a high-fat diet for 30 days.

Spurlock essentially proved the old axiom: “You are what you eat.” He ate junk food for a month and “trashed” his body and his health.

If that works in the negative, what would happen if we tried a different kind of experiment — to the positive? “So Jesus said to them, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.” (John 6:32) “So they said to him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.’ (John 6:34) Jesus later responded, “Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” (John 6:49-51).

Jesus giving himself to us in the Eucharist is the ultimate health food — “soul” food in the purest sense. As Catholics, we are obliged to take this passage from the Gospel of John literally. Do we? When we pray the prayer that Jesus taught us, we say, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Sure, we’re asking God to take care of our basic needs each day, but aren’t we really asking him for the “bread” that allows us to live forever?

Considering all of this, I decided a few weeks ago to take Jesus at his word. I’ve attended weekly Mass every weekend for many years (after spending a decade or so eschewing this whole “Catholicism” thing). Over the last 10 years, I’ve started going to daily Mass more frequently, as well. But I never went out of my way to go, every day, for any length of time. What if I took an antithetical cue from Spurlock and received Holy Communion every day for a month?

I did, and it changed me.

Make no mistake, I’m still a pathetic sinner who daily finds new and creative ways to irritate my wife, children and most others who come into contact with me. But this regular consumption of the Bread of Life has done something to me. I find myself digging deeper in prayer. The Mass has come more into focus. The passion with which I speak with God has increased. Jesus is more clearly present in others, too. God’s still, small voice is coming through with greater clarity when he’s calling me to reach out to someone in need or to restrain myself from making what could be a hurtful comment.

My “want to” for being closer to God is significantly and consistently stronger. There’s a greater appreciation for the fact that everything I have is from God, and that allows mercy to flow from me more readily. A sustained sense of peace is becoming the norm. (At one point on Day 29, I had to restrain myself from joyfully whispering to people near me in line for Communion, “We get to receive Jesus!” Seriously. I almost couldn’t stop myself.)

This experiment has given new meaning for me to the words the priest uses from Revelation 19:9 when he holds up the host: “Blessed are they who are called to the marriage supper of the lamb.” Marriage. What a curious word to use there. And it’s followed by “supper.” This “marriage supper” calls to mind another statement from Jesus, characterizing the permanent relationship between the bridegroom and the bride, “The two shall become one flesh.” You are what you eat, after all.

What would happen in your life if you opened yourself to him giving you his daily bread? If you allowed yourself to become one flesh with God? Consider giving this experiment a try. Jesus is waiting for you and for me. Every. Day. You probably won’t need a cardiologist to tell you afterward that your “heart” health has improved.

Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speaks to supporters during a campaign rally at West Allis Central High School on July 23 in West Allis, Wisconsin.

Kamala Harris’ Record on Catholic Issues: What You Need to Know

Harris has consistently promoted abortion, scrutinized Catholic judicial nominees, and opposed pro-life pregnancy centers and activists. She has also embraced gender ideology as well as transgender and contraception mandates that have, at times, jeopardized religious freedom.