Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Green Bay, WI
Reflection for June 19, 2022

Reflection for June 19, 2022

You are what you eat

Eucharist connects us to Jesus' limitless power and inexhaustible love

by Sister Francis Bangert

After having celebrated two significant feasts of our faith, the feast of Pentecost and the Most Holy Trinity, we now reflect on the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ ... the Eucharist. All the readings for today focus on food.

We are what we eat. A daily diet of fatty foods rich in calories harms our health. A daily diet of nutritional, plant-based foods improves our health. We are what we eat. This is not a new learning. Back in the Third Century, St. Augustine of Hippo observed this reality and recognized the importance of repeated practices to inspire and change us.

At every gathering around the Lord’s table, we believe that bread and wine are changed. During the Eucharistic Prayer they become the Body and Blood, the Soul and Divinity of the Risen Christ. This is the mystery of our faith ... that Christ has become our food.

St. Augustine wrote, “If you receive the Eucharist well, you are what you eat. Since you are the Body of Christ and his members, it is your mystery which you receive. As you come to communion you hear the words 'Body of Christ' and you answer 'Amen.' Be, therefore, members of Christ that your 'Amen' may be true. Be what you see. Receive what you already are.” (Fr. George Smiga, “You Are What You Eat”)

So how should the frequent reception of this mystery transform us week after week, to become more kind, more caring, more compassionate? Christ has overcome the evil in the world -- betrayal, rejection, loss, suffering, even death. He feeds us with His Risen life. That life-giving food we receive gives us courage and confidence to face our fears, anxieties and the issues that are part of our lives: healing of fractured relationships, comfort in loss, peace in times of confusion, conflict and chaos, forgiveness of those who have hurt us.

The Risen Christ who is now at the Father’s right hand with limitless power and inexhaustible love gives us the strength and confidence we need. May our Amen to the “Body of Christ” be strong and confident because we have become what we eat ... Bread for the world.


06/17/2022 6:47 am


Sister Sally Ann
06/17/2022 9:53 am

Sister Fran, this is such a meaningful reflection. We are to "become what we eat," to become the body of Christ in the world today. Celebrating the Eucharist each day and being fed with the nourishing and sustaining Body and Blood of Christ is no longer possible for many of us. We make spiritual communions in place of the actual Sacrifice of the Mass. God's grace continues to be active and nourish us.

06/17/2022 1:32 pm

Many years ago -- back in the early '80's -- I read that one of the St. Catherine's (either St. Catherine of Genoa or St. Catherine of Siena; I think 'Siena') said, "it only takes one communion, received with great love and sincerity-of-full-self, to make a saint."

At the time, I shared that quote within an Adult Ed. group I was participating in, which Fr. Mac, an Oblate of Mary Immaculate at the time, commented, "Yeah, the saints have said some pretty incredible things ...."

About 15 years ago, I relayed this "comment" to a person who was acting as a spiritual director at the time, and she said, "Don't say that 'in the Church ...."

As if to say, "Oh, boy, if you say something like that today, you are going to get yourself in all kinds of trouble."

Well, well ........ When I first read that comment by the St. Catherine who said it, I "knew" what she meant. I mean, really, if JESUS lives in us, JESUS lives in us. What 'more' needs to be said ......? Certainly, we want JESUS' FULLNESS OF PRESENCE to GROW within us, so yes, we continue to "WELCOME" and "RECEIVE" All-Who-JESUS-is-for-us as we go through life, but having lived life so much longer and having gone through so many different experiences, including lots of hard ones, I all the more agree that "One communion, sincerely and with full love, received, does, indeed, make a saint."

Peter Schumacher
06/17/2022 3:23 pm

Thank you Sister Francis for this new, special meaning to me, as many times I have used this saying, “You are what you eat.”

Loretta Derocher
06/17/2022 3:48 pm

Dear Sister Fran,

Thank you for your Divine reflection that through partaking in the Body and Blood of Christ we are able to become more kind, caring and compassionate. Your words are inspiring!

Sharon McNulty
06/21/2022 10:34 pm

I was late to read this as traveling . Enjoyed it and all comments . Blessings, Sharon

Rev. William J. Jacobs, Jr.
06/24/2022 8:47 am

Good Morning!

So sorry I'm late in responding. Our crazy world nowadays keeps me extra busy.

I loved your reflection - thought you topped it off with the referral to St. Augustine.

Thanks for sharing. Father Bill

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