25 July 2017

Become What You Receive

I just savored the last bite of a chocolate macadamia nut cookie from The Famous 4th Street Cookie Company at Reading Terminal Market here in Philadelphia. I'm on a mission to buy something from every single stand in Reading Terminal. At over 80 merchants, this is quite the challenge. So today, after buying bread and vegetables from my standard vendors, I settled on a cookie for my "something new". Thick, chewy, with the chocolate chips still gooey, it was a very satisfying choice.

What I eat is a significant part of how I experience the world. It seems I'm always making decisions about consumption: organic or conventional, price or quality, local or imported, dairy or meat. Sometimes I am very conscious about my purchasing choices regarding what's best for the world, or what I believe in when it comes to agriculture. But lately, I've mostly been making decisions based on the depth of my wallet, which is consistently slim. Yet, I try to justify my choices as having some benefit in line with my beliefs. "Oh, this isn't helping an organic farmer and therefore fighting subsidies one little step at a time, but at least it's buying local and supporting my neighborhood!" With consumer choices, sometimes grand ideals must be knocked down by the reality of economy.

Yet, for all the thought I put into how what I physically consume will affect me and the world, do I put the same thought towards what I figuratively consume? Just what exactly am I receiving into myself on a regular basis? With whom am I associating? What are our conversations? What am I watching? Is this building me into the person I want to be? Building the world into the kind of place in which I want to live?

Just like with food, sometimes economy wins out over ideals. Sometimes, one cannot choose the company one keeps. But, one can always choose how to engage with the choice at stake. One can listen to the gossip, but not participate in it. One can buy the potato, but not deep fry it (well...maybe occasionally). Making these choices takes courage. It is so easy to be unhealthy - physically, emotionally, spiritually - but does it make you actually feel good?

Become what you receive. That's what the priest says at mass before Holy Communion. We are to become the Body of Christ. It's an invitation, and a choice. Just like broccoli, just like a new friend. And it's a choice we make every time we participate in the mass. And just like broccoli, or friends, we can receive this once a day or once a year. The frequency of our reception of any of these - food, friends, communion - will affect their influence on us, wherein lies the real choice: how much and how often?

What do you primarily receive, and is that what you primarily want to become? I want to become the Body of Christ, so I go to mass more than once a week. Although, becoming that chocolate macadamia nut cookie wouldn't be too bad either.

No comments :

Post a Comment