When I started a Food Diary long ago in Fall of 2011, it was for my 15 month old daughter. When I realized I needed one for me, then I felt this to be like a ball and chain. I did NOT like it one little bit! Each time I ate something I had to write it down. First off, I didn’t like seeing on paper all of what I was eating. Secondly, it took extra time out of my day. Thirdly, it felt like I was reporting to an authority. (Who was this authority? My doctor? Not really. It was for me to figure out what was causing the most problems in my body. I really couldn’t blame my doctor. ) I just didn’t like it!
But I realized it was good for me. Wow, how I realized how much sugar was in my diet back then! I did not get many daily vegetables at all. Also, I had to remember all that I ate. I snacked an awful lot… hard to remember everything I ate each day. I had to get in the habit after every meal to write things down. I kept my food diary in the kitchen. I had to work on formatting it better so I could refer back to important details (Did I eat that food while out dining or at home? Did I eat the jelly out of the same jar as others who’d jellied toast? What symptoms did my body give me on certain days?) Writing down things, even when I only had one bite, was still important since your body can react to things that small…. Or even smaller like bread crumbs! And finally when I was totally honest with myself, I needed that food diary to be the authority. Otherwise how was I to solve this puzzle of bad health due to certain foods if I didn’t write ALL my food intake down? The food diary enabled me to see my food choices clearly and do something about it.
That’s when it occurred to me, my food diary is like the sacrament of confession. I can go through life and commit the same sins over and over. And if I go to confession on a regular basis — like we should to stay in spiritual health – I can confess these sins and be absolved, but eventually I don’t relish the fact that those repeated sins keep me confessing like a broken record. While it is inevitable at times to repeat sins, it nonetheless doesn’t make me feel that I am making any headway to heaven. In fact it makes me feel like I’m in a rut…. Which I am! I don’t want to be in a rut; I want to be on the highway to heaven! So then if I truly desire this, then I’ll think twice before committing that sin again. Yes, the grace of the sacrament happens sometimes that simply. After so many trips to the confessional, undeniably the sins that the Lord wants us to work on the most come to the forefront, and then with the grace from the sacrament, we can focus on them, avoid those sins, and make a conscious decision to not habitually commit them again.
Just as the repeated, written-down words in my food diary make me think twice about eating that suspicious, problematic food, so my repeated, spoken-out-loud words in the confessional make me think twice about committing that habitual sin. When light shines on evil, it loses its power and control and manipulation over you. It’s not always easy to deal with the problem food or the habitual sin, but when we shed the light upon it, it becomes something identifiable that, with His help, we too can overcome.
Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” Matt 19:26