Whenever we talk about bread being bad, whether it be because of phytic acid, lectins, carbs, or gluten, many Christians offer a simple rebuttal:
Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life.” If Christ raised bread in such high esteem as to become bread, how can it be so evil?
In fact, in Catholic teaching, God elevated bread so much that He destined it to be transubstantiated into His Body in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. The substance of the bread miraculously changes into the substance of Christ’s flesh – but unfortunately for those with Celiac disease, there’s still gluten in there as far as digestion goes.
My oldest is preparing for First Communion this year, and one of the booklets he was given has a good deal of information about bread – a page that I landed on while skimming talked about why Jesus might have chosen bread to be the substance for Holy Communion. It says, “You can eat bread at every meal and not get tired of it, like you might if you ate, say, chili three times a day.”
They’re going to make bread during a little retreat the second graders are doing with parents in a few weeks, and it all just makes me uncomfortable.
Any time bread products come up nowadays, I get squirmy.
Bread seems like it’s the enemy, when you have a husband with Crohn’s Disease and a clear gluten sensitivity, and you feel like the ball will probably drop on one or more of your kids someday with an autoimmune diagnosis.
In fact, I hate the fact that food has wormed its way into even the religion class, where now I have to move past that page quickly or hope Paul doesn’t ask any questions about why God says bread is good and Mom says bread is bad.
Why does good food make us sick?
In the garden, the serpent perverted the beauty of the Tree of Life and tricked Adam and Eve into wishing to be like God, disobeying Him, and choosing power over love.
One widely accepted theory on why so many people are becoming gluten sensitive pins the whole problem on
genetically modified wheat. Is not genetic modification humanity’s attempt to be as a god, to play the Creative role God has firmly established for Himself? EDIT 2/14/13: Oops. My mistake. I was going from memory from reading this article in print and mistakenly latched onto the phrase “genetics” when really, wheat has been highly hybridized. This explanation by the same author (of the book Wheat Belly), along with some reader comments for which I’m very grateful, set me straight. The basic premise is the same, however: man altered God’s design in order to make something “better,” and in the process likely made many people sicker.
I was thinking about this at Mass on Sunday as I gazed at the Host, that glutinous host, and I thought about Satan and his methods for doing evil.
It stands to reason that if God Himself heaps honor on bread, on wheat, that it is precisely that food that Satan would choose to attack through the weakness and pride of men.
Just as Job was given the strength to survive terrible trials because of his faith in God, we learn that if life seems too perfect, we’re probably not being faithful enough. If we have no trials with which to test our faith, it is probably too weak to handle them.
Why would Satan attack celery, mess with mustard, or bring down Brussels Sprouts? No one is using them to bring Love to the world.
No, it makes sense that bread attracted the attention of the prince of darkness.
By tempting man to gluttony (we eat too much gluten), pride (we took control of nature for ourselves), and sloth (what else is processed foods, many of which have added gluten?), Satan has perverted something good into something evil for many, taken a food that is the staff of life in many cultures and turned it into a cause of disease, and brought dissension and tension into my own Eucharistic faith.
When man was ushered out of the Garden of Eden, he was told he would toil in the fields as punishment.
I’m afraid that in fleeing from our punishment, in avoiding toil in the fields by modifying the very foods we eat for efficiency and mass production, we have again chosen power over love.
An important note I need to add: “Many are the troubles of the just, but the Lord delivers from them all.” (Ps. 34:20) In spite of the many attacks of Satan on our world on a daily basis, I trust in God’s might, and that He will never allow Satan to prevail in the end over His Church or His holy ones. These bodies of ours are only vessels to proclaim His love, and if we do that without bread and with suffering, we are all the more effective conduits. Satan will never win!
May your Lent be a time of sacrifice, deepened prayer, and generous service, and may you grow in holiness these 40 days.
I’m signing off the computer for Ash Wednesday, and one of my Lenten promises this year is to not work when the kids are awake…so if I don’t have a post one day, it probably means I was not disciplined enough the night before! Oh, how I neeeeeeed Lent every year…