August 21, 2015

Catholic Education Outreach / Gina Fleming

Make healthy choices, pray for grace to shed pounds of worry, sin

“Eat everything on your plate.” “Don’t waste.” “It’s time to eat!” These are messages engrained in me since childhood.

“Eat smaller portions.” “Avoid foods with sugar.” “Only eat when hungry.” The health and wellness initiative in which the archdiocese is involved tells me this is the approach to a healthier lifestyle.

When a large entree of delectable options sits in front of me at a local restaurant, I am now torn between the seemingly contradictory messages of my youth and adulthood.

Likewise, so many messages in today’s world contradict the very substance of our Catholic faith. How we dress and present ourselves, the words we choose, the ways we spend our money, and the ways we use our time and talent: These are all ways we overtly live out our Catholic faith—or ways that we do not.

What has become obvious is that my ability to blend messaging in a way that upholds both values and physical health requires a mind shift—a new way of thinking.

It requires a more intentional approach to eating and exercise habits. I now must think about selecting half-portions on menus, and ensuring a balanced meal with adequate protein and vegetables.

Consideration must be given to the impact physical exercise and rest may have on my overall health. I can apply both messages—portion control and avoiding waste—in a way that works, practically melding the two lines of thinking together.

How, then, can this same mind shift be applied to more intentionally live the Gospel message in today’s world? How can I live my faith through words and actions courageously when it demands contradicting today’s societal norms?

As a wife, mother and superintendent, how might I assist in forming intentional disciples? What considerations must be given to outside influences that can either draw me closer to the heart of God, or stand in my way of a deeper relationship with him?

How can we collectively, as a Catholic community, live the message of the Gospel fully without compromising to fit social structures, but instead striving to change our world to better reflect God’s love?

This type of conversion surely requires changing habits, changing hearts and changing minds. Fully relying on God’s love and mercy, there is hope!

May we all prayerfully continue to turn to God for the grace and strength necessary to shed the pounds of worry and sin, while making healthy choices that lead us to the ultimate feast at the table of our Lord.

(Gina Fleming is superintendent of Catholic schools for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.)

Local site Links: