What is Gluttony?

Happy Monday Sisters,

Welcome to week two of Lent!

Last week we uncovered the shadow of pride, and it’s important to always keep in mind that as we go forth and unpack the rest of the 7 vices, at the root of them all is the deadly sin of pride.

This is why pride is referred to as the “queen of sins”, because ultimately…every sin can be in some way, shape, or form lead back to a root cause of pride.

This week we will be talking about our second vice: Gluttony.

As always, let’s hear what the wise St. Thomas Aquinas has to say about gluttony:

He writes, “Gluttony denotes, not any desire of eating and drinking, but an inordinate desire. Now desire is said to be inordinate through leaving the order of reason, wherein the good of moral virtue consists: and a thing is said to be a sin through being contrary to virtue. Wherefore it is evident that gluttony is a sin.” (ST II.II. q148. a1).

When we think of gluttony we usually think about the idea of over eating or over drinking, and yes this is very true. But it goes deeper than that.

St. Thomas explains this so perfectly that I feel the need to simply quote him again, “Gluttony denotes, not any desire of eating and drinking, but an INORDINATE desire.”

This is the key word here…inordinate desire. Our desire for food or drink, our desires as a whole, are given to us for a reason and they have a specific purpose. Our desire for food is there so that we can nourish our bodies for example. When we speak about having an inordinate desire, we are talking about taking that desire out of context and usually to an extreme with the focus directed at our own fulfillment only.

Let's return to the food example. Our desire for food becomes not for the nourishment of our body, but rather for the fulfillment of our desire for the pleasure of food. We seek food only because it makes us feel good and it brings us comfort, instead of seeking it because it is good for the body. That does not mean that food cannot be tasty (pleasurable to eat), but it is when we take that desire alone and focus only on the pleasure aspect, that it leads us to an unhealthy harming of our body.

This can also manifest in other ways, not just food and drink. One way that comes to mind is the common term “binge watching.” There is nothing wrong with just sitting down and enjoying a show or a movie. But when we go into this drive of “I need to binge on this new show” that is us giving into an inordinate desire.

Ultimately, the focus comes back to us because we seek fulfillment in things that are finite and temporary and eventually we fall into being controlled by our desires. We allow ourselves to be caged by them.

As we go through these next few days reflecting on this vice, I want you to bring your awareness to how do you cope with stressful situations or moments when you are overwhelmed and just need to check out.

Do you seek comfort in food? Do you seek comfort in drink? Do you seek comfort in other things like Netflix or hours of scrolling on Instagram? Allow God to brings those areas to the light!

Come Holy Spirit and bring to light those areas where we use our desires merely as comfort.

Walking together, Sandra

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