Their god is their belly

Friends in Christ, a group of young people I know went on a trip to India to work with the poor; one of the boys was – well, a pretty big guy – he said, ‘when the locals saw my stomach, it was as if they had seen someone from another planet – they were starring at it!’
.
St. Paul says today, ‘Many conduct themselves as enemies of the cross of Christ, their end is their destruction, their god is their belly.
.
Gluttony[i] is excess in eating and drinking; it is an immoderate indulgence in the delights of the palate. While it is usually not a mortal sin, Thomas Aquinas says that it becomes mortal if the person makes such pleasures their goal in life, having contempt for God – if their god is their belly!
.
Gluttony is not always about quantity; eating in a rush, shoveling food in in the manner of an animal is not the way of virtue; if a person loves delicate and expensive foods, is overly choosy regarding the quality or preparation of food or the vintage of wines – this is gluttony of delicacy. Of course this does not apply to a chef whose livelihood demands that he be very concerned with the quality of food.
.
Gluttony is a Capital Sin because it can lead to many others. Excess in eating and drinking leads to a dullness of mind; it leads to foolish, excessive talk, or boorish or uncouth behavior. People who have no restraint at table will often display ill manners and a lack of virtue.
.
It is widely known that gluttony is related to sins of impurity; St. Gregory says, ‘When the belly is distended by gluttony, the virtues of the soul are destroyed by lust.’
,
Now God commands that we care for our body which is a temple of the Holy Spirit, but gluttony can lead to the damage and disfigurement of this temple. Doctors are often frustrated that the health of their patient would be much better, saving his addiction to food and drink.
.
St. Josemaria recommends that at every meal we make a small sacrifice – an offering to God. Skip the salt, or choose a dish we prefer less, or take water instead of milk….. A small sacrifice at every meal pleases God, brings grace from heaven, and produces an almost automatic temperance in our eating.
Why don’t we all try to do this a little more, so that our god is not our belly.

.

[i] See Tour of the Summa, Paul Glenn

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation