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Part 2: Gluttony

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By Chris Sparks (Mar 9, 2017)
Let's talk about sin, shall we? The following is part two of our weekly Lenten series on the Seven Deadly Sins.

For many, as I have often told you and now tell you even in tears, conduct themselves as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction. Their God is their stomach; their glory is in their "shame." Their minds are occupied with earthly things — Phil 3:18-19.

It's really easy to excuse gluttony (trust me — I'm speaking from personal experience here). "Just one more ... " whatever: one more cookie, one more serving, one more snack, one more Christmas treat, one more trip to the buffet, one more, just one more ... and by the time you're done, it's amazing how it all adds up.

Just one more.

And this is one reason why fasting is so powerful: because we actually choose to stop making excuses, decide to stop putting our appetites and desires in control of our lives, and restore God to His place as Lord of our minds, hearts, and yes, our stomachs, as well. We take our stomach off its throne and replace it with the cross. We say to God, "Obedience to You and honoring You are more important to me than feeling good right now. Pleasure isn't as important as You, Jesus."

That's also why gluttony is one of the seven deadly or capital sins: because it puts the passing things of this earth before anything else. The glutton isn't minding their health, their sobriety, or the impact their actions have on their neighbors. Rather, in that moment of gluttony, all that matters is that next bite, that next drink, that flash of pleasure, that momentary delight, that satiation at the end of the evening, that feeling. We mistake feeling good for being good. We feel good? Life is good. We feel well? We are well. We feel happy? We are happy. But true goodness, wellness, and happiness are a far cry from the high of the addict, whether they are addicted to food, drink or drugs. When we privilege feelings above reality, we are indulging in a life of lies, and a life of lies forms a people of the lie, an evil people, as the author and psychiatrist M. Scott Peck explained in his book People of the Lie.

Gluttony turns our attention in on ourselves. We can no longer see past the end of our nose, no longer see the hunger or the thirst of others in our urgent rush for self-satisfaction, no longer perceive the harm our unfettered appetites do to our neighbors, to the environment, to the whole web of relationships between God and His creation.

So let us turn the logic of gluttony against itself. Let us say, "Just one more" to the things of God: just one more prayer, just one more fast, just one more act of almsgiving, one more act of kindness to another, one more smile, one more choice to love. Let us follow the example of St. Faustina and offer one more work of mercy, even in the midst of our own suffering; one more act of trust in Jesus, even as the darkness closes in around us; one more decision to hope in a despairing age; once more into the breach of the culture and the new evangelization; give away one more image of Divine Mercy; tell one more person that God loves them, forgives them, and all can be made right.

Let us learn that healthy, right appetite, which desires to do one more good deed and give one more bit of love to God and neighbor, that is never satisfied with what was done yesterday, but always seeks to live life in the Spirit today, a life of love and gift, a life of generosity that always seeks to give one more time.

One more. Just one more.

The Seven Deadly Sins

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Ann - Mar 7, 2017

This is definitely the one I struggle with the most on a daily basis and one that I confess in my monthly confessions the last several years. I'm a devout Catholic. I go to daily Mass often, pray the Rosary every day and sometimes the Divine Mercy Chaplet, do a holy hour at our Church's perpetual adoration chapel every week and love learning about our Catholic Faith and learning Scriptures. I mainly fail at fasting but haven't given up trying. I sometimes think I shouldn't go to Daily Mass because I keep wondering if I am committing a mortal sin because I knowingly overeat but I rarely "win" the battle against the temptations of food. But on the other hand, I feel like for me to overcome this sin, I need all the help I can get so I want very much to receive Jesus in the Eucharist as often as possible. But I will persevere if only to continue to offer up my struggles to Jesus and make something good out of it. God Bless all of you and The Marian Associates and all the great works you do.

Caspar - Mar 4, 2015

All the articles can be accessed through the linked list at the end of the piece.

Darlene - Mar 2, 2015

My husband and I found the article very informative. We happened to read it as we were returning from a visit to his Italian relatives who equate loving family with an overabundance of food. Bless them! I also liked the explanation on fasting. We too missed the first article on lust. Is it possible to obtain it?

Ann - Mar 1, 2015

Thanks for the article. I struggle with this sin every day.

evs - Feb 26, 2015

Love this article; missed the first one but I look forward to the remaining 5 deadly sins. I certainly own one deadly sin and through your article I can surely learn much how to overcome it and this season of Lent is the best time to make reparations for it.

Njt - Feb 26, 2015

Re: NAN-
first off- "fasting" isn't only a Lenten sacrifice. Many fellow Christians try to be loyal to fasting 2 or 3 times per week year round. Wednesdays and Fridays are suggested - It also is a personal decision. Maybe start with Fridays and realize the blessings of fasting and adding days when you desire a stronger sense of The Lord as your strength and true bread and true drink. Just as Jesus showed us in his 40 days strengthening himself spiritually and getting " Satan behind him " in the desert in preparation for the Passion for his victory over Satan. ( thus the 40 days of Lent to prepare for Easter triduum )
Bread and water fasts all day are the most powerful. But take your health into consideration - especially if ill or on meds.
The word "breakfast " should make sense based on full day fasting - since that morning meal - Breaks the Fast as we indulge in that first meal following our previous day fasting.
Correct that the Catholic Church has relaxed its expectations by inviting a fast to include only one full meal and to include 1 or 2 small meals and zero snacks for adults to be considered fasting.
However - resisting that voice in our heads of persuasion is a powerful weapon against Satan. So prepare yourself as you are able. Hope that helps

Elizabeth - Feb 26, 2015

Thank you for this wonderful article. I can't deny i was not knowing the real meaning of Gluttony. But with this truly understanding article I pray. God bless you.

Nan - Feb 26, 2015

Would someone please explain fasting from food during Lent? I get not eating meat - which I personally think that in our country (USA), it is not a real sacrifice or penance. Does fasting in Lent mean no food at all? Or one small meal a day? Also, a friend of mine told that when people fast for religious & spiritual purposes, they are not tell anyone. For me, if I fast (no food at all) it would be impossible to keep as a covenant between God & myself. Thanks for any feedback.

Albert - Feb 25, 2015

I really appreciate this article, Ive learnt a lot even though this is my first time of a visiting this site and it has been a great blessing to me. God richly bless you for being a blessing to me in this Lent season.

Linda - Feb 25, 2015

Thank you, Chris. My favorite sobering thought: "We take our stomach off its throne and replace it with the Cross." I always thought of gluttony as something that belonged to the Romans who perfected the despicable art of excessive eating by purging so they could eat more. Thank you, Chris, for enlightening me. No more "just one more" pączki on Fat Tuesday. I keep St. Faustina in mind this Lent in my humble fasting, for she said: "...I am meditating constantly on His Sacred Passion and so, while I am eating, I am not preoccupied with what I am eating, but I am reflecting on my Lord's death (Diary 618)."

Charles Zadigian - Feb 25, 2015

I loved the article on Gluttony. I t really gave me something to think about not just on food but many other things that we desire and abuse.