THE GLUTTONOUS AND THE
Talkativeness, levity of
conduct and impurity accompany the gluttonous. Impatience and pride
accompany the abstemious. Thus, Dives, feasting sumptuously, committed
sins of the tongue. . .thus, his tongue needed water for
The gluttonous Israelites
rose up to dance and play, exhibiting levity of conduct. Also, when
the belly is distended, the pricking of lust is aroused. God declared:
"Upon thy breast and belly shalt thou crawl," to the serpent
in Paradise, signifying that the devil's dominion shall be man's heart
Impurity follows gluttony.
When the belly is distended through gluttony, the virtues of the soul
are ruined by impurity. On the other hand, when St. Peter encouraged
abstinence, he immediately added patience. And Paul warns the
abstemious of pride. For, when the flesh is fasted too much, humility
is displayed outwardly, but, inwardly, there is grievous pride on
account of that very humility. Thus, the Pharisee exclaimed, "I
have fasted twice a week," with pride.
The gluttonous will avoid
impurity if he gives up the desire for the pleasures of food. Avoid
loquacity and levity of mind, too. Our first parents fell due to
intemperance; it shall also be our fall.
The abstemious must be
warned that, running away from gluttony, they might fall into
impatience; that, while subduing the flesh, the soul might be overcome
fast," i.e. add something good to your fasting. Give to the poor
what you subtract from your nourishment. A fast is "not unto
God" if what you deny your belly for a time is reserved and given
to the belly later.
Gluttonous, be warned:
"Take heed. . .lest your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting
and drunkenness. . . and those days come upon you suddenly.
The abstemious must know:
"Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but, what
cometh out, this defileth a man."
The glutton should not
love the food of the flesh inordinately; the abstemious must not
condemn the things he abstains from.
St. Gregory the Great: Pastoral
Care, Part III,19