Because you are sick, I wish to
prescribe that you eat meat; but fear that the meat might make your flesh
rebellious and your struggle against it more difficult. You cannot
apply worldly ways with yourself, otherwise, your stay there is
When the flesh is nourished with
meat, it rushes into lust and delivers the soul to the excesses and
barbarity of luxurious living. Thus, the apostle, describing a
pleasure-loving widow, said: "She who gives herself up to pleasures is
dead while she is still alive."
"The eating of meat is an
enticement to vice," and not only meat but also too much of other food,
for it is not the quality but the quantity of food that is at
Anything taken into excess makes
the mind heavy and a heavy stomach dulls the mind.
A nun needs only to be
healthy, not fat or robust. Her mouth must be pale for lack of
talking and not ruddy because of overuse. She should sigh to God in
prayer and not belch undigested food. If you need physical strength,
enjoy the use of meat, like those who dig mines, who contend in athletic
events, who construct high buildings. . .none of which you do. So,
take meat for medicinal purposes and, like all medicines, let it cure the
soul, not harm it.
St. Leander of Seville: "The
Training of Nuns" Chap. 24