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The Lay Monastic Community of Caryana









Dearest Florentina,

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 useless.    

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 fault.  

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





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