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A Program of Spiritual Formation for Candidates to the Priesthood

The Lay Monastic Community of Caryana









Dearest Florentina,

Observe moderation.  If the weak and sick must be granted relaxation from fasting, let it be; but never relax the will.  There is nothing wrong with eating; it is the gluttony that is the fault, i.e. when you take more than what you need, or desire something which you can live without.  

Intemperance in food is threefold.  Firstly, when you desire avidly what is forbidden.  Secondly, if you seek what is not permitted or even what is permitted, like preparing food, with special care and expense.  And, thirdly, if you do not observe the regular time for eating by taking food in between meals.  Adam lost the delights of paradise and the rewards of immortality because he desired and ate what was forbidden.  Esau desired what was allowed, but he desired it too eagerly.  For this, he lost his birthright.  And only animals do not observe a regular time for eating because they have no reason.  

He is not abstinent who devours food whether rich or tasteless:  "the throat is like an open grave."  He is soft and dissolute who delights in costly and foreign foods.  

A fish is hooked because it wants to eat; a bird is caught by a net because it wants to eat.  An animal falls into a pit because it wants to eat.  So, dear Sister, learn from Scriptures: "Let not your hearts be overburdened with self-indulgence and drunkenness."  Thus, David did not even drink water, recognizing the danger of shedding the blood of another man.  And Daniel scorned the feasts of kings and lived on vegetables.  Invite no one to a harmful meal lest you cause scandal.  Yourself, be an example and a proof of a good life to others.        

St. Leander of Seville: "The Training of Nuns" Chap. 13





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