Gluttony and sloth

What exactly is gluttony and sloth and when do they become a mortal sin?

Gluttony is eating much more than you need to sustain your life, and sloth is actually having a lukewarmness to our Lord, having no passion or zeal for God. They are mortal sins because they keep us from being imitators of Christ which is the goal of all true Christians. Theologically, a mortal or deadly sin is believed to destroy the life of grace and charity within a person and thus creates the threat of eternal damnation. The other deadly sins are lust, anger, pride, envy, and greed.

To look at it another way think of those things where we have attachment to worldly things or take inordinate pleasure in them.

Gluttony would be eating to excess even when you know you are full purely for the pleasure of eating.

Sloth would be a spiritual laziness. Say you get home after a long day and only have 30 minutes before you need to go to sleep. You think to yourself that you need to say your nightly prayers, but instead decide to watch TV rather than pray. This would be an example of sloth.

When do they become mortal? Well if you willingly reject God for pursuit of a worldly pleasure instead that would be setting yourself on the path to a spiritual death. What that point is is up to each person to decide.

all rampant in the good ol u.s.a.

which will lead to our downfall for sure !!!

Modern Catholic Dictionary:

GLUTTONY. Inordinate desire for the pleasure connected with food or drink. This desire may become sinful in various ways: by eating or drinking far more than a person needs to maintain bodily strength; by glutting one’s taste for certain kinds of food with known detriment to health; by indulging the appetite for exquisite food or drink, especially when these are beyond one’s ability to afford a luxurious diet; by eating or drinking too avidly, i.e., ravenously; by consuming alcoholic beverages to the point of losing full control of one’s reasoning powers. Intoxication that ends in complete loss of reason is a mortal sin if brought on without justification, e.g., for medical reasons. (Etym. Latin glutire, to devour.)

SLOTH. Sluggishness of soul or boredom because of the exertion necessary for the performance of a good work. The good work may be a corporal task, such as walking; or a mental exercise, such as writing; or a spiritual duty, such as prayer. Implicit in sloth is the unwillingness to exert oneself in the performance of duty because of the sacrifice and the effort required. As a sin, it is not to be confused with mere sadness over the inconvenience involved in fulfilling one’s obligations, nor with the indeliberate feelings of repugnance when faced with unpleasant work. It becomes sinful when the reluctance is allowed to influence the will and, as a result, what should have been done is either, left undone or performed less well than a person is responsible for doing. Sloth may also mean a repugnance to divine inspirations or the friendship of God due to the self-sacrifice and labor needed to co-operate with actual grace or to remain in the state of grace. This kind of laziness is directly opposed to the love of God and is one of the main reasons why some people, perhaps after years of virtuous living, give up in the pursuit of holiness or even become estranged from God. (Etym. Middle-English slowthe, slow.)

Thank you for the replies.

How difficult is it to commit the sin of gluttony? How much food is too much?

It is generally a mistake to look at any Church teaching in isolation. Yes, it’s nice to try to have a simple formula, but they often lead us morally astray.

For example, you are asking about quantity of food, but look at the definition above:

“Inordinate desire for the pleasure connected with food or drink.”

Even if you keep portions small, you could still spend lavishly on meals and make them too central to your life…

Obviously, we almost all take joy in nourishment and shared meals are a blessing. Jesus bonded with the apostles that way and we share a communal meal at Mass even today. So clearly the point is not to hate food.

So what is the point? A good place to start is asking yourself why is gluttony a sin to begin with?

The simplest formula for the Catholic faith is the Two Commandments of Love. Loving God and Loving Others. Think about gluttony in those terms.

If you are indulging yourself to excess, you are thinking of yourself, not others. You are also treated a great gift from God, your life, shabbily. But something that is easy to overlook is that your excess is almost always at someone else’s expense.

In the 1st century, food insecurity was very real to Jesus’ audience. So a glutton was, literally, taking food from the hungry mouth of another. But this is still true today. In the US, our unhealthy diet relies more on animal products than is historically healthy. Most cultivation goes to feeding livestock. This actually comes at the expense of poorer nations and farmers. And, even in a nation with an obesity epidemic, children go to bed hungry.

My point in all this is that the best way to avoid gluttony is to focus on two things, respecting your own life and health - it is among the greatest of the gifts we receive, and spend at least part of that life thinking about and working for those who lack. Look at the example of Jesus. He was somewhat dismissive of all the food and cleanliness aspects of Mosaic law, but put great emphasis on ministering to the poor and sick. And St. Paul probably walked about 20,000 miles evangelizing the faith to the gentiles, which was both good for their spiritual health and his cardiovascular fitness… :wink:

Pax Christi

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