Gluttony like killing seems like a pretty self-explanatory sin.I could see it being a sin to eat all the food meant for someone on a special diet,eating to the point of vomiting a/o wasting food but unlike killing and how we are not meant to “kill the spirit” I was wondering if there is a more abstract side to gluttony that not many are aware of.
As you grow as a Christian and seek to please God more in all that you do, God allows the veil to be lifted more as to your sinful nature so you may grow in humility. Read about the saints, living holy lives, yet quick to readily proclaim their sinfulness. Their spiritual sight is closer to 20/20 than ours. If you are absolutely blind or in the dark, you cannot see the dirt and dust in a room that is filthy. As the curtain is opened more fully and more light pours into the room, you can see the dirt and dust that needs to be removed. Once light is poured into the room as if it were noonday, all dirt and even dust floating in the air can easily be seen.
Now, as to gluttony. There is the mortal sin of gluttony, there is the venial sin of gluttony, and then there are imperfections regarding the sin of gluttony. I presume from the post that you are asking about imperfections because you imply knowing about the sin of gluttony. I will use a natural law example to make the point. God did not need to make us eat, He could have had us derive nourishment from the sun like a plant, yet He designed us to require daily nourishment for a purpose. Also, in His infinite goodness, He designed a pleasure associated along with eating. The purpose of eating is to derive the energy and nutrition to carry out our daily tasks and to maintain our health–that is it–nothing more. Any time you consume food for the pleasure you derive from it and not for the purpose for which it was designed–nutrition and giving God thanks for providing it–an imperfect act has been committed. Imperfections lead to venial sin, repeated venial sin leads to mortal sin. Imperfections are like the exit ramp, venial sin is the pot-holed, bumpy road traveled after taking the exit ramp, and mortal sin is going off the washed-out bridge at the end of the bumpy road. Any time reason is given a back-seat to bodily or even spiritual pleasures, imperfect actions are occurring.
Does this mean you cannot enjoy the pleasure derived from eating? Not at all–it pleases God to give good things to His children. There is a time and place. At the Cana wedding feast, Jesus turns water into wine. Obviously, the joyous occasion of a sacramental marriage is just cause to celebrate and enjoy wine–not for just its nutritional benefits–but to celebrate the occasion. Jesus was not advocating drunkenness or getting tipsy; well-formed human reason subject to God must always dictate every action. Many of the saints broke fasts because situations presented themselves for which hospitality to a guest was in order and took precedence. Penances are to mortify us–not those who know us. Once you have licked imperfections, then you can start focusing on the next level–performing every thought and action with the sole intention being for the love and honor of God. Hope this helps. Please pray for me, a sinner. Pax Christi.
Gluttony is not just about ‘stuffing your face’, it is also about greed in general; to persist in seeking more than you need or is your ‘fair share’.
Psychological conditions may lead to a compulsion to eat too much, to seek fleeting comfort in food, but it is only fleeting comfort - but thankfully God does take account of our mental and emotional state. That does not mean to say we can bask in complacency, though.
Any time you consume food for the pleasure you derive from it and not for the purpose for which it was designed–nutrition and giving God thanks for providing it–an imperfect act has been committed.
What a wonderfully helpful post! Of course, you have no idea how many times I’ve searched for the right ‘mind tool’ for the spiritual aspect of gluttony. I couldn’t figure out why I felt convicted for grabbing a handful of cookies or eating a cup of M&Ms. Where was the sin? I looked and looked…and just couldn’t find it.
Below is a link for OP that addresses other aspects of gluttony that may be helpful. While I found the article interesting and worth saving, it didn’t give me the one thing I needed - the clear, consise line of thinking that leaves no wiggle room for the rationalizer/justifier in my brain.
When it comes to the ‘wine’ Christ produced at Cana, I always saw it as “Holy Water” that the guests found superior to what they had been drinking, and not wine with alcoholic content. A ‘wine’ so delicious and soul-warming that no other man-made wine would ever satisfy them again. (Maybe they followed Jesus around to get another taste, and heard ‘Word sandwiches’ that were also strangely filling.)
Once you have licked imperfections, then you can start focusing on the next level–performing every thought and action with the sole intention being for the love and honor of God.
I’m not there yet, but I appreciate the reminder of, “There’s More!” so’s I don’t become complacent.
Best to All in Christ…
From what I understand gluttony includes three basic ideas:
It is wanting more pleasure from something than what it was originally created for. Food is the one we commonly think of, but the same could be said of watching TV for the whole day in todays society.
The idea that something has to be exactly the way we want it. This is an idea of delicacy that C.S. Lewis talked about. For example being overly fussy without being able to handle the minor discomforts of life (celebrities can be a good example for these).
There is a gluttony of a demanding an excess from a person if I remember. It is insisting on too much of a persons time to the point they neglect their duties. Similar to unhealthy clingy relationships.
I am not a theological expert, these are what I learned. Others will be able to expand more on this I am sure.