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#391500 - 02/25/13 01:43 AM Gluttony??
Irish_Ruthenian Offline
Member

Registered: 11/29/11
Posts: 264
Loc: Virginia USA
This was posted over at a Roman Catholic site I frequent.

Quote:
Made a lovely eggplant parmesan with a side of spaghetti (you can all be jealous!), and after I was full, I kept eating because it was that good! I knew I should have stopped, but I kept taking more, and now my stomach hurts.

I'm not being scrupulous about it--just wondering if this is enough to dive into the "gluttony" category, or if this one time of eating too much isn't a big deal.


Here is one answer that was given:

Quote:

Yes it was a gluttony. Not, as an individual instance, a mortal sin (it only becomes a mortal sin when it turns you away from God as your last end, as say in drunkeness where you lose your moral capacities)

Remember the medieval verse on gluttony
praepropere, laute, nimis, ardenter, studiose

præpropere, which means eating before one should, at improper times. Sometimes translated hastily.

laute, sumptuously or richly. This would be inordinate attachment to rich or fine foods. Eating lobster and filet mignon all the time. We should at times eat rich food, say at a wedding, and other times eat modest food, say during Lent?

nimis, too much. This one is the obvious one and sadly the only one people tend to think of.

ardenter- eagerly. Someone who eats too fast, just rushes through eating. Leaving aside forcing yourself to eat fast because you are late to work, generally people who eat too greedily do so because of an inordinate pleasure attached to eating, or swallowing rather (if it were the pleasure of taste that you were most attached to, you would savor the food, and eat more slowly, but the pleasure of the gullet is at work too)

stuiose, daintily, or with too much attachment to how the food is prepared. This is gluttony in respect to the preparation of food. Someone who must always have the best prepared dishes, is a glutton because he is inordinately attached to the pleasures of taste. One need observe due mode here. A well prepared dinner is fitting say on your birthday, not so much on Good Friday for your one meal.


Here's my question. Is the person answering the question being rather technical to a fault with the answer, or is this something legitimate?

How would you Eastern Catholic and Orthodox on this board respond to the original question?

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#391503 - 02/25/13 02:30 AM Re: Gluttony?? [Re: Irish_Ruthenian]
Paul B Offline
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Registered: 11/11/01
Posts: 1736
Loc: PA
The reply certainly is complete. Eastern conscience would ask itself about one's own situation, intent, and conditions.

Gluttony is something that we should be aware of, especially as Americans are generally overweight.

One who is gluttonous may also tend to be lustful, covetous and selfish. It is good to do a periodic, even daily examination of conscience.

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#391522 - 02/25/13 02:35 PM Re: Gluttony?? [Re: Irish_Ruthenian]
Thomas the Seeker Offline
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Registered: 04/24/09
Posts: 996
Loc: PA
Aye, first section of the prayer of St. Ephraim serves well for that purpose.

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#391545 - 02/26/13 03:23 AM Re: Gluttony?? [Re: Paul B]
Anastasia13 Offline
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Registered: 02/08/13
Posts: 87
Loc: North America
Originally Posted By: Paul B
The reply certainly is complete. Eastern conscience would ask itself about one's own situation, intent, and conditions.

Gluttony is something that we should be aware of, especially as Americans are generally overweight.

One who is gluttonous may also tend to be lustful, covetous and selfish. It is good to do a periodic, even daily examination of conscience.


Is it gluttony for a low weight (near underweight) person to indulge in tasty food?

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#391548 - 02/26/13 03:53 AM Re: Gluttony?? [Re: Irish_Ruthenian]
Slavipodvizhnik Offline
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Registered: 07/23/05
Posts: 2779
Loc: The Third Rome
It depends. Are you eating for the sensual enjoyment of it or are you eating high caloric foods to maintain your weight. Intent is pivotal.

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#391554 - 02/26/13 05:10 AM Re: Gluttony?? [Re: Slavipodvizhnik]
Anastasia13 Offline
Member

Registered: 02/08/13
Posts: 87
Loc: North America
Originally Posted By: Slavipodvizhnik
It depends. Are you eating for the sensual enjoyment of it or are you eating high caloric foods to maintain your weight. Intent is pivotal.

Ok, let's assume that the person does not like eating sometimes and would happily slip to a BMI of underweight sometimes if not eating for enjoyment. How does one manage that?


Edited by Anastasia13 (02/26/13 05:10 AM)

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#391555 - 02/26/13 05:25 AM Re: Gluttony?? [Re: Irish_Ruthenian]
Slavipodvizhnik Offline
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Registered: 07/23/05
Posts: 2779
Loc: The Third Rome
OK, without getting too legalistic here, and not knowing your medical history, if, on your current regime, your BMI slips to 17 or so, you need to change your eating habits. If we're talking about a BMI of 10, that's a whole other ball game, and your spiritual father would limit your fasting from food. The best advice I can give you is to speak to your spiritual father about this. Inform him of your predisposition and he will handle it accordingly.

When people ask about gluttony, it is usually the other way around, and this is what I usually provide. It's written for monks, but the spirit of the law is here:

Combating the Passion of Gluttony

When we are before food at table we are faced at some point with this choice: to stop eating or to continue. That is the point at which we experience the temptation to gluttony. We may want to continue to eat because the food is tasty, or because we want to continue to fill our belly. Usually, at the point that we are faced with the choice to stop eating or to continue, it is quite clear to us why we want to keep eating. As we have already said in another post, there are two aspects to gluttony: the desire for tasty food and the desire to fill our belly.

How do monks approach temperance in regard to food and drink?

First of all, in the Orthodox Church, monks do not eat meat. This custom, which goes back all the way to Fourth-Century Egypt, and is perhaps hinted at in the New Testament, is found even today in some of the more monastic congregations in the Roman Catholic Church, such as the Cistercians.

It should be obvious that abstention from meat changes the psychological ambience of the monastery in subtle ways. Monks are less aggressive, less sexually charged.

Next, the Orthodox Church has complex fasting rules, which require that on many days, the monk abstain from dairy products and fish, eating only vegetables cooked without oil. Mere adherence to the Church’s fasting rules brings about a change in the monk’s overall diet (and, indeed, in the diet of the lay person who carefully follows those same rules).

In the coenobitical monastery, no great effort is made to put all the monks onto a severe fasting diet suitable for hermits. The coenobitical monastery is the training ground, and the diet in it is moderate in reflection of this.

However, some points can be made about the proper diet in a coenobitical monastery; these points can be taken as starting points for discussions of more ascetical diets.

The food should be edible. We once visited a non-Orthodox house that had—frankly—inedible food. They thought that this was being ascetical. They even had a sign that visitors should not insult the cooks by not eating from all of the foods. This is nonsense. This is false asceticism.

The food should be easy to digest. Monks should not be weighed down, especially before nightfall, with heavy, hard-to-digest meals. This prevents them from sleeping calmly and from getting up to say their prayers.

The food should not be spicy. Spices excite the sexual appetite. This rule can be moderated in cases where the food is fasting food and the lack of seasoning might make it completely inedible.

The food should be nutritious. It is true that in Fourth-Century Egypt, the monks ate once each day 12 ounces of dried wheat-bread (after soaking it), salt, a bit of olive oil and very little else (although they did supplement this diet with some fresh vegetables). But they had Grace to support them and were engaged in a very intense spiritual war. In the coenobium, with the reservations given above, the food should provide all the vitamins and proteins and so on that a person needs, especially for the type of work that he does in the monastery. It is only on the advice of his spiritual guide that the monk should begin to abstain from foods in such a way that he will begin to experience vitamin deficiencies and so on. This requires discernment, not foolhardiness. We have met monks who fasted by abstaining from nutritious foods but eating sweets. This is crazy. In Fourth-Century Egypt, ascetics did not abstain from all foods except pastries. Hence, it is important for the monk in the coenobium to eat from all the foods available on the table so as to have a balanced diet, and if the food is inedible or otherwise personally unappealing, he should discuss the matter with his spiritual guide so that the proper measures can be taken.

Needless to say, given the dual nature of gluttony, it will not do for the monk living close to the city to know all the best French and Chinese and Thai restaurants. That is not why he went to the monastery.

Monks drink wine. In moderation. Wine clouds the mind or nous, and the monk practising the Jesus Prayer twenty-four hours a day will find that any benefit he obtains from drinking a bit of wine is offset by the cloudiness that results to his mind from that wine. The monk praying the Jesus Prayer twenty-four hours a day is pursuing sobriety so as to be able to repel temptation at the stage of his own thought processes. This is not helped by wine, although wine admittedly has other benefits, such as strengthening the monk who is quite tired. An excess of alcoholic beverages excites the sexual appetite.

On great feast days, the meals in the monastery are appropriate to the feast (for example fish is served on all feast days of the Lord and his Mother), without for all that being occasions for ‘pigging out’, or, God forbid, drunkenness.

We were once visiting a monastery with someone who had never visited a monastery before. He was struck by the courtesy shown us when, after the evening meal and Apodeipnon (complines), a senior monk of the monastery served us coffee and a biscuit and stayed with us for conversation. Our companion remarked: ‘It was very courteous of them to serve us coffee, but you could tell from the lightness of the refreshment that, underneath it all, this is a very ascetical monastery.’

Finally, one of the beginning points of monastic temperance is not to snack between meals (unless the doctor orders it). This is what is meant by the reference in the catechism of the Vows of the Great Schema to ‘secret eating’. ‘Secret eating’ is eating outside of meals without permission. There is no point to eating little in the meal in the refectory if you then snack outside of meals. You are just pretending to yourself, perhaps also to others—unless the doctor orders it. In the coenobium, this stricture against secret eating is often tempered by there being a coffee room available to the monk where he can make a coffee or tea at his pleasure and drink it with a rusk—and this without his having a guilty conscience.

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#391565 - 02/26/13 03:04 PM Re: Gluttony?? [Re: Irish_Ruthenian]
Paul B Offline
Member

Registered: 11/11/01
Posts: 1736
Loc: PA
Let us look at another perspective.

Instead of gluttony, one may have to ponder another type of disrespect for one's body. This bodily abuse is bulimia and anarexia. One may abuse the body by depriving it of nourishment. Even worse is bingeing on food in a gluttonous way, then purging it so as not to take in the calories.

Not saying this is applies to you, Anastasia, but it is a problem for girls who idolize thin models and is comparable to gluttony.

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#391577 - 02/26/13 09:22 PM Re: Gluttony?? [Re: Irish_Ruthenian]
chadrook Offline
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Registered: 07/28/08
Posts: 368
Loc: Kansas
"The great attraction of gluttony is not necessarily concerned with the large quantities of food, but in the temptation to have just a little taste. But if the wish for a taste succeeds in making you a slave to gluttony. The Evil One can then give you up utterly to destruction." St. John Climacus

"There are two kinds of gluttony. One is when a man seeks food that pleases him and does not always want to eat very much, but wishes to eat only what pleases his palette. Another is when a man is overcome by a tendency to eat much...He only wants to eat and eat, not minding what the food may be, only caring to fill his belly." St. Dorotheus

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#391585 - 02/26/13 11:44 PM Re: Gluttony?? [Re: chadrook]
Alice Offline
Moderator
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Registered: 01/12/03
Posts: 10891
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: chadrook

"There are two kinds of gluttony. One is when a man seeks food that pleases him and does not always want to eat very much, but wishes to eat only what pleases his palette. Another is when a man is overcome by a tendency to eat much...He only wants to eat and eat, not minding what the food may be, only caring to fill his belly." St. Dorotheus


Wow...then I think that I can safely say that perhaps most of us fit either one or other of these descriptions? Lord have mercy!

The funny thing is that I once tried to confess that I eat too much on occasion (aka: pig outs) to a monastic Elder...and I don't know why (maybe because I don't look it-- I am normal body weight), but he just smiled softly and didn't even pay attention to it, as if it was not really a sin I needed to worry about (?) confused

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#391620 - 02/27/13 11:36 PM Re: Gluttony?? [Re: Alice]
Irish_Ruthenian Offline
Member

Registered: 11/29/11
Posts: 264
Loc: Virginia USA
Well, I guess I have been a glutton all my life. I enjoy eating, I like food that is well made and tasty, and I eat my fill.

Why is it that we have been given bodies and then we find that they are not our friend, but our enemy? If the body is to be resurrected, one wonders that the only way to obtain holiness is to disrespect the body, beat it down, and almost destroy it.

I'm sorry. I just don't get it.

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#391624 - 02/28/13 12:40 AM Re: Gluttony?? [Re: Irish_Ruthenian]
Administrator Offline

John
Member

Registered: 11/02/01
Posts: 6250
Loc: Virginia
Q: Why is it that we have been given bodies and then we find that they are not our friend, but our enemy?

A: Our mortality and all that goes with it is our inheritance from Adam.

Q: If the body is to be resurrected, one wonders that the only way to obtain holiness is to disrespect the body, beat it down, and almost destroy it.

A: Fasting in no way is a disrespect to our bodies. The purpose of fasting is to break us from our slavery to food (and the world) and to help us take control of ourselves so that we may focus on the Lord.

Matthew 4:1-4 - Then Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards he was hungry. And the tempter coming said to him: If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God.

Matthew 17:21 - [Jesus said:] But this kind is not cast out but by prayer and fasting.

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#391625 - 02/28/13 02:29 AM Re: Gluttony?? [Re: Administrator]
Irish_Ruthenian Offline
Member

Registered: 11/29/11
Posts: 264
Loc: Virginia USA
Originally Posted By: Administrator
Q: Why is it that we have been given bodies and then we find that they are not our friend, but our enemy?

A: Our mortality and all that goes with it is our inheritance from Adam.

Q: If the body is to be resurrected, one wonders that the only way to obtain holiness is to disrespect the body, beat it down, and almost destroy it.

A: Fasting in no way is a disrespect to our bodies. The purpose of fasting is to break us from our slavery to food (and the world) and to help us take control of ourselves so that we may focus on the Lord.

Matthew 4:1-4 - Then Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards he was hungry. And the tempter coming said to him: If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God.

Matthew 17:21 - [Jesus said:] But this kind is not cast out but by prayer and fasting.


Thank you for your reply. When I look at the lives of the saints and holy men and women of our faith, I see practices which make me think of beating down and destroying the body. And it seems that the only ones who receive special closeness from the Lord are those who treat the body with what seems to be contempt. Indeed, many of the ascetics of the early days of monasticism ruined their health by such excesses.

There also seems to be a strain of thinking in which the body is the enemy of holiness in regards to sexuality, which I find odd since marriage is a Sacrament and the Sacraments are defined as channels of God's grace. Yet a priest cannot partake of that Sacrament the night before he is to offer the Eucharist, and, of course, in the West, that Sacrament has been entirely dispensed of for priests.

I hope you can see my confusion on this issue. We are told that our bodies are good and they will be resurrected, yet those who draw closest to the Lord are those who treat the body with the most contempt (IMHO). Seems there's a disconnect somewhere in the equation.

Thank you once again for your response as well as any further enlightenment you may have for me.

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#391630 - 02/28/13 05:20 AM Re: Gluttony?? [Re: Irish_Ruthenian]
Administrator Offline

John
Member

Registered: 11/02/01
Posts: 6250
Loc: Virginia
The Lord is the Lord. He can draw us close to him even when the methods we are using to approach him are questionable. Fasting as a form of self-denial to rightly order our passions is a good thing. But taken to excess, to the point where they become an end in themselves or a threat to our health (etc.), they can become a barrier between us and the Lord. The same is true of most things in life.

Yes, some of the ascetics took things too far. The proper balance regarding health is to take proper care of yourself so that you can serve the Lord, but not to make taking care of yourself the center of your life (leaving no room for the Lord).

Everything has a time and a place. There is a time to partake and a time to fast. To put something away for awhile is not to say that it a bad thing.

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#391646 - 02/28/13 01:17 PM Re: Gluttony?? [Re: Irish_Ruthenian]
chadrook Offline
Member

Registered: 07/28/08
Posts: 368
Loc: Kansas
I don't know if I would say that some of the ascetics took things to far. They started with obedience to a spiritual father and then accordingly went on the road to apathia, or dispassion. Destruction of the body is a result of such labors.

I think I understand your point though. Are you addressing prelest?

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