Advice against other forms gluttony and intemperance

December 16, 2021 • 3 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 404
By Venerable Louis of Granada

Another evil against which I would warn you is dwelling upon the merits of certain dishes, and condemning others because they are not so delicate.

How unworthy it is of man to fix his mind and heart on eating and drinking with such eagerness that the burden of his conversation is on the excellent fish of such a river, the luscious fruit of such a country, and the fine wines of such a region!

This is a clear proof that he has lost sight of the true end of eating, which is to support nature, and that, instead of devoting to this work the senses destined for it, he debases his heart and his intelligence to make them also slaves of his gluttony.

Avoid with especial care all attacks upon your neighbor’s character. The malicious rapacity which prompts us to tear our neighbor’s reputation in pieces was justly condemned by St. John Chrysostom as a species of cannibalism: “Will you not be satisfied with eating the flesh of animals? Must you devour human flesh by robbing another of his good name?”

St. Augustine had so great a horror for this vice, from which so few tables are free, that he inscribed on the walls of his dining-room the following lines:

"This board allows no vile detractor place

Whose tongue will charge the absent with disgrace."

Still another point to which I wish to direct your attention is the warning given by St. Jerome, that it is better to eat moderately every day than to fast for several days and then to eat to excess. A gentle rain, he says, in proper season benefits the earth, but violent floods only devastate it.

Finally, let necessity, not pleasure, govern you in eating and drinking. I do not say that you must allow your body to want for nourishment. Oh! no; like any animal destined for the service of man, your body must be supported. All that is required is to control it, and never to eat solely for pleasure. We must conquer, not destroy, the flesh, says St. Bernard; we must keep it in subjection, that it may not grow proud, for it belongs to it to obey, not to govern.

This will suffice to show the importance of this virtue. But he who would learn more of the happy fruits of temperance, and its salutary effects not only upon the soul but even upon health, life, honor, and happiness, may read a special treatise on this subject which we have added to our book on Meditation and Prayer.

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