Daily Reflection May 15 2008: Thursday the Sixth Week of Ordinary Time

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Collect of the Day:

We pray to you, Lord, the true Light and the creator of light.
May we keep our minds on what is holy
and live always in the brightness of your presence.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.

Today’s Readings:

The First Reading: James: 2:1-9: Did not God choose the poor? You however do not respect them.

The Gospel: Mark: 8:27-33: You are the Christ. The Son of Man must suffer many things.

The Seven Deadly Sins and the Seven Cardinal Virtues Part Seven: Gluttony.

Gluttony is an inordinate desire to consume more than that which one requires. St.Thomas Aquinas said in Summa Theologica of Gluttony:

“Gluttony denotes, not any desire of eating and drinking, but an inordinate desire… leaving the order of reason, wherein the good of moral virtue consists.”

As I stated in our lesson on Greed the Early Fathers of the Church regarded control of the stomach as being a key ability to constraining all other bodily passions. Nineteenth-century Russian Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov sums up the Early Fathers teachings in these words:

“Wise temperance of the stomach is a door to all the virtues. Restrain the stomach, and you will enter Paradise. But if you please and pamper your stomach, you will hurl yourself over the precipice of bodily impurity, into the fire of wrath and fury, you will coarsen and darken your mind, and in this way you will ruin your powers of attention and self-control, your sobriety and vigilance.”

St. Ignatius Loyola gives these following teachings form his Spiritual Exercises which also follow closely the reasonings of the Early Fathers:

“The seventh Rule, which should be carried out above all the rest, makes sure that ones whole mind is not taken up with the food they are eating. They should not be so carried away by their appetite that they eat their food very quickly. Let them be masters of themselves both in the way they eat and in the quantity that they eat.

The Eighth Rule is laid down so that they may overcome their desire for overeating. After dinner or after supper, or at any other time when they do not feel hungry, they should decide how much food will be eaten at the next meal. They must do this every day and plan how much to eat rather than give in to their appetite or give in to temptation. They should eat less rather than more when they are tempted to indulge themselves in overeating.”

So far all of our discussion on Gluttony has been in regards to food and its intake, but it is entirely within the bounds of reason to be Gluttonous in other areas of our lives as well. Most of us would have heard of the saying ‘A glutton for punishment’. It is possible also to be a glutton for attention, a glutton for love, a glutton for success, a glutton for monetary stability and the list could go on.

Gluttony well mostly being an individual sin can also be corporate, or even National. As we also mentioned in our discussion on Greed the richest 20% of humanity consumes 86% of all goods and services, while the poorest fifth consumes 1.3%! As we can see this type of Gluttony can lead to many social sins and injustices. Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote during the period of Apartheid in South Africa:

” I come from a beautiful land, richly endowed by God with wonderful resources, wide expanses, rolling mountains, singing birds, bright shining stars out of blue skies, with radiant sunshine, golden sunshine. God’s bounty: there is enough for everyone, but Apartheid has confirmed some in their selfishness, causing them to grasp greedily a disproportionate share, the lion’s share, because of their power.” ( The Words of Desmond Tutu, Hodder Spire, 1989 ).

So is Gluttony a serious sin in the eyes of God? I will leave you with the Word of God as given through the Prophet Amos and let you decide:

” Hear this word, O house of Israel, this lament I take up concerning you:

You trample on the poor
and force him to give you grain.
Therefore, though you have built stone mansions,
you will not live in them;
though you have planted lush vineyards,
you will not drink their wine.

For I know how many are your offenses
and how great your sins.
You oppress the righteous and take bribes
and you deprive the poor of justice in the courts.

Therefore the prudent man keeps quiet in such times,
for the times are evil.

Seek good, not evil,
that you may live.
Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you,
just as you say he is.

Hate evil, love good;
maintain justice in the courts.
Perhaps the LORD God Almighty will have mercy
on the remnant of Joseph.

Therefore this is what the Lord, the LORD God Almighty, says:
“There will be wailing in all the streets
and cries of anguish in every public square.
The farmers will be summoned to weep
and the mourners to wail.

There will be wailing in all the vineyards,
for I will pass through your midst,”
says the LORD.

The Day of the LORD

Woe to you who long

for the day of the LORD!
Why do you long for the day of the LORD ?
That day will be darkness, not light.

It will be as though a man fled from a lion
only to meet a bear,
as though he entered his house
and rested his hand on the wall
only to have a snake bite him.

Will not the day of the LORD be darkness, not light—
pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?

“I hate, I despise your religious feasts;
I cannot stand your assemblies.

Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them.
Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,
I will have no regard for them.

Away with the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.

But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5:1. 11-24)


Msgr Ian+

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