For the next seven weeks, I want to take a closer look at the seven capital sins. My goal in doing so is to primarily understand how each sin can be manifested in our lives, and most importantly, to highlight the virtues which will guide our path to holiness.
First of all, let’s define a capital sin. These are considered deadly because they are the root of all our sinful behavior. Just as a root holds a plant or tree securely in the ground, these sins also have roots that secure—or even disguise—our sins. Furthermore, they can be entangled in other sins which makes it even more difficult to “root them out.” Being able to identify the manifestations of the capital sins will help you recognize your own inclinations toward sin so you may discover the path to conversion.
Gluttony is an overindulgence in food and drink.
While it can be easy to identify this as eating and drinking excessively, it really isn’t that simple. St. Thomas Aquinas taught that it could be manifested in five ways: Too soon, too expensively, too much, too eagerly, too fastidiously.
The overindulgence can happen by eating and drinking:
- too soon between drinks, meals, snacks.
- Too expensively by always requiring the finest or highest quality.
- Too fastidiously that is being too precise or picky about the food or drink.
Why are these distinctions helpful to consider? They are indicators to alert you of an area in need of change. But also, to prevent this sin from becoming a vice and leading to a dullness of sense which obstructs the Spirit’s gift of understanding the mysteries of faith. You are more and more preoccupied with satisfying your inordinate desire for food and drink and a desire for a relationship with God is lacking.
The virtues related to temperance and prudence can assist in moderating these desires. Prudence is right reason in action and can aid in choosing to be moderate.
Interestingly enough studies on the brain have proven that a balanced and moderate lifestyle is a formula for a healthy mind. As we begin the liturgical season of Lent, take a moment to pause and reflect upon how you regulate the consumption of food and drink. And most importantly, check yourself to see if you have allowed this sin to dull your senses to the marvelous revelation of God’s mysteries.