Gluttony - the wasting of food, either through overindulgence (food, drink or intoxicants), the misplaced
desire for food for its sensuality, or the withholding of food from the needy.
Middle English gromandise, from Latin gluttire, to swallow, to gulp down.
The teachings about the preoccupation with food or thoughts about food are considered the mother of all teachings in
the spiritual life. It is considered a good place for a beginner to start even though it might take a life time of struggle.
When food becomes the dominant thought, it becomes the center of the interior life. These dominant thoughts about food always
return back to a preoccupation with self. The lessening of the grip of thoughts about food increases our level of consciousness
and the self talks to the self about food less. Some people are not preoccupied by food or never have been preoccupied by
food or thoughts about food. They have other thoughts to work on.
The desert monks and hermits believed that many things
are good including food. We are given many things for their use, enjoyment, appreciation. The monks also tell us that many
things mediate holiness. Learning detachment from things unburdens us. It takes time. The monastic focus is that "God alone
satisfies." Nobody including monks walk this journey perfectly or understand it the same way. It is hoped that God will remove
our ambition and replace it with resolve. This is a journey of passages with no clear before and after point for most of us.
St. John of the Cross, in his work "The Dark Night of the Soul" (I, vi), dissects what he calls spiritual gluttony.
He explains that it is the disposition of those who, in prayer and other acts of religion, are always in search
of sensible sweetness; they are those who "will feel and taste God, as if he were palpable and accessible to them not only
in Communition but in all their other acts of devotion." This he declares is a very great imperfection and productive of great