GLUTTONY AND TEMPERANCE
the study of Leroe (2012) People have sometimes misunderstood what Gluttony is.
Sometimes, they pertained that it is about eating a lot and the people who are
overweight. It is not only about overeating. It is the taking excessive
pleasure in any substances or activity. People live to eat, but sometimes
people it to live.
Rushman (2004) stated that gluttony
is about wanting pleasure from something than it was made for. Demanding too
much from people even excessive desire for other people’s time, attention or
presence. He added that the world is full of good things, but a person must be
responsible for his/her actions. Normally, we eat food but back then on the
Ancient Rome, people wanted more pleasure so they threw up after the meal and
ate more. Which allowed them to enjoy what they are doing that lead them at the
cost of health and dignity.
Since gluttony is an excessive
pleasure in any substance or activity, it can be also correlated to people’s
attention. People who make demands of other people’s time can be classified as
glutton. Far worse is when a parent demands too much from a child, requiring
too much time or too many accomplishments from someone too small to grant so
many pleasures. Even pets get excessive attention at times, but they don’t seem
to mind as much.
In relationship, if one person
desires other’s company constantly, to the point that the other cannot
prioritize a job or to continue a school then they possess the sin too. Even in
marriage, if the couple tend to be so obsessed in sex to the point they forget
to take care of their own children can be classified possessing the sin of the
flesh. In Christianity, it is considered a sin if the excessive desire for food
causes it to be withheld from the needy
Since gluttony is generally a sin of
the flesh, the flesh limits it. In addition to the study of Rushman, consuming
much food or drink in our body, most of the time we gain weight or illness. And
if we demand to much time to people, the tendency is they will fly from us and
we will be alone more often.
I. GLUTTONY IN RELIGION
Judaism, according to the list of their 613 commandments, they must keep
according to the Rambam, gluttony or excessive eating or drinking is
prohibited. It is listed as #169: “Not to eat or drink like a glutton or a
drunkard (not to rebel against father or mother)”. (Gesenius, 2014)
A. ST. GREGORY THE GREAT
But we will more focus on
Catholicism. Church leaders from the ascetic Middle ages studied so they can
more elaborate the view of gluttony. St. Gregory the Great described the ways
which one can commit gluttony and exampled some biblical situation in each of
before the time of meals in order to satisfy the palate.”
Jonathan is eating a
little honey, when Saul, his father commanded him no food to be taken before the
for better quality of sweets or food to satisfy your vile sense of taste.”
When Israelites escapes
from Egypt, they complained who give them flesh to eat. They remember the fish
that they ate in Egypt freely; the cucumbers and the melons, the leeks and the
onions and the garlic. Then God rained fowls for them to eat but to be punished
them 500 years later.
to stimulate the sense of taste with overly or elaborately prepared food (e.g
with luxurious sauces and seasonings.)
Two sons of Eli the High
priests made the sacrificial meat to be cooked in one manner rather than another.
They met death.
the necessary amount of food.”
One of the sins of Sodom
was the fullness of bread.
food with too much eagerness even you are eating the proper amount, and even if
the food is not luxurious.”
Esau was selling his birthright to be
exchange for food which is an ordinary bread and pottage of lentils. His
punishment was the profane person who for a morsel of meat sold his birthright.
He learned there is no place for repentance though he sought it carefully with tears.
St. Gregory added that the fifth is
worse and the all others. Because it shows what are your capabilities in
exchange for a certain material just to achieve the pleasure that the flesh
wanted. To summarize, St. Gregory the Great said that one may succumb to sin of
asserts that the irregular desire is the sin and not the food.
it is not the food, but the desire that is in fault.”
ST. THOMAS AQUINAS
In the book of St. Thomas, Summa
Theologica (Question 148, Article 5), he renewed the list of five ways to
1. Laute – eating
food that is exotic or luxurious
2. Studiouse – eating
food that is overly prepared
3. Nimis – eating
food that is too much beyond the proper quantity
4. Praepropere – eating
too soon or at an improper time
5. Ardenter –
Aquinas concluded that gluttony denotes inordinate desire in eating. The first
to the food itself while the last two is related on the manner of eating. He
added that the temperance from food and drink overcomes the sin of gluttony. In
general, fasting is useful to restrain desires of the flesh.
ST. ALPHONSUS LIGOURI
St. Alphonsus wrote the following
which explains what gluttony is. He quoted:
“Pope Innocent XI has condemned the proposition
which asserts that it is not a sin to eat or to drink from the sole motive of
satisfying the palate. However, it is not a fault to feel pleasure in eating:
for it is, generally speaking, impossible to eat without experiencing the
delight which food naturally produces. But it is a defect to eat, like beasts,
through the sole motive of sensual gratification, and without any reasonable
object. Hence, the most delicious meats may be eaten without sin, if the motive
be good and worthy of a rational creature; and, in taking the coarsest food
through attachment to pleasure, there may be a fault.”
II. PASSAGES IN THE BIBLE ABOUT THE
SIN OF GLUTTONY
the bible, the version of King James there are some passages that mentioned the
sin of gluttony. The following are:
21:20 – “And
they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and
rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
– “Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: For the
drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a
man with rags.”
– “When thou sittest to eat with a
ruler, consider diligently what is before thee. And put a knife to thy throat,
if thou be a man given to appetite.”
25:16 – “Hast thou
found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled
therewith, and vomit it.”
7:33-35 (and parallel account in Matthew 11:18-19) – “For John the Baptist came neither
eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil. The Son `of man is come eating and drinking; and ye
say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and
sinners! But wisdom is justified of all her children.”
to the Book of Dante Alighieri’s 4th century epic poem Divine
Comedy, he said that after defeating Cleopatra and descending down from the
circle of lust, Dante journeys to the next circle which is Gluttony. The circle
is populated mostly by gluttonous demons, great landscapes made of living organs,
violent storms, mud, piles of human waste and gorger worms with insatiable
this said circle are those who are punished for their over-indulged in food,
drink and addictions in the world above, placing such things above them
including their fellow mean, forced to slosh around forever around forever in
the vile much that makes up the most circle. There, Dante must defeat the great
worm Cerberus, a massive stomach three worm-like heads protruding from an open
In the medieval times of Pope
Gregory I in 590 AD, the Christian constructed the perceptions of sins or vices
long predates Christianity. They came up with the list of deadly sins and said
the worst of the sins was pride because it was what all bred all other sins. The
punishment for the sin of gluttony is to be force fed in rats, toads and
The seven deadly sins have gripped
the popular imagination of people over the centuries. They have found their way
in works of literature. Since then, they have been the subjects of plays, films
and books. Way back in 1995, the movie “Seven” portrayed the seven deadly sins.
The sin gluttony may be associated
nowadays to humans. Because we are sometimes over indulged and already well
adapted in the materialistic world we tend to forget the real purpose of our
stay here in earth. We commit sins that is against the moral law of our God.
This actions might lead us to the destruction of our own society and the world
we are living.
most important thing to overcome the sins is to have faith in what you believe.
No matter what consequence or exchange to something, we must have a dignity in
order for us to overcome it.
Joel (2011) Temperance is described
as moderation or voluntary self-control. Typically, it is described in terms of
what and individual refrains from doing. It includes restraints from
retaliation in form of non-violence and forgiveness, restraint from arrogance
in the form of humility and modesty, from excesses such as splurging now in the
form of prudence, and lastly, restraint from excessive anger or craving for
something in the form of calmness and self-control.
Delany (1912) it is considered that
temperance is one of the four cardinal values. It may signify as a righteous
habit which makes a man contain his self-control over pleasures of the senses
in accordance with the norm prescribed by the reason. It may also be regarded
as a characteristic of all the moral virtues; the moderation it enjoins is
central to each of them.
It is also considered as special virtue
according to St. Thomas (II-II:141:2). Hence, it is the virtue which bridles
concupiscence or which controls the yearning for pleasures and delights which
most powerfully attract the human heart. Under this aspect temperance has
has been described as the virtue of religious thinkers, philosophers and
psychologists. Especially in the positive psychology movement. In the classical
iconography, the virtue is visualized often as a woman holding two vessels in
transferring water from one to another. Greek philosophy and Christianity was
one of the cardinal virtues in western thought found as well as eastern
tradition such as Buddhism and Hinduism.
Peterson (2004) said that temperance
is one classified in the positive psychology including:
are generally characterized as the control over excess of the three said
the Eightfold Path, temperance is an essential part. The
third and fifth of the five precepts (pañca-sila)
reflect values of temperance: “misconduct
concerning sense pleasures” and drunkenness are to be avoided.
is equivalent to the concept of dama
(Sanskrit) in Hinduism. The word dama
and Sanskrit derivative words based on it, connote the concepts of
self-control. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad,
in verse 5.2.3, it states that three characteristics of a good, developed
person are self-restraint (damah), compassion and love for all sentient life
(daya), and charity (daana). In Hinduism literature dedicated to yoga,
self-restraint is expounded with the concept of yamas (Sanskrit). According to ?a?sampad, self-restraint (dama) is one of
the six cardinal virtues.
in action, thought or feeling restraint is the Greeks definition of temperance.
Plato advocated that temperance is the major Athenian virtue. Self-restraint (sôphrosune) is one of his core virtues
of the ideal city imitated by Aristotle in other ways. According to Aristotle,
temperance is a mean with regard to pleasures. Plato added that the one who
possess “sophrusune” is defined in four ways:
One who has quietness
One who has modesty
One who does his own business
One who knows himself
quickly dismisses the three first definitions and argues against (4) that if “sophrosune”
would have been only the property of knowing what one knows or not then it
would be useless without knowledge about matters.
In the tradition of
Judeo-Christians, temperance is prolific. The temperance is emphasized as a
core virtue in the Old Testament, as evidenced in both Solomon’s Book of
Proverbs and in the Ten Commandments, with its counsel against adultery and
covetousness. While the New Testament does so as well, with forgiveness being
central to theology and self-control being one of the Fruits of the Spirit.
Concerning to Christian theology,
the word temperance is used by the King James Version in Galatians 5:23 for the
Greek work enkrateia which means self-control
or discipline. While Thomas Aquinas promotes Plato’s original virtues in
addition to several others. In Christianity, temperance is just all about
self-control that is applied to all areas of life. A virtue that moderates
attraction and desire for pleasure and provides balance in the use of created
II. BUILDING TEMPERANCE
Surrender Self- Righteousness
The first technique is
to give up your attachments of being always right. Right in your opinions,
judgements or interpretations. You already know how it feels inside. You may
feel flushed or indignant, defensive or martyred when confronted with varying
opinions. In this, you can release yourself and feel the truth about it.
Renouncing being right in regard to the future and monitor yourself.