"Brothers and sisters: I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your nature… For the wages of sin is death…" Romans 6: 19a & 23a
Years ago the Lord showed me that I was putting food before Him. I would run to food when I was sad or lonely or mad. He wanted me to run to Him instead. So I went to confession and the priest said to me, "If that’s all you’ve got to confess, quit wasting my time." I know others who have been told the same thing. His comment weakened my resolve to try to control my eating, even though I knew I needed to change.
Often the "hunger" we experience isn’t for food, but for comfort or companionship or conversation. We don’t like the empty feelings, so we eat something to try to fill the emptiness. But food can’t satisfy that kind of longing, so all we do is gain more and more weight and we often we feel worse after eating because we weren’t really hungry.
Truly the wages of gluttony is death – we can kill our physical bodies, but also our sensitivity to the Spirit when our eating is out of control. Food is meant to fuel our bodies, but for many of us it has become an idol we worship. We don’t even think about it anymore; we just eat whatever we want whenever we want, and once we lose self-control in this area, it’s very hard to get it back. God doesn’t love us any less when we do this, but our quality of life and our self-esteem suffer. And when that happens, we aren’t as eager or able to live our lives to the full and to help build the kingdom. The good news is that it’s never too late to change and God will help us when we finally decide to obey Him rather than our flesh.
My point today is two-fold. First to our clergy – please listen when we need to confess the sin of gluttony – you can help us to get right with God in this area. And secondly, if you need to put food back in it’s proper place in your life, I encourage you to ask God to help you. Eat balanced meals, stay away from processed foods, drink plenty of water and find a buddy who you can be accountable to as you restore your temple. We can enjoy food without letting it control us. Let’s "eat to live, not live to eat."
Janice Carleton and her husband Jim live in Portland, OR and partner with Passionist Fr. Cedric Pisegna in Fr. Cedric Ministries. She is the mother of 4 grown children and grandmother of 6. Janice also leads women’s retreats and recently wrote her first book: God Speaks to Ordinary People – Like You and Me. Visit Janice’s website at http://www.janicecarleton.com/ or email her at [email protected].