Church Fathers, Day 274: St. Gregory the Great says to use God’s gifts in moderation

Use God’s gifts in moderationFasting is good, as St. Gregory the Great told a congregation getting ready for Lent. But we abstain from good things for the sake of better things. We must not insult the Creator by supposing, like the Manichean heretics, that the food he created is evil in itself.Let us beware of the Adversary’s wiles, not only in the enticements of the palate, but also when we decide to abstain. For he who knew how to bring death on mankind through food also knows how to … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 273: Palladius of Galatia wants us to be reasonably moderate

Be reasonably moderateSome people swear off wine altogether—for reasons of pride, says Palladius of Galatia. That’s far worse than drinking wine moderately. If you make reason rather than pride your rule, you will never fall into sin. Palladius, by the way, had spent years with the desert fathers surviving on water and a few ounces of bread a day, so he earned the right to talk about moderation.Play the man then, I implore you, and do not increase your wealth. You have already adopted t … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 272: St. Leo the Great says control your body, and set your soul free


Control your body, and set your soul freeYour soul needs to take control of your body, says St. Leo the Great. By suppress­ing your bodily desires, you give yourself more time for meditation and prayer.Everyday experience, dear friends, proves that overindulgence of the flesh blunts the edge of the mind. Too much food dulls the strength of the heart. So the delights of eating work against even bodily health, unless we resist the temptation with reasonable moderation, and unless … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 271: St. John Cassian says gluttony brings you down to earth

Gluttony brings you down to earthThe abbot Serapion tells St. John Cassian that we can see what gluttony is like by watching the flight of the beautiful and noble eagle.We can make an admirable illustration of the passion of gluttony—with which a monk, however spiritual and excellent, is sure to be hampered—if we compare it to the eagle.For the eagle soars above the highest clouds in its flight high in the sky, and withdraws itself from the eyes of all mortals and from the face of t … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 270: St. John Cassian reminds us that the opposite of gluttony is moderation

The opposite of gluttony is moderationYou’re never too sick or weak to be virtuous, says St. John Cassian. To avoid gluttony, eat to keep yourself healthy, not to satisfy every craving.So it is very true and most excellent what the Fathers have said: that the right way to fast and abstain is found in moderation and controlling the body. This, they say, is the goal of perfect virtue for everyone: that, although we still have the desire for food, we exercise self-restraint in the food t … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 269: St. Clement of Alexandria want us to be moderate and give thanks

Be moderate and give thanksYou don’t have to starve yourself to be a Christian, says St. Clement of Alex­andria. If you’re at a gourmet feast, eat moderately, show respect for your hosts, and give thanks to God.We don’t have to keep away entirely from various kinds of food. We just shouldn’t be obsessed with them. We should eat what’s set before us, as becomes a Christian, showing respect for our host by a harmless and moderate participation in the party. We should look at the luxury of … [Read more...]