You’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 that we have to eat to support our bodies.
Even if you’re weak in body, you can still reach a perfect virtue equal to those who are perfectly strong and healthy, if—with a firm mind—you keep down those cravings and lusts that do not come from bodily weakness. For the Apostle says, “make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its lusts.” He does not prohibit us from caring for it in every way, but says only that we should not gratify its lusts. He cuts away our luxurious fondness for the flesh, but he does not exclude the control we need to live. He does not want us to pamper the flesh, and end up dangerously tangled in its desires. But he also does not want our bodies to be injured through our own fault, so that they would not be able to fulfill their spiritual and necessary duties. –St. John Cassian, Institutes, 5.8
IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
Do my eating habits support my spiritual life or interfere with it?
Lord, you never fail to provide my daily bread. Let the food I receive from heaven give me the strength to serve you and to come to the aid of all my brothers and sisters who are hungry.
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