Why is it so Hard to Stop Eating Mud?

Why is it so Hard to Stop Eating Mud? May 19, 2023

Boy Plays in Dirt
Playing in the Dirt – Photo by A. Laflamme

While watching my 1.5 year old son this week, I paused and asked myself, “Why is it so hard to stop eating mud?”

Our boy is not necessarily a picky eater. Yet, his preferences (or lack there of) can go a little too far at times. Here is a list of things I have had to ask him not to eat or drink:

  • Crayons
  • Bath bubbles/water
  • Diaper creams, lotions, or anything in a tube
  • Crumbs that I am actively sweeping
  • Dirt, acorns, nature, etc.
  • and most recently, a puddle of mud

Most of this seemed like normal stuff for his age, but the last one made me really think “Why is that attractive? It’s not good for you!”

Why is it so Hard to Stop Eating Mud?

As I said this to myself, I thought of all the things in my life that aren’t good for me: procrastination, short temper, too much phone use?

This can apply to any sin, any time we choose anything other than God – especially those things that we confess over and over again. We all have our mud that we just can’t resist trying to eat.

For these things I ask the same question, “Why is it so hard to stop eating the mud?!” There is nothing good for my soul in these things, yet I return to them.

The Mud – Concupiscence

St. Louis de Montfort discusses concupiscence when explaining how to recognize the Spirit of the World so that we can remove it from our lives.

It [Spirit of the World] manifests itself by the concupiscence of the flesh, by the concupiscence of the eyes and by the pride of life. By disobedience to God’s laws and the abuse of created things.

– St. Louis de Montfort – True Devotion to Mary

We have been cleansed from original sin at baptism. We are forgiven from sin when we go to confession. Yet, our tendency to sin remains.

St. Paul also sums up concupiscence nicely in Romans.

For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me.”

Romans 7:19-20 (NRSVCE)

Intent Matters

What I notice in St. Paul’s quote is that there are times where we sin even against our own desires. This intention matters. In the intention can lie the difference between an offense that is venial or mortal sin.

My little guy is just that, a little kid. He is so innocent.

While I should still teach him to act correctly, I don’t feel overly concerned. It would be a different story if he were to be fully aware and fully consenting that he was disobeying me, and he still ate the mud. Then I would likely be offended, though never beyond repair.

We are Children too

God can speak to us through our interactions with others. In this moment with my son, what is God trying to say?

How does God look at me when I return to the mud in my life?

I pray that more awareness of my own failings will help me to be more patient with my kids. I can try to guide him towards better things, but like me, he won’t be perfect.

In turn, we can imagine that God sees us as his little children asking, “Why?” while understanding our concupiscence,

Because while we are spiritually little, it is really not easy to stop eating the mud.


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