For some, abrupt weight loss is a dream. Shedding pounds could take a lot of physical effort and a strict diet. Well for me, I easily achieved it because of scrupulosity! Yes, you read it right. Religious OCD forced me to lose weight through the fear of gluttony. This sin is particularly difficult because there is no exact parameter on how one could commit it. And as scrupulous, uncertainty triggers doubt thus, resulting in a partial or total avoidance. This time of eating. If you are having trouble munching your favorite dishes because of guilt, this gluttony guide is for you.
Before we dig deep, let’s discuss first what is the sin of gluttony.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
CCC 1849 “Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as “an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law.”
CCC 1866 “Vices can be classified according to the virtues they oppose, or also be linked to the capital sins which Christian experience has distinguished, following St. John Cassian and St. Gregory the Great. They are called capital because they engender other sins, other vices. They are pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth or acedia.”
Despite the term “gluttony” being implicitly and explicitly stated in the first and second paragraphs respectively, for scrupulous, this could still be room for doubts.
The common questions I had before were, how many servings of this viand should I get? how many cups of rice should I eat? Have I committed gluttony?
I just did not know how to measure my food intake to qualify my act as gluttony.
This resulted in extreme fear of eating. I couldn’t eat well because I knew after the meal, my mind would convince me that I committed a sin.
To clear this subjective topic, I talked to the 2 personalities of the Redemptorist, a Congregation that ministers to scrupulous individuals, a priest, and a religious brother, to know their perception of gluttony.
According to Fr. JM, CSsR, gluttony is an excessive desire for food. It is when one continues to eat despite being full. Devouring the food a body cannot even handle anymore.
While Bro. Rey, CSsR, highlighted the first sentence of CCC, No. 1849 “it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods“. That gluttony is a sin not just because of the pleasure but also of an irrational desire to acquire food neglecting the others. He also added that it is a form of greediness and self-control is a must.
What is considered gluttony?
It is an excessive desire for food to the point that you neglect God and others. Glutton is focused on acquiring food even though still full.
When is gluttony a mortal sin?
It must meet the criteria of mortal sin. It must be grave, done with full knowledge, and must be committed with deliberate consent.
Gluttony is in the 7 Capital sins so it is grave. The person should know that it is a sin, deliberately committing it.
To know if I am guilty of gluttony, I follow these guide questions.
- Was I full?
- Despite being full, did I still eat?
- Did I get food more than I can eat?
- Did I purposefully acquire more for myself neglecting the need of others?
If my answer to these questions is all yes, then I’d say, I committed gluttony.
How to confess gluttony?
You can state to your confessor the instance when you commit gluttony.
For scrupulous, there is a propensity of overthinking it. Do not get too concerned if you confessed it in a not detailed manner. It is enough to let your confessor know that you are guilty of gluttony.
How to avoid the fear of gluttony?
Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy can drastically help. Eat your meal until full. Do not include it in the list of your sins for confession. Repeat the process and in no time, you will recover. Although subjective in nature, breaking my obsession with this sin was the easiest. It made me want to throw up at first, but through time, I got exposed.
To help you, this Prayer Journal for Scrupulous has a Compulsion Tracker that can update you on the compulsions you overcame.
Gluttony is a sin one cannot just quantify easily. I, myself, still have a hard time contemplating if I am guilty of it in my examination of conscience. But, like I always said, trust your intention. Did you commit it to offend God? If not, do not fret. In case you are in doubt, if you committed it or not, consider it as not.
If you do not have Spiritual Director yet, I recommend you to have one. Here’s a guide to finding your Spiritual Director. It will help you to address your concerns not only on this sin but to other sins as well.
Additionally, if you are new to the disorder, here are some of the helpful resources you can get.
Again, you can defeat your fear in gluttony. We got this!
St. Dymphna, pray for us.