Whether or not Wasichu actually means "eaters of fat" or "the ones who take the fat," the myth of the meaning provides entry into today's brief exploration of Fr. Beck's book. The "eaters of fat" were those who were so all consuming that they ate at the expense of everyone else--immoderately and seemingly all-consuming, taking even the last, most precious of ther reserves.

from Soul Provider
Father Edward L. Beck

Gluttony, one of the seven deadly sins, can kill us not only physically, but spiritually as well. Saint John Climacus says: "Gluttony is hypocrisy of the stomach. Filled, it moans about scarcity; stuffed and crammed, it wails about hunger. Glutton thinks up seasonings, creates sweet recipes. Stop one urge and another bursts out; stop that one and you unleash yet another. Gluttony has a deceptive appearance: it eats moderately but wants to gobble everything at the same time."

The sin here is not only in the doing, it is is the inordinate desire even when the impulse is controlled.

I have a friend who has lost a large amount of weight; she has adhered especially closely to one particularly program of eating. She is justifiably pleased with how well she has done and she claims that food no longer possesses her. But in actual fact, it merely possesses her in a different way. Everything is oriented toward eating in this way--all thought is about the next meal or this meal and whether it conforms in every particular to the ideal. This isn't gluttony--but it is similar to how gluttony works. And gluttony, hasn't only to do with food. It has to do with any inordinate appetite for goods of any sort. Gluttony is when we rise from the breakfast table asking "What's for lunch."

A later quote from C.S. Lewis in Father Beck's book makes the point more clearly:

"Anyone who has watched gluttons shoveling down the most exquisite foods as if they did not know what they were eating will admit that we can ignore even pleasure."

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on November 16, 2007 9:01 AM.

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