Spirit Daily


When We're Overweight, This Is Because  In Some Way We May Be Spiritually Empty

By Michael H. Brown

Have you noticed how heavy everyone has gotten -- how everyone seems to be gorging himself -- at the same time the world has grown spiritually empty?

There's a connection here, claims Mother Nadine Brown in an anointed new book on the seven capital sins. "One of the basic roots of gluttony is an unconscious self-image of emptiness," she writes. "It may be a conscious image for some -- but often it is an unconscious self-image, and we start feeding that emptiness with food. If we start overeating or overindulging, usually something is eating at us. It could be loneliness, depression, extreme stress, anxiety, or frustration. There are a lot of ways to be empty. As we pray, the Lord will reveal to us these empty areas within us and will show us how we are trying to feed this emptiness."

That's not to say that everyone who is overweight has a spiritual emptiness. There are plenty of heavy people who are as holy as you get. In some cases, there are genetic and organic factors.

But for many in our society, there is too much weight because there is too much self. We are too focused on our own desires. We are full of ourselves. And we are devoid of the Lord. This is exhibited, often, in obesity.

"One of the ways I can tell very simply at our table if someone is more interested in food than in anything else is that nothing gets passed," comments the nun, who founded a new order called Intercessors of the Lamb in Omaha. "The food gets passed to them, then they put it on their plates and start eating because their interest is more in the food. We see gluttony in many different addictions today. Every addiction will tap into the seven capital sins. We're seeing tremendous misuse of the earth and resources that God has given to us, which is another form of gluttony."

What are the wages of sin? We know, to speak bluntly, that when we are overweight, we are more prone to the serious illnesses, whether diabetes, heart attacks, or cancer. Again: not everyone who is fat is a sinner. One is never to judge on that. But when we sin we can manifest that sin physically.

This leaves a door open to the devil, who, as Mother Nadine (an expert in spiritual warfare) notes, "hates the Incarnation and Incarnational spirituality. The more he can strike at our flesh, then indirectly he is striking at God."

And we don't want that. We don't want to get caught in that. The answer is discipline. We are constantly at war with the flesh, and when we lack discipline, we see the flesh swell against us. It isn't always "gluttony." But in some way it is a lack of self control. There is even spiritual gluttony. This is when we pray only for ourselves and do so solely for spiritual consolation (without interceding for others). "Gluttony is not only being excessive in what in what we eat and drink, but it's not sharing with those who don't have.

It would help, notes Mother Nadine, if there were as many retreat houses as there are athletic clubs and restaurants. When we don't take care of spiritual issues, they continue to fester. Pray specifically for fortitude, she says. Fortitude grants us strength. And fasting gives us real mystical power. The simple act of fasting once a week can lead quickly to a self control that will start to completely rein in our weight problems.

"One practical remedy to help us counteract gluttony is daily prayer," advises the nun. "There is nothing as powerful as daily prayer because that's where we really get fed." Let us note that Communion is the ultimate prayer and the ultimate spiritual nurturing and is fashioned after all after a meal called the Last Supper.

[resources: Bathe Seven Times] 

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November 2003