Writing in Les Misérables, Victor Hugo made this observation:

It is our conviction that if souls were visible to the eyes, we should be able to see distinctly that strange thing that each one individual of the human race corresponds to some one of the species of the animal creation; and we could easily recognize this truth, hardly perceived by the thinker, that from the oyster to the eagle, from the pig to the tiger, all animals exist in man, and that each one of them is in a man. Sometimes even several of them at a time. Animals are nothing else than the figures of our virtues and our vices, straying before our eyes, the visible phantoms of our souls. God shows them to us in order to induce us to reflect.

Well, if you believe Ol’ Vic was right, then by all means, reflect on this…

…and then back away from those Twinkies you’ve been eyeing for the past hour.

Okay, okay, maybe you can have just one. After all, Fr. John A. Hardon’s Modern Catholic Dictionary defines Gluttony as the “inordinate desire for the pleasure connected with food or drink. This desire may become sinful in various ways: by eating or drinking far more than a person needs to maintain bodily strength; by glutting one’s taste for certain kinds of food with known detriment to health; by indulging the appetite for exquisite food or drink, especially when these are beyond one’s ability to afford a luxurious diet; by eating or drinking too avidly, i.e., ravenously; by consuming alcoholic beverages to the point of losing full control of one’s reasoning powers. Intoxication that ends in complete loss of reason is a mortal sin if brought on without justification, e.g., for medical reasons.” So, assuming your ‘need’ for that Twinkie doesn’t fall into one of the above categories, you should be safe in unwrapping one of those spongy, yellow, delicious bas… well, I’ll let you Zombieland fans finish the rest of that description.

The point is, having a second helping or indulging in a little midnight snack does not necessarily make one a glutton. Like with all the other seven deadly sins and their associated material items (Greed/Wealth, Lust/Sex, etc.), the consumption of food only lapses into Gluttony when the material thing, or the pursuit thereof, begins to take precedence over God and his commandments. So if you’re sitting in mass and all you can think about is Twinkies, then maybe you’ve got a problem. But if it’s just snack time, you don’t look like the animals in that video, and you’re pretty sure that one Twinkie’s not going to be the thing that tips the scales and gives you a heart attack, then you’re conscious is probably safe if you decide to scarf it down. Just don’t think too much about what’s actually in it and everything should be a-okay.

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