August 13, 2011

Guilty Pleasures

I have a confession.  I am a chocoholic!  I love everything about chocolate; its taste, its texture, the way it just melts in my mouth and the way it seems to bring about a feeling of euphoria.  One of my favorite movies is even titled "Chocolat,"and although I have been told that it is a hedonistic attack on the penitential season of Lent, I find it a film about uncovering hypocrisy and learning to love.  But that is for another post.

Yesterday I wrote about reading John of the Cross. In The Ascent of Mt. Carmel, John writes about purging of the senses, that is purging ourselves of all inordinate desires that bring pleasure to the senses. Uh oh, I have a problem here!  I don't seek out chocolate, but if it is in my house or at work and I have one bite, then that's the end. I keep eating until it is all gone.  My biggest problem is peanut M&Ms. This confectionary delight combines three great tastes and textures into one, candy, chocolate and peanuts. I can't resist these colorful spheres of pure pleasure.  The other night, feeling a bit low and stressed, I ate practically an entire party size package.  

Later, feeling particularly guilty over my gluttonous experience, I found myself confronted with the idea of purging myself of this guilty pleasure on several levels.  First, for health reasons I should be avoiding anything with high fat content.  Second, it is not doing my weight loss efforts any good.  Third, it is an avoidance of the real issues that are bothering me. And finally, as John writes "But anyone who fails to conquer the joy of appetite will fail to experience the serenity of habitual joy in God by means of His creatures and works." And here I thought gorging myself on chocolate would make things better.

I mentioned that reading John of the Cross has changed my life.  One of the ways that it has changed is that I have been examining the those things that I am attached to. I have been trying to simplify my life and detatch from dependence upon temporal goods, recognition, and even the desire for consolations from God. While these things may be good (and consolations from God are certainly good),  if I am truly going to "prefer nothing to the Love of Christ," then denying these goods can only bring me closer to my goal of union with my Beloved.

Does this mean I will never eat M&Ms again, or delight in a slice of double rich chocolate cake, or deny myself a smooth delectable piece of Godiva?  I don't think I would go that far.  What I do hope to do, by the Grace of God, is to recognize that my "need" for chocolate, or any other food or temporal desire, only keeps me from that which can truly satisfy and bring me joy.  

1 comment:

  1. I doubt very much that God would frown at our love of chocolate. As for weight gain ... I too was concerned at this and made a New Year's resolution which I have kept to this day. I stopped weighing myself.

    Try it. It's really easy.

    God bless you and yours.