Skip to content

Dr. Denton on Curbing the Temptations Which Can Surround Food

By Dr. Denton D. Weiss, M.D.
2/21/2013 (4 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Man does not live on bread alone. That means men and women, you and me.

Prayer gives me the strength to have the discipline I need to curb my appetite. However, it takes work. The Lenten disciplines are also a means to overcome the disorder and find the freedom which comes from a re-ordering of my appetite, and my priorities. 

Jesus is tempted in the desert

Jesus is tempted in the desert

Highlights

P>PORTSMOUTH, VA. (Catholic Online) - Dear Dr Denton: The difficulty with fasting without meat and milk is nothing compared to fasting with only bread and water. How do you make it through the day when you choose to fast on bread and water?

This week I quietly meditated on the power of hunger as an appetite which, like all appetites, is subject to becoming disordered. My weight is unchanged from last week and I realized that the difficulty is my succumbing to the temptation to eat too much, or to eat the wrong kind of food.

Food is a gift, a good, given to us by God for our nourishment, our health and our enjoyment. The problem is that our appetites can so easily become disordered. That is why the spiritual and physical disciplines of Lent can be so helpful. So too, the readings offered to us in the Bible.

This week I reflected on a biblical story which helped me to understand more fully the dangers of a misguided appetite. I want to share it with my readers.

Jacob and Esau were twins, born with Jacob hanging onto Esau's heel. The birthright belonged to Esau, but later Esau became famished and traded his birthright for a simple bowl of lentil soup.

I read this account in the Book of Genesis (Gen. 25:30-33) over and over again this week. I reflected upon its meaning for my own life. Over and over in my mind I asked myself the question, "how was it possible?" 

Then, I tried fasting for one day on bread and water - and came to understand!

I quickly understood the power of food over the best of our intentions. I experienced the lure of appetite over the weakness of will. Now, I can also sympathize more fully with my patients who literally lie about their food intake because of shame. I truly understand in a way I had not before.

This week, when I heard the Gospel offered to us at the Sunday Liturgy (Luke 4:1-13) I was struck by the fact that after 40 days in the desert without food the devil tempted Jesus with food. I noticed that he tempted Jesus first not with power, riches, or worldly treasure, but with a simple stone that only needed to be turned into bread. That bread, said the tempter, would make the hunger would go away!

But will that kind of hunger ever go away with bread alone?

What was offered by the Tempter was about much more than bread, it was about the order of our relationships. To eat the bread offered by the tempter would lead to a lifetime of turning to bread alone for sustenance - and not turning first to God the Father who is the source of all that nourishes and sustains us. Jesus set the tempter straight, "It is written: a man does not live by bread alone, but by every utterance of God." Luke 4:4

Man does not live on bread alone. That means men and women, you and me.

The answer to the question asked by my reader, "How do you make it through the day?" is as simple as it is challenging. Prayer gives me the strength to have the discipline I need to curb my appetite. However, it takes work. The Lenten disciplines are also a means to overcome the disorder and find the freedom which comes from a re-ordering of my appetite, and my priorities. 

I try to look at the day as units of time much like our monastic brothers and sisters do in both the Catholic and the Orthodox Church. Their day is broken up into points of prayer - instead of points of consuming food. Simply put, prayer becomes the focus. Morning prayer - Noon prayer -  Evening prayer - Night prayer. Prayer, that ongoing dialogue with God, becomes the food and drink of the soul.

So it can become as well with each one of us. Oh, I know we are not monks. But we are Christians and the same practices and disciplines can help to bring about the freedom which comes from a voluntarily structured relationship with God.  For me, Morning Prayer is literally at the moment I wake up. I slide to my bedside and pray.

Noon hits and I am in the Operating Room or in between cases and I silently pray for strength and clarity. I sip a cup of water and slowly eat my bread, one piece broken off, and one prayer of thanks.
The slowness of the moment gives my mind time with the Lord. The slowness also allows my stomach to adjust to slow my cravings and keep my mind clear.

I finish the busy work day. That is when the temptation seems the strongest. So, I drink 2 glasses of water, pray again and then eat a small amount of bread. Again, eating the bread while slowly meditating on the strength Jesus Christ had to say "Not on Bread alone". In Him, I find the strength I need.

Slowly thinking of a man who gave up his birth right for a bowel of lentil soap, and then thinking of Jesus Christ who, in His Sacred Humanity, had the strength to say No, helped me curb the temptations which can come along with food.

The night closed with peace - a peace rooted in completion. I am thankful that my day was only a day and not 40 days. A piece of bread - and a glass of water - and a nightime prayer.

This week I ask all of you to be Strong in the Lord and Pray.

Good Night

Dr Denton

-----

Dr Denton D. Weiss, M.D. is board certified in both Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Dr. Weiss' approach to his medical practice flows from his convictions about the meaning of life which are deeply rooted in his Catholic Faith. He and his wife, Michelle strive for an integrated approach to life which recognizes the unity of the body, mind and soul. They call this approach "Bella Vitae" or "Beautiful Living". He, and Michelle, are contributing writers to Catholic Online.

---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for SEPTEMBER 2017
Parishes.
That our parishes, animated by a missionary spirit, may be places where faith is communicated and charity is seen.


Comments



More Lent & Easter


'So it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead'

Luke 24:46

Lent Event

Importance

Ash Wednesday

March 1, 2017

Image of Ash Wednesday Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It takes place 46 days before Easter Sunday. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting... continue reading

Palm Sunday

April 9, 2017

Image of Palm Sunday Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in all four canonical Gospels... continue reading

Holy Week

April 9 - 15, 2017

Image of Holy Week On Palm Sunday, we celebrate the first joy of the season, as we celebrate Our Lord's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem where he was welcomed by... continue reading

Holy Thursday

April 13, 2017

Image of Holy Thursday Holy Thursday is the most complex and profound of all religious observances. It celebrates his last supper with the disciples, a celebration of Passover... continue reading

Good Friday

April 14, 2017

Image of Good Friday On Good Friday, each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption. In the solemn ceremonies of Holy Week... continue reading

Easter Sunday

April 16, 2017

Image of Easter Sunday Easter is the principal feast of the ecclesiastical year. Leo I calls it the greatest feast, and says that Christmas is celebrated only in preparation for Easter... continue reading

Stations of the Cross

Every Friday

Image of Stations of the Cross Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion... continue reading

Fasting and Abstinence

Every Friday

Image of Fasting and Abstinence For most people the easiest practice to consistently fulfill will be the traditional one, to abstain from meat on all Fridays of the year. During Lent abstinence from meat on Fridays is obligatory in the... continue reading

Image of What did you give up for Lent? From the humorous to the bizarre, people have had interesting Lenten experiences. Tell us about what you are going to give up for this Lenten Year... continue reading

Ascension of Our Lord

Thursday May 25, 2017

Image of Ascension of Our Lord The Ascension of Our Lord, a Holy Day of Obligation, celebrates the day that Christ, in the presence of His apostles, ascended bodily into Heaven. The Ascension occurred on the 40th day of Easter, a Thursday... continue reading

Pentecost

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Image of Pentecost Pentecost Sunday is one of the most ancient feasts of the Church, celebrated early enough to be mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles (20:16) and Corinthians (16:8)... continue reading

Image of Lent FAQ's Everything answered from when does lent end, ashes, giving something up, stations of the cross and blessed palms. The key to understanding the meaning of Lent is simple... continue reading

Mardi Gras

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Image of Mardi Gras In France, the people feasted on foods that would be given up during the forty days of Lent. Meats, eggs, and milk were finished off in one day, giving the holiday its French title of 'Mardi Gras' which means Fat Tuesday... continue reading

Image of Transformed by Easter The Resurrection of Jesus is the crowning truth of our faith in Christ, a faith believed and lived as the central truth by the first Christian community... continue reading

Image of Appearances He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said. - Matthew 28:6. Learn more about the Post-Resurrection Appearances of Jesus Christ... continue reading

Image of Easter Gifts CatholicShopping.com offers a variety of Easter gifts & Easter treats for all ages! Choose a gift for someone special and celebrate the joy of Easter... continue reading

Easter / Lent News

Inspire: Easter Beyond the Octave. Why Do We Celebrate for Fifty Days?

Image of Christ my hope is risen, and he goes before you into Galilee.

While Easter is a Solemnity and an octave feast, it is also a 50 day season until Pentecost.The Season of Easter is not just about His ... continue reading


Reflecting on the Resurrection: Why did Jesus Rise with Wounds?

Image of The empty tomb and the neatly folded burial cloths point to us that Jesus is physically alive.  His crucified body has been transformed.  What lesson is he teaching us by keeping his wounds intact?

What lesson is the Lord teaching us by keeping his wounds intact? Perhaps we can better answer this question by turning to our own wounds. ... continue reading


I Am Dismas and This Is My Story

Image of

As a teenager I ran into someone who introduced me to the finer points of the occupation. We fell into the tried and proven method of ... continue reading


HOLY SATURDAY: The Whole Earth Keeps Silence Watch

Image of The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep.

Something strange is happening - there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence ... continue reading


On the Friday We Call Good, the Whole World Stands Still Watch

Image of

Today as we contemplate the Passion we also plumb the mystery and meaning of the Church. We are members of His Body. She was born ... continue reading


The Lent and Easter Season... by CatholicOnline.shopping

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.