Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

Fifth deadly sin : Gluttony

Author: Paulo Coelho

According to the dictionary: feminine noun, from the Latin gula. Excessive eating and drinking, voracity, greediness.

According to the Catholic Church: Inordinate desire for pleasure related to food or drink. One should not appreciate foods that are bad for health. One should not pay more attention to food than to those that accompany us. Unjustified intoxication is a complete lack of sense and a mortal sin.

According to Peter de Vries: Gluttony is a disorder; it means that something is devouring us inside.

From the “Verba Seniorum” (The Wisdom of the Ancients): The Father Abbott was strolling with a monk from Sceta, when they were invited in to eat. The owner of the house, honored by the presence of the priests, gave orders to serve what was best.

However, the monk was fasting. When the food arrived, he picked out a pea and chewed it slowly. He ate nothing further.

Upon leaving, the Father Abbott said to him:

– Brother, when you visit someone, don’t make your holiness an insult. Next time you are fasting, don’t accept invitations to dinner.

Recipe for goose liver with truffles: Clean the goose livers impeccably, chop the liver and truffles into small cubes. Line entirely a small, high pie dish with several small strips of bacon (the strips should be very finely cut). Season with a little salt and pepper and scatter on top some small pieces of truffle. Place the remaining pieces of liver and truffle in successive layers. Seal the pie dish hermetically using a strip of pastry made of flour and water and bake the foie gras in a bain-marie in the oven for 50 to 60 minutes. Afterwards, place a weight on top to compress the mixture.

Hunger in the world: The number of hungry people in the developing countries should drop from the present 777 million to around 440 million in 2030. This means that the goal of the World Food Summit agreed upon in 1996, of cutting by half the number of hungry people compared with the levels found in 1990-92 (815 million), will not be achieved even in 2030. Sub-Saharan Africa is a reason for great concern because the number of chronically undernourished people will only fall probably from the present 194 million to 183 million in 2030 ( Source: FAO report – World agriculture: Toward 2015/2030)

In a Sufi fable: A baker wanted to meet Uways, so Uways went to the bakery disguised as a beggar. He began to eat a bread roll; the baker beat him and threw him out into the street.

– Madman! – said a disciple arriving – don’t you see that you threw out the master you wanted to know?

Contrite, the baker asked what he could do for him to forgive him. Uways asked him to invite him and his disciples to eat.

The baker took them to an excellent restaurant and ordered the most expensive dishes.

– That is how we distinguish the good man from the bad man – said Uways to the disciples, in the middle of lunch. This man is capable of spending ten gold coins on a banquet because I am famous, but he is incapable of giving a bread roll to feed a hungry beggar.

Comment from the Tao Te King: Thirty spokes are fitted together in the cube forming a wheel. But it is its middle empty space that allows the car to be used. Model some clay to make a vase. Cut out in the empty space of the walls doors and windows so that a room may be used.

In that way someone produces what is useful but it is the empty space that makes it effective.

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