To discipline the body; not to embrace delicacies (Rule of Benedict 4.11-12; cf I Cor 9:27)
These are not popular tools today: except when one of them goes awry, people don’t recognize the mutual impact of body and spirit. They are wrong, and the ancients knew it.
Our appetites desire novelty. New experiences generate cravings, not satisfaction. Many people get stuck on a treadmill of wanting and getting, their spirits enslaved. Even when they see and want a less self-centered life, the weight of belongings holds them back.
StBenedict advises us to constantly practice saying “no” to bodily temptations, not out of repressed abstemiousness but to make us free to follow our spiritual longing without restraint.