Laudetur Jesus Christus!
Gelobt sei Jesus Christus!
Praised be Jesus Christ!
This coming Wednesday begins our Lenten Fast with Ash Wednesday, a reminder that this is a day of fast and abstinence. While this day is not a Holy Day of Obligation, this is a day that many Catholics choose to attend Mass to begin this holy season.
I encourage all parishioners at Old St. Mary’s to attend Mass this day and receive ashes. These ashes remind us exactly how fragile our life is, and they remind us that in the grand scheme of things we are not very important. One of the greatest temptations that we face as fallen, but yet redeemed human beings, is the temptation to selfishness. We think only of ourselves, without concern for others. We become self-absorbed, with a higher opinion of ourselves than we deserve. The ashes remind us where we really came from, that we were created from the dust of the earth and we will one day return to the earth as dust.
In society today, we see this self-absorption in the vices of materialism and consumerism, in the objectification of other human beings in pornography, in personal and corporate greed, in our refusal to fall to our knees and give adoration and thanksgiving to the God who created and redeemed us.
During this season, to help combat these tendencies, the Church recommends to us the practices of fasting, almsgiving, and prayer. Over these next few weeks I will address these topics individually, as they are practices we should practice not just during Lent, but throughout the whole year. For now, please find below the laws of the Church regarding fast and abstinence. Have a blessed week ahead and blessed beginning to the Lenten Season.
Church Law regarding Fast and Abstinence
Abstinence – Refraining from meat products Fasting – Reduction of one’s intake of food
Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are obligatory days of fasting and abstinence for Catholics. In addition, all Fridays during Lent are obligatory days of abstinence. All Fridays of the year are considered days of penance and some penitential act is required.
For members of the Latin Catholic Church, the norms on fasting are obligatory from age 18 until age 59. When fasting, a person is permitted to eat one full meal. Two smaller meals may also be taken, but not to equal a full meal. The norms concerning abstinence from meat are binding upon members of the Latin Catholic Church from age 14 onwards.