What is it to do Fasting and Abstinence? And When Do I Do It?
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Alexander, Andy, S.J.
Waldron, Maureen McCann
Text from the first three paragraphs of "What is it to do Fasting and Abstinence?"|What does it mean to "fast"?|To fast is to do without food. Its purpose is to experience the effects of not eating. It also serves to be a penance or a sacrifice - for the purpose of strengthening us. When we don't eat, for even a little while, we get hungry. When we get hungry, we have a heightened sense of awareness. If, when we eat too much, we have a sluggish feeling, when we fast, we have a feeling of alertness. Fasting is a wonderful exercise whenever we want to sincerely ask for an important grace from God. It is not that our fasting "earns" God's attention, but by fasting, we clarify our thinking and our feeling. It is purifying and prepares us to pray more deeply. |When do I fast?|Catholics, as a group, are required to fast on only two days of the year - Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. On these days, fasting means something very specific and limited. It means that one eats only one full meal in a day, with no food in-between meals. It is understood that two other meals, if one eats three meals a day, should not total one full meal. One might fast in a more complete way, i.e., eating only a portion of a single meal. |Of course, anyone is free to fast at any time that it is helpful for their prayer and reflection. It is not recommended that anyone with impaired health should fast in any way. It is also important to note that everyone who fasts should drink enough fluids on a fast day.
Creighton University, Online Ministries
These brief excerpts are taken from our Lenten resources, to support a community's Lenten Journey. Feel Free to "cut and paste" any of these texts for Parish Bulletinss or Worship Aids. Simpy add this reference: "Taken from the Praying Lent pages of Creighton University's Online Ministries web site: www.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistry/online.html. Used with Permission."