I have an exam on Ash Wednesday. Must I fast?

Hi all,

Unfortunately, exam season is just around the corner and I am unable to get out of one that is scheduled on the evening of Ash Wednesday. I am 19 so I am obligated to fast, but I was wondering if there’s any kind of exemption I can obtain because I really don’t want to have to take a test worth 30% of my grade on an empty stomach.

Fasting does not mean you must have an “empty stomach”. You can have one full meal and two smaller meals. Have your smaller meals first and your full meal before your exam.

If concerned, talk to your pastor.

Why don’t you eat your one full meatless meal right before you leave to take your test? Continue to keep hydrated with coffee, tea milk and juices and you should be able to keep energy levels up just fine. It’s a sacrifice, yes, but you will find it to be well worth the effort. :thumbsup:

Where do you reside? in the us fasting includes small meals but in general yes, the church has pretty much two fasting days. It’s not really that hard to do even with tests and such. I know several doctors and police officers who fast on Ash Wednesday and yet they are able to handle something more physically and mentally demanding than a school test.

  1. First, know your own body. If you have any tendencies to faint if you don’t eat, you are allowed to fast very gently, or to just abstain and not fast at all. Sick people are strongly discouraged from fasting, and sometimes don’t even have to abstain. Fasting is not about hurting yourself, so don’t feel guilty about doing only what you can do.

Prudence is one of the cardinal virtues! Fast from pride by doing the prudent thing for your individual body.

  1. You’re allowed to test your fasting plans ahead of time. Try out the plan that others have mentioned. Does it work better to have your small “collations” as breakfast and lunch, or as breakfast and dinner? What can you eat that will “stick to your ribs” without requiring some huge amount of food?

  2. If you feel like you want to do something more generous and big for God, or make your Lent “training” more rigorous, you can always add an extra fasting day when you’re not taking exams.

Only the Muslims abstain from food all day. The Catholic church doesn’t require that.

You’ve gotten good advice above. But I’m curious as to how you define “fasting.” What is it you think you should or shouldn’t eat on a fast day.

Here is how the US bishops define it: usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-year/lent/catholic-information-on-lenten-fast-and-abstinence.cfm

I agree. Unless there is a medical problem, I don’t see why you can’t just eat the main meal before the exam.

The Latin Rite gave up their fasting (which used to be more extreme than the Muslims), but the Eastern Rites kept their fasts.

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