I want to fast for a friend, what are the rules?

Is they’re any specific rules I should follow when fasting, not during lent? I heard someone said I can only fast on certain days or certain amount of days. Can I not fast whenever I want? What are the rules for this?

You can fast how you want.
If you want to do some extreme fast as opposed to just the Lenten kind or the “don’t eat between meals and no desserts” kind, then speak with your doctor first to make sure it’s okay.

Traditionally, Catholics do not fast on Sundays or on solemnities. Those Catholics who are doing an extended fast will often allow themselves a treat or dessert on a Sunday or solemnity, but not go wild and eat everything in sight.


I know of no rules, other than if you are undertaking severe penances or fasting, you should do so only under the care of a confessor or spiritual director. I’ll defer to @edward_george1 or @InThePew for a more complete answer.


You can fast whenever you want, including during celebratory times even though this isn’t as typical. If you’re doing hardcore penance you’re suppose to talk to a spiritual director about it.

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Thank you so much. But also, i hate your profile picture! Is that a spider? :frowning: :sob:


Don’t worry. He is a vegetarian spider.


Indulgences can be obtained for others but only those that have died. One of the general grants for a partial indulgence is by:

  • Freely abstaining in a spirit of penance from something licit and pleasant.

Of course the other requirements for a partial indulgence are necessary also.

Hahahha ok fewf

While it’s true that he can’t get an indulgence for his living friend, he can still fast for a living friend, the same way as he can pray for a living friend.

Like, he could fast and offer it up for his friend to turn away from sin, repent, convert, recover from an illness, etc.

Can you explain this to me? Im alittle confused with your comment, but I want understand it, thank you

He’s also cute.

As a gardener I learned to love spiders and toads. They guard my vegetables from pests.


Im just mortified with the legs… :sob:

It looks like it got tights on all eight legs. :slightly_smiling_face:

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OK. I have never done fast for others that were living, only prayers.

I have never fasted for any living person, only prayers for the faithfully departed. I pray for others however. My fast or abstinence is penitential practice for temperance.

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Any penance, including fasting and other forms of self-mortification, can be done for the living. Often it’s done “to save sinners”. This isn’t for the souls in Purgatory since they’re already definitely saved. It’s done to try to prevent people currently living from being sent to Hell.


In that case all the acts that are prescribed for general grants for the dead could be used:

  1. Raising the mind to God with humble trust while performing one’s duties and bearing life’s difficulties, and adding, at least mentally, some pious invocation.
  2. Devoting oneself or one’s goods compassionately in a spirit of faith to the service of one’s brothers and sisters in need.
  3. Freely abstaining in a spirit of penance from something licit and pleasant.
  4. Freely giving open witness to one’s faith before others in particular circumstances of everyday life.

Yes, and anything else in the book as well.

Oh ok I understand now. I have never heard of anyone fasting for the dead before. For what reasons -If I may ask- would you do so?

The 7th Spiritual Work of Mercy is to pray for the living and the dead.
Fasting and other penance, offered to God, is a prayer.

When offered for the living, it can be for someone’s soul to be saved, or for them to be granted a special favor by God (example: for them to be healed of an illness).

When offered for the dead, it is to help the soul of the dead person if his soul is in Purgatory.
Dead souls in Hell can’t benefit from our prayers, and dead souls in Heaven don’t need prayers.
Dead souls in Purgatory are saved, so they’re definitely not going to Hell, and will eventually go to Heaven, but they need to be purified in Purgatory first before they are perfect enough to enter Heaven. So we pray for them to help them be more comfortable in Purgatory and go to Heaven faster.

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