Stop criticizing fasting, please

Exactly, give up caffeine and go through withdrawal. And in the process take up anger and irritability.

Yes, fasting can be good for the soul.

It can also be hell on everyone around you.

I really don’t want to be around someone that gives up caffeine, sugar or even alcohol.


What does the person who already eats meatless at least twice a week, has cut out all between meal snacks and eats according to the 'fasting guidelines" all the time do for Lent then?

I’m sorry that some of you feel “slighted” by this type of idea for Lent, but the typical person in the pew is not as enlightened as the typical CAF-er. If ideas like this help them, then it’s all good in my book.


Funny story…
I work for my diocese. One year I decided to give up coffee for Lent.
It was the Friday after Ash Wednesday, when my boss, the Pastor, walks through and says to me
“Cilla, did you give up coffee for Lent?”

ME: Yes, Father, why?

Father: Well, typically, when you give something up, it is a penance for you, not for those around you. Maybe you could find something else to give up instead. :crazy_face:


My pastor does not discourage fasting at all; in fact, he speaks of the importance of it. Especially during last Sunday’s Divine Liturgy as the following day was Clean Monday.


It really bothers me to see all the modernist interpretations of Lent nowadays, such as: “Don’t give up chocolate, give up holding grudges!” Well I thought as Catholics we should not be holding grudges 365 days a year, not just during Lent!

We fast from food during Lent for 40 days as a sign of penance, and reparations for our sins. Lent is not a time of joy, but a solemn time (and a great opportunity to grow closer to God!). My priest even advised during Lent we should not have parties, cut down the time for entertainment, and increase our time in prayer, and do not forget alms giving also!


You eat less, or you fast from something else that you eat and like.

I’m not a big eater either, I don’t have coffee daily, I don’t have meat daily - I actually have to remind myself to eat meat sometimes because I have an iron deficiency and it’s good for me to have some meat, but meat is harder to cook or buy than a lot of other more convenient things. I still manage to come up with fasting plans that work for me. It’s not hard if someone wants to do it.

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Yeah, my priest this morning brought up the almsgiving too. Thanks for the reminder, I do need to donate some money today.

I think you in the East have a better handle on this whole fasting thing. I would like to someday try an Eastern Catholic fast for Lent. This isn’t a good year for that, maybe next year.

We don’t all turn into Oscar the Grouch when we give something up. Especially if we do this type of thing as a regular practice and don’t just suddenly jump into it for Lent, which is like the guy who starts some big intense workout program on January 2 and lasts about three days as opposed to someone who does a little exercise 3 times a week year round.

Also, giving up alcohol would be so minor for so many of us that I don’t even consider that a penance. I drink maybe 2 times a month at most, often not even that. If you can’t give up alcohol and you get grouchy without it, that to me is a sign you have a drinking problem, to be honest.


Which is why there are all sorts of ideas out there that don’t involve “fasting” from food.

If you (the general you) want to fast from food and food alone, fine.
But realize that there are also other things that people can and should fast from too.

And, to be honest, I never really understood the whole idea of giving up chocolate or Facebook (or whatever) for 40 days, only to go back to eating/using whatever the same way as before Lent on Easter Sunday.

And don’t even get me started on those who use Fridays in Lent as an excuse to go out for fish fries that could feed a family of 4. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

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Yeah, I did that one year for Lent. Not happening again.

This is what I have learned from my experience of fasting:
Fasting on a regular basis causes the body to remember and it gets easier every time.
Eventually a state of bliss can be achieved.
Fasting reaches the deepest chasm of the temporal realm to the heart of God.
Combined with the mass and the rosary fasting can change physical laws.
Fasting and prayer initiates a broad-spectrum burst of harmony and grace.

Tyrants take away food to control populations. Jesus gave us himself as food to have eternal life within. It is ironic that we deny ourselves food to receive grace and to help others receive grace.

Fasting helps one gain insight into the spiritual realm.

Rising above the rhythm of everyday life, fasting can quiet the body and soul to hear the song of eternity.
Earth is the lowest below nine choirs yet our prayers and sacrifice have the greatest effect across eternity.


I do not think fasting is a bad thing at all. I have definitely heard some of the criticism of fasting but in my mind, part of the problem is that we never talk about the fact that fasting, whether for for physical or spiritual purposes, sometimes needs some thought and planning.

Most of us can afford to cut down on our eating. But that means when we do eat we need to put some real thought into what we do eat so that we don’t make our families, employers, and acquaintances pay the price. In the case of mood/performance enhancing substances (like caffeinated foods and beverages) giving them up cold turkey may be a really bad idea. Some one who wants to give them up either needs to start tapering off prior to lent or find a less objectionable source of that substance.

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I don’t think anyone is saying there aren’t other things you can do. I also don’t have a problem with anyone who makes a personal choice not to do it, for example because they need to eat in order to do their work, or they have some medical condition that makes it a bad idea to fast.

The problem I have is when priests just toss aside the whole idea of fasting and “giving up” like everybody who does it is not thinking about what they are doing, or isn’t improving their relationship with Christ by doing it, or is probably acting grumpy with their family/ workmates because they are fasting, etc. We’re not all shallow.

As for the fish fries, last year I ate almost nothing all day on Friday so I could go out to the fish fry at night, which benefits a parish church or I wouldn’t be there. I don’t get fish fry from bars or anyplace other than churches. Most of the people I know who go to the fish fries are there 1) to benefit the church and 2) as a fellowship event because you see a lot of people you know from the parish, elderly people come to eat there when they wouldn’t go to a restaurant, etc. Since my childhood, fish fries have always held happy memories for me - nice family and fellowship time for a good cause, and at the church I now often go to, there’s Stations of the Cross before you eat. It’s a win on many levels.

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Yes, we can be pretty hardcore about it!


If it’s a church fundraiser, I dont take as big an issue with it.

As a former restaurant chef, the things I would see/hear on Lenten Friday’s amazed me. 2 or 3 cocktails, and appetizer, then a 16 oz piece of fish with a fries, coleslaw and dessert. How is this penitental?


Kosher fasting? Here it goes. Early Christians, every dime they saved from giving up animal products they just gave away to the poor. Undiscriminating giving. Whether they were professional beggars or sinners who screan away their sins blackmailing into giving, even threats being made against those who do not give, it does not matter.
Pray for me as I will pray for you for a complete Easter Lent.


A lot of the churches, especially in more well-to-do areas, don’t do fish fry any more. (Also you need to have a lot of K of C people to run a fish fry and I suspect some of them don’t.)

Instead they do a “Soup and Bread” or “Beans and Bread” where people get a cup of soup, or beans a piece of bread, and then somebody gives a spiritual talk or do a service project to help homeless or something.


Not sure why people pit one against the other. This reminds me of someone who asks “what’s more important, love or doctrine?”


Enough do turn into a grouch that I’ve learned to stay away from people that fast from the above.

Anyone consuming enough caffeine, sugar or alcohol that giving them up would be a penance, should think twice before doing it.

The penance is yours not those around you.

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There may have been times when huge numbers of people were throwing themselves into the nearest snowbank at first sign of arousal, when hair shirts were the most common underwear, when folks needed to be cautioned against peer pressure of raging asceticism.

If that sounds like your neighborhood, tell us about it. But that isn’t the most common temptation in most places now.

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When we sacrifice, we are to give up a good thing.

Giving up vice or sin is no sacrifice at all, it is simply Christianity.

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