What do I do about Lenten obligations if my birthday is in Lent?

My birthday always falls during Lent. Is it sinful if I engage in an activity or food from which I have decided to fast? For example, when I was dating my husband, I had given up choclate for Lent. My husband’s mother had me over for desert after my parents had taken me out for my birthday, and of course, she served a chocolate cake. I had not discussed my Lenten devotions with her and put in a tight spot, I ate it so as not to insult or embarrass her. Was this a sin?

Dear C,

It is not a sin to violate Lenten resolutions the we ourselves initiate. It would have been impolite to not have eaten the cake. Various social situations come up that call for exceptions. Many people celibrate St. Patricks Day even though it usually falls on a Lenten day.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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