When and how are we to fast?


#1

The Church only obliges the faithful to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday by only eating one meal these days and abstain from meat. But if you want to fast more than that during the year, where and how should you begin? The orthodox still observe very strict fasts, so why don’t we also do that?

The traditional thing is of course to abstain from meat on all fridays of the year, but honestly, this doesn’t really feel as a big sacrifice to me since there are plenty of good stuff around that don’t contain meat.

I know about e5 men which fast on only bread and water every first wednesday of the month (or more often than that). But what are the traditional ways of fasting? Was there a time when we actually fasted all days of Lent and not just symbolically on the first and the last? Are we still encouraged to fast before big sollemnitites except for easter like Christmas and Peter and Paul? And would it be considered a protest to the calender reform to still observe the ember days fast?

And what is really the best way to fast? Is it to only eat bread and water during the day, or to eat just one full meal? And about the Friday abstinence, do you have any good advice if you think abstinence from meat does not feel like a big sacrifice?


#2

I heard somewhere (sorry, don’t have a quote) that some Catholics traditionally fasted every week both on Wednesdays and Fridays, and that in some languages Thursday actually means “the day between two fasts”. Although, I am not sure how people that were doing hard labor work could fast two days in a week.

I know few people that fast one day every week, and they eat only bread&water (some of them also eat a small amount of fruit). I think that in the first Church there was a lot more fasting than today (in Acts “fasting and prayer” is mentioned in few places, if I remember correctly).


#3

Fasting is a good thing, but we must be prudent about it. Before doing anything “drastic,” be sure to get the permission of your doctor (to make sure it is physically healthy) and from your pastor, confessor, or spiritual director (to make sure it is spiritually healthy).

My spiritual director gave me permission to fast any way I like, ONCE A WEEK.


#4

QUOTE=Ahlman;4318618]The Church only obliges the faithful to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday by only eating one meal these days and abstain from meat. But if you want to fast more than that during the year, where and how should you begin? The orthodox still observe very strict fasts, so why don’t we also do that?

*** You can if you want to. Just make sure you are not doing it out of spiritual pride.***

The traditional thing is of course to abstain from meat on all fridays of the year, but honestly, this doesn’t really feel as a big sacrifice to me since there are plenty of good stuff around that don’t contain meat.

*** I am in formation with The Confraternity Of Penitents at

http:www.penitents.org

And we abstain 4 days a week. ***

I know about e5 men which fast on only bread and water every first wednesday of the month (or more often than that). But what are the traditional ways of fasting? Was there a time when we actually fasted all days of Lent and not just symbolically on the first and the last? Are we still encouraged to fast before big sollemnitites except for easter like Christmas and Peter and Paul? And would it be considered a protest to the calender reform to still observe the ember days fast?

*** You still can. I do. But I am age 64, and made sure to get the OK from both my Physician AND my Spiritual Director. ***

And what is really the best way to fast? Is it to only eat bread and water during the day, or to eat just one full meal? And about the Friday abstinence, do you have any good advice if you think abstinence from meat does not feel like a big sacrifice?

*** Perhaps it might be best to start out your fasting experiences with the traditional 1 full meal and 2 smaller collations not adding up to the full meal. Then, after an adjustment period, and with the OK from your Spiritual Director, try the bread and water fast every Friday?

*** But please remember at all times that your body is a Temple Of The Holy Spirit, not to be damaged. Feeling hungry is OK, but weakness, drowsyness, and dibilitation mean you are overdoing it. Draw back.

*** As always, none of these OPINIONS have been endorsed by my cats, who would shred me if I tried to make them fast ***:rolleyes:


#5

Fasting is a good thing, but we must be prudent about it. Before doing anything “drastic,” be sure to get the permission of your doctor (to make sure it is physically healthy) and from your pastor, confessor, or spiritual director (to make sure it is spiritually healthy).

**Amen to this!

Orthodox spiritual fathers remind us that fasting is in itself ambiguous. If we do not work on spiritual and moral perfection through prayer and almsgiving and charity, we become like the demons who never eat at all!**


#6

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