Thursday, March 17, 2011

Breaking your Lenten Fast on Sundays

Being a new Catholic, in fact not confirmed yet,  I'm still learning all of the customs and practices. Lent is 40 days, but more correctly 46 days long. Apparently the six Sundays during Lent (while they are part of Lent) are not counted in the "40 days o f Lent".  This is where the fasting and breaking your fast on Sunday's come in.

There seems to be some confusion for us newbie Catholics about not having to fast on Sundays from whatever we decided to give up for Lent. It seems like an easy out to just say "whoohoo it's Sunday, unlimited chocolate today!". However, there is a reason for allowing you to indulge on Sundays and it's not to make your life easier, it's to prepare for the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus. It's the preparation of the fulfilment of the scripture and prophecies. Sundays are exempt because all Sundays are feast days in the celebration of Mass and Jesus.

Jesus said to "keep holy the sabbath" and after all we do "celebrate" Mass every week, thus there is no requirement to observe your fast on Sundays during Lent. In fact, Jesus encourages us to celebrate on the sabbath.

However, I have to point out there the Church does not require anyone to give up something for Lent and thus there is no official Church teaching on whether or not it's correct to break your fast on Sundays. Giving ups something for Lent is purely tradition so you are not sinning if you don't fast from anything at all (outside of the required Friday/Ash Wednesday fasts) or are not fasting on Sundays.

I think fasting from something (giving it up) is a good practice even if it's not required but fasting on Sunday or not is personal choice.


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