Rules for easting (and not eating) in Lent

First, let"s look in ~ what the rules are:

• all Catholics who have reached your fourteenth year are bound to abstain totally from meat/poultry ~ above  -- Ash Wednesday and-- all the Fridays the Lent. • every Catholics between the eras of eighteen and also fifty-nine inclusive are also bound to observe the regulation of rapid on Ash Wednesday and good Friday.

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This way limiting oneself to a solitary full meal and avoiding food between meals. Two other light meals, which together perform not equal a full meal, might be taken throughout the day.

• Those whose job-related or health would it is in impaired are excused native fast and abstinence. Individual conscience must decide suitable cause because that excuse. A more serious reason is compelled to excuse oneself indigenous Ash Wednesday and good Friday fast and abstinence.

And yes, chicken is considered meat.

And none of the regulations point out fish. Over there is no preeminence that world should eat fish in Lent.

So why not abstain from fish? Why meat?



Before we gain to the meat and also fish thing, very first a small background.

There were no stop n" Shops in the center ages. No electricity, no refrigeration - except for the ice and also snow of the winter months. It renders you wonder how people had enough food come live on. Forget new fruits and vegetables. Over there would have been source vegetables (potatoes, carrots, beets) and also grains, and also cabbage keeps nice well every winter.

To keep food, lock would have actually used salt, smoke and also pickling. And if friend had sufficient hay to feed livestock, you could keep them with the winter and butcher them when needed. Most families had live chickens as a source for eggs and meat. However once the food was consumed (or spoiled, or eaten by mice, rats, or various other vermin) there to be no much more food.

No much more food. No ShopRite. No businessman Joe"s. For this reason what did human being do? castle died. Starved to death. Or, in a malnourished condition, they gave in to disease.

What conserved whole areas was the Lenten practice of fasting. If i “gave up” eating as much food together I"d like, if ns abstained from death an pet for meat, i would have the ability to stretch out the food supply for one more month "til spring arrived and also there"d be new crops, new lambs, etc. And if, by cutting ago on what i ate, I could share the small I had with rather in my family and also neighborhood, they can survive the winter too.

Fasting needs a choice to be unselfish, to refuse something in myself in order to do good for others. And also in a culture where fatality came easily to for this reason many, the temptation would certainly be to look out only for one"s self. The was survive of the fittest. However when parishes started introducing Lent as a time the fasting, they were offering spiritual encourage to world to be much less selfish - and the by-product that “giving up” in Lent to be that lives were saved. Certainly whole neighborhoods were saved from starving to death since they every made a faith-commitment to fast and to share.

Today fasting is no as important to the survival of ours families. It"s actually a luxury since it"s a selection we have. Too much of the world (including those who live in America - indeed some that live in ours neighborhood) doesn"t have the deluxe of “giving” up food. They just go hungry countless days of the year.

But for countless of united state Fasting has end up being a way in which we deserve to say to God, “Look in ~ how good I deserve to be for fourty days! See, I"m yes, really loveable.” Fasting becomes prefer a proof of ours self-control. And also when us succeed in providing up the cigarette smoking or the calorie or the swears, us beam inwardly and imagine God smiling on us a little more broadly this year. As soon as we fail, us kick ourselves because that our failures, and throw this year"s broken resolution top top the heap the our previous failures. So we need to be reminded this Lent: God doesn"t love us any an ext or much less if us succeed or fail in ~ fasting. God loves us through an unconditional love. God smiles at our very existence and also on the days that we autumn down God, like any loving parental watching a child fall when trying to walk, speak one word come us…..”UP!”

“Ashes, ashes us all loss down,” therefore goes the song. And also every time we fall down, God claims “UP!” - and reaches the end a hand and pulls united state to our feet to shot again. For this reason let"s acquire over this idea of our gift failures as soon as we break our fastings. Let"s obtain up and also get on v fasting. It"s expected to it is in an unselfish selection that is life giving. So whether we"re fasting from are afraid or native food, from sarcasm or sweets, let"s rediscover the life-giving reasons our parishes engage in fasting in the first place. 

So what around meat and fish?


There room two theories as to why meat was preferred to be the food come be provided up on Ash Wednesday and also the Fridays that Lent.

The survive theory. This matches what we composed above. If girlfriend eat the last lab of the flock, you have actually no i m crying in the spring.Abstaining native meat method your animals live long sufficient to develop offspring. Fish, top top the various other hand, were a plentiful source of protein -- also when lakes froze over you can go ice fishing. There was no concern around over-fishing. No need to abstain indigenous fish. And also because fish came to be the favored protein resource during the Lent time of the year, it practically became the prescribed protein.But we can gain our protein from other sources (e.g. Eggs, beans, nuts, etc.) and one score to abstaining native meat is come live much more simply and also choosing food that has the the very least detrimental impact on our just planet. Lobster? not a Lenten food.

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There is only meat theory. This certainly was not the experience of most people struggling to survive. Yet there was an upper class that live on every sorts of meat -- deer, wild boar, roasts of video game birds, etc. Think "Henry the VIII" here with a imperial table groaning with meats of every kinds at every meats. Therefore if the church asks the upper class to abstain indigenous meat, they room really gift asked to carry out a big fast.

So in summary, us don"t eat meat on Ash Wednesday and also the Fridays the Lent.We rapid on Ash Wednesday and good Friday.