Rules because that easting (and no eating) in Lent

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

• every Catholics who have reached their fourteenth year space bound to abstain completely from meat/poultry ~ above  -- Ash Wednesday and-- all the Fridays of Lent. • every Catholics between the ages of eighteen and fifty-nine inclusive are likewise bound to observe the regulation of rapid on Ash Wednesday and great Friday.

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This way limiting oneself to a solitary full meal and avoiding food in between meals. Two other light meals, i beg your pardon together do not equal a complete meal, may be taken during the day.

• Those whose occupational or health would it is in impaired are excused indigenous fast and abstinence. Individual conscience should decide proper cause for excuse. A an ext serious factor is required to pardon oneself indigenous Ash Wednesday and an excellent Friday fast and abstinence.

And yes, chicken is thought about meat.

And no one of the regulations point out fish. There is no rule that human being should eat fish in Lent.

So why no abstain native fish? Why meat?



Before we acquire to the meat and fish thing, first a tiny background.

There to be no protect against n" Shops in the center ages. No electricity, no refrigeration - except for the ice and also snow the the winter months. It provides you wonder how civilization had sufficient food to live on. Forget new fruits and also vegetables. There would have been source vegetables (potatoes, carrots, beets) and also grains, and cabbage keeps quite well all winter.

To maintain food, castle would have actually used salt, smoke and pickling. And also if you had sufficient hay to feed livestock, you could keep them through the winter and also butcher them as soon as needed. Most family members had live chickens as a source for eggs and also meat. Yet once the food was eaten (or spoiled, or eaten by mice, rats, or other vermin) there to be no an ext food.

No much more food. No ShopRite. No businessman Joe"s. Therefore what did human being do? lock died. Starved come death. Or, in a malnourished condition, they yielded to disease.

What saved whole communities was the Lenten practice of fasting. If i “gave up” eating as much food together I"d like, if ns abstained from killing an pet for meat, i would have the ability to stretch the end the food it is provided for an additional month "til feather arrived and there"d be new crops, new lambs, etc. And if, by cutting earlier on what ns ate, I could share the tiny I had actually with rather in my family and also neighborhood, they can survive the winter too.

Fasting requires a choice to be unselfish, to deny something in myself in order come do good for others. And also in a society where fatality came quickly to for this reason many, the temptation would be to look out only for one"s self. It was survive of the fittest. However when parishes started presenting Lent as a time that fasting, lock were giving spiritual encourage to civilization to be less selfish - and the by-product of “giving up” in Lent was that lives were saved. Without doubt whole areas were saved from starving to death because they all made a faith-commitment to fast and also to share.

Today fasting is not as necessary to the survival of our families. It"s in reality a luxury since it"s a selection we have. Too much of the people (including those that live in America - certainly some who live in our neighborhood) doesn"t have actually the luxury of “giving” increase food. They simply go hungry countless days of the year.

But for plenty of of us Fasting has become a way in which we have the right to say to God, “Look at how an excellent I have the right to be for forty days! See, I"m really loveable.” Fasting becomes like a proof of our self-control. And when us succeed in giving up the smoking or the calories or the swears, us beam inwardly and imagine God smiling on united state a little more broadly this year. When we fail, we kick ourselves for our failures, and also throw this year"s broken resolution ~ above the heap the our past failures. Therefore we have to be reminded this Lent: God doesn"t love united state any more or much less if we succeed or fail at fasting. God loves us through an unconditional love. God smiles in ~ our very existence and on the days that we fall down God, like any loving parental watching a child fall when trying to walk, speak one word come us…..”UP!”

“Ashes, ashes we all autumn down,” so goes the song. And also every time we autumn down, God states “UP!” - and reaches out a hand and pulls us to our feet to shot again. For this reason let"s gain over this idea the our gift failures when we rest our fastings. Let"s gain up and also get on through fasting. It"s meant to be an unselfish selection that is life giving. So whether we"re fasting from are afraid or from food, from sarcasm or sweets, let"s rediscover the life-giving reasons our parishes engage in fasting in the first place. 

So what about meat and also fish?


There are two theories regarding why meat was preferred to be the food to be provided up top top Ash Wednesday and also the Fridays of Lent.

The survive theory. This matches what we created above. If girlfriend eat the last lab that the flock, you have actually no flock in the spring.Abstaining native meat way your pets live long enough to develop offspring. Fish, ~ above the other hand, to be a plentiful resource of protein -- also when lakes froze over you could go ice cream fishing. There was no concern around over-fishing. No need to abstain indigenous fish. And also because fish ended up being the favored protein resource during the Lent time of the year, it almost became the prescribed protein.But us can obtain our protein from other sources (e.g. Eggs, beans, nuts, etc.) and also one goal to abstaining native meat is come live more simply and also choosing food that has actually the least detrimental effect on our only planet. Lobster? no a Lenten food.

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There is only meat theory. This certainly was not the endure of most world struggling to survive. However there was an upper class that live on every sorts of meats -- deer, wild boar, roasts of video game birds, etc. Think "Henry the VIII" below with a royal table groaning through meats of every kinds at every meats. Therefore if the church asks the upper course to abstain native meat, they are really gift asked to do a large fast.

So in summary, we don"t eat meat on Ash Wednesday and also the Fridays of Lent.We fast on Ash Wednesday and an excellent Friday.