Skip to comments.Friday Fast Fact: Friday Penance
Posted on 01/23/2010 5:25:21 AM PST by NYer
Did you know that penance is not only for Lent and Advent? And that we Catholics are not only supposed to be doing penance on the Fridays of Lent?
Of course, penance is good to do at many times for many reasons. But in fact, canon law requires us to do some form of penance every Friday of the year.
Canon 1250—All Fridays through the year and the time of Lent are penitential days and times throughout the universal Church.
Canon 1251—Abstinence from eating meat or another food according to the prescriptions of the conference of bishops is to be observed on Fridays throughout the year unless they are solemnities; abstinence and fast are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and on the Friday of the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Canon 1253—It is for the conference of bishops to determine more precisely the observance of fast and abstinence and to substitute in whole or in part for fast and abstinence other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety.
That’s right. Not just during Lent. But every Friday of the year for your entire life. I know. Crazy! But it’s also good for us and necessary.
Our USCCB here in the USA did indeed allow for substitution (per canon law) so that we can personally exercise an alternative form of penance in place of meat abstinence if we choose. But the fact is that we are supposed to be doing some form of penance.
Did you know this? I only just learned this in very recent years. I’m still a bit baffled as to why nobody ever taught me this. I feel a bit cheated, to be honest. Anyway, now I know. And now you know.
If you’re not sure what to do, just abstain from meat. Easy. But fasting (and abstinence) of any kind is a very powerful thing to do. In fact, Jesus tells us that some things require prayer and fasting:
“And when he was come into the house, his disciples secretly asked him: Why could not we cast him out? And he said to them: This kind can go out by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” - Mark 9:27-28 (Douay Rheims)
Prayer is a powerful thing. And we turn to it quite naturally in times of need. But we often forget a most powerful prayer partner: fasting. And many of us (me included) have spent most of our lives not knowing we have been asked to do penance every Friday. If we had known this, perhaps more of our prayers would have been answered by now.
Possible penance for today: Go to your DVR. Delete every show on it.
Whatever penance you do today, offer it up for the unborn and their mothers as we pray and work, especially today, for a real culture of Life.
Have a blessed Friday and weekend everyone!
Today is Saturday. Over the course of this week, perhaps you can reflect and pray on the Church's teaching and make a purposeful commitment to implementing this in your own life, beginning next Friday. Rest assured that it will draw you into a much closer relationship with Jesus Christ.
Another key here is that prayer and fasting together are VERY powerful. Not only will this draw us closer to Christ, but it will also amaze us as to what God does to answer our prayers. ;-)
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You are absolutely right! But it must come from the heart. One of our most active parishioners joined an Evangelical Church for several years. Upon her return, she threw herself into doing all the parish work that no one else wanted to do, and with a constant smile on her face. There is no remuneration. We often comment that without her, the parish would fall apart. The other evening, she explained how she does this. When she joined the Evangelical Church, she "asked Jesus to come into her heart". In essence, she made a personal commitment to Christ. We Catholics have the same opportunity, through the Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Having made that consecration, I have experienced all the joy that comes from giving through love.
Warner is mistaken. The bishop of each diocese determines whether abstaining from eating meat on Friday is the norm or not.
And it would be nice if they would tell us what their decision is.
I think we will see this come back more and more.
POINTLESS? It's a mortal sin punishable by eternal damnation to hell!
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