Rules because that easting (and no eating) in Lent

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

• all Catholics who have actually reached their fourteenth year are bound come abstain entirely from meat/poultry top top  -- Ash Wednesday and-- all the Fridays the Lent. • every Catholics between the ages of eighteen and fifty-nine inclusive are also bound come observe the legislation of fast on Ash Wednesday and an excellent Friday.

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This method limiting oneself come a solitary full meal and avoiding food in between meals. Two other light meals, i beg your pardon together execute not equal a full meal, might be taken during the day.

• Those whose occupational or health and wellness would be impaired room excused native fast and also abstinence. Individual conscience should decide appropriate cause because that excuse. A an ext serious reason is forced to pardon oneself from Ash Wednesday and an excellent Friday fast and also abstinence.

And yes, chicken is thought about meat.

And nobody of the regulations mention fish. There is no preeminence that world should eat fish in Lent.

So why no abstain indigenous fish? Why meat?



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

There were no prevent n" Shops in the center ages. No electricity, no refrigeration - other than for the ice and snow the the winter months. It renders you wonder how world had enough food to live on. Forget fresh fruits and vegetables. Over there would have actually been root vegetables (potatoes, carrots, beets) and grains, and cabbage keeps quite well every winter.

To preserve food, castle would have actually used salt, smoke and also pickling. And if you had enough hay to feeding livestock, you might keep them v the winter and butcher them as soon as needed. Most households had live chicken as a resource for eggs and also meat. But once the food was consumed (or spoiled, or eaten by mice, rats, or various other vermin) there to be no an ext food.

No more food. No ShopRite. No businessman Joe"s. Therefore what did civilization do? castle died. Starved come death. Or, in a malnourished condition, they succumbed to disease.

What saved whole areas was the Lenten practice of fasting. If ns “gave up” eat as lot food as I"d like, if i abstained from killing an pet for meat, i would have the ability to stretch the end the food supply for one more month "til feather arrived and also there"d be brand-new crops, brand-new lambs, etc. And if, by cutting back on what i ate, I might share the tiny I had actually with others in my family and also neighborhood, they might survive the winter too.

Fasting calls for a selection to be unselfish, to deny something in myself in order to do good for others. And also in a culture where fatality came conveniently to therefore many, the temptation would be come look out only for one"s self. The was survival of the fittest. Yet when parishes started introducing Lent together a time that fasting, castle were offering spiritual encouragement to human being to be much less selfish - and also the by-product of “giving up” in Lent to be that lives were saved. Undoubtedly whole communities were saved from starving to death since they every made a faith-commitment come fast and also to share.

Today fasting is not as important to the survive of our families. It"s actually a luxury due to the fact that it"s a choice we have. Too lot of the people (including those that live in America - certainly some who live in ours neighborhood) doesn"t have the luxury of “giving” increase food. They simply go hungry numerous days of the year.

But for plenty of of us Fasting has end up being a method in i m sorry we have the right to say come God, “Look in ~ how good I have the right to be for forty days! See, I"m yes, really loveable.” Fasting becomes choose a evidence of our self-control. And also when we succeed in offering up the smoking or the calorie or the swears, us beam inwardly and also imagine God smiling on united state a little an ext broadly this year. As soon as we fail, we kick ourselves for our failures, and throw this year"s broken resolution top top the heap the our past failures. Therefore we need to be reminded this Lent: God doesn"t love united state any an ext or less if we succeed or fail at fasting. God loves us through an unconditional love. God smiles at our an extremely existence and on the days the we loss down God, like any loving parental watching a child fall when trying come walk, speaks one word come us…..”UP!”

“Ashes, ashes us all loss down,” so goes the song. And every time we autumn down, God states “UP!” - and also reaches the end a hand and also pulls united state to our feet to shot again. For this reason let"s obtain over this idea the our being failures once we rest our fastings. Let"s gain up and get on with fasting. It"s expected to be an unselfish choice that is life giving. So even if it is we"re fasting from fear or indigenous food, native sarcasm or sweets, let"s rediscover the life-giving factors our parishes communicate in fasting in the first place. 

So what around meat and also fish?


There space two theories as to why meat was chosen to be the food come be given up on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays that Lent.

The survival theory. This matches what we created above. If you eat the last lab that the flock, you have no i m crying in the spring.Abstaining native meat method your animals live long enough to create offspring. Fish, top top the other hand, were a plentiful source of protein -- even when lakes froze end you might go ice cream fishing. There was no concern about over-fishing. No have to abstain native fish. And also because fish ended up being the favored protein resource during the Lent time that the year, it nearly became the prescribed protein.But us can gain our protein from other sources (e.g. Eggs, beans, nuts, etc.) and also one score to abstaining from meat is to live much more simply and also choosing food that has the the very least detrimental impact on our only planet. Lobster? not a Lenten food.

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There is only meat theory. This absolutely was not the experience of most civilization struggling come survive. Yet there was an upper course that lived on every sorts of meats -- deer, wild boar, roasts of video game birds, etc. Think "Henry the VIII" below with a royal table groaning v meats of all kinds at every meats. Therefore if the church asks the upper course to abstain indigenous meat, they space really gift asked to do a large fast.

So in summary, us don"t eat meat ~ above Ash Wednesday and also the Fridays that Lent.We fast on Ash Wednesday and great Friday.