Lenten Norms for Abstinence

holy week 2016-1A reminder: – Friday is Good Friday and a day of fasting (one full meal and two lighter ones, with NOTHING in between, for all Catholics aged 21 to 59-years) and of obligatory abstinence from meat, chicken, and from those foods made from meat or chicken (for all Catholics over the age of 14).

Although we often associate fasting with food, there are many other ways we can fast as we enter Holy Week. Visually we can fast by taking our cue from the Church practice of covering all of the statues and crucifixes during Lent with violet cloths. We can choose to cover our own visual treasures, in effect putting some of our own beautiful things into “exile” during Holy Week. That way, we might all the more receive their beauty when our fast
ends on Easter Sunday.

We can fast aurally; by turning off much of the noise and distractions in our lives that comes from television, radio, iPods, the Internet, our Ipad, and yes, even our cell phones. We can begin to listen to natural sounds, listen to silence, and listen to each other, now there is a novel thing to do, and begin to listen for the still, soft voice of God trying so hard to speak to us through our hardened hearts.

We can fast from not only food, and material things, but also everything that separates us from God. By fasting, we will be able to loosen the hold of all that rivals the place of God in our lives. The ancients called these distractions “idolatry.” Let us resolve to enter into our Holy Week fast with purpose and renewed in the peace of Christ that God, and only God, is the center of our being.