The 2018 Lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14, for Latin-rite Catholics with Easter Sunday on April 1.
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops asks that during Lent, we devote ourselves to seeking the Lord in prayer and reading Scripture, to service by giving alms and to sacrifice self-control through fasting. Many know of the tradition of abstaining from meat on Fridays during Lent, but we are also called to practice self-discipline and fast in other ways throughout the season. Contemplate the meaning and origins of the Lenten fasting tradition in this reflection.
In addition, the giving of alms is one way to share God’s gifts — not only through the distribution of money, but through the sharing of our time and talents. As St. John Chrysostom reminds us: “Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life. The goods we possess are not ours, but theirs.”
In Lent, the baptized are called to renew their baptismal commitment as others prepare to be baptized through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, a period of learning and discernment for individuals who have declared their desire to become Catholics.
The key to fruitful observance of these practices is to recognize their link to baptismal renewal. We are called not just to abstain from sin during Lent, but to true conversion of our hearts and minds as followers of Christ. We recall those waters in which we were baptized into Christ’s death, died to sin and evil, and began new life in Christ.
Catholics are also encouraged to make going to confession a significant part of their spiritual lives during Lent.
The following regulations regarding fasting and abstinence are observed in the United States:
Catholics ages 14 and over are to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all Fridays of Lent.
Individuals between 18 and 59 are also obliged to fast — eat one full meal — on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Eating two smaller meals is permitted to maintain strength, but eating between meals is not.
These obligations, however, do not apply to those whose health or ability to work would be seriously affected.
Full story at Catholic Voice Oakland.
Ash Wednesday is the same day as Valentine’s this year, and the fast and abstinence obligations still apply. For once it makes sense to celebrate Mardi Gras since chocolate hearts shouldn’t be consumed this February 14th. It’s OK, you’ll live.
You can consume chocolate hearts as long as it is part of your meal.
You have to abstain from meat not chocolate.
HaHa! So silly of you Anonymous, no wonder you did not leave your name :)
What’s silly about that post? It is correct.
Why the dis?
Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting and abstinence. Fasting means one full meal may be eaten. Two other small meals may be eaten, but together they should not equal a full meal Eating between meals is not permitted, but liquids are allowed. It is obligatory for those aged 18-59. Abstinence means all persons, 14 years and older, are obliged to abstain from meat
When health or ability to work would be seriously affected, neither the law of fasting nor the law of abstinence obliges.
I don’t give up chocolate for Lent. Don’t have to.
Oh please Anonymous – understand the point that Ash Wednesday is a day of fast and abstinence while Valentine’s is often a day of indulgence. Your personal chocolate habits are irrelevant and most readers will understand the candy reference is just a place holder to do, or not do, certain things during Lent. Perhaps you would give up being such a literalist, you could have just smiled :)
You might try a little smiling yourself, Kristin. Brand new experiences are often enjoyable.
Valentine’s day is a day of love. It is not a day of self-indulgence. If you take you loved one out to dinner or lunch, you just have to get a non-meat menu item. You can still give flowers or candy or something romantic. You can still fix a nice supper without meat. Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday are not incompatible.
Did you read that the bishop of San Jose just granted a dispensation from abstinence for Friday, February 16 because — get this — of Asian new year???? Of all the silly things and reasons.
The dispensation, as I understand it, is only for those who celebrate the Asian New Year or more appropriately called Lunar New Year.