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March 6th, 2012
Can We Take Sundays Off From Our Lenten Sacrifice? No!

fastingonsundays-flashA lot of people will tell you that when you give something up for Lent, you can take a “cheat day” on the Sundays of Lent.  “Hogwash!” says Father Dave as he gets on his soapbox (his words). Good stuff.

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Published on: Mar 11, 2011

Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Dan

    no meat on fridays is a man made rule that was created to boost a failing fishing industry and has no religious meaning… control, rules, more control. seafood is meat too, but not to the church. so many rules, ever changing. i feel bad for you people, i truly do. 8 years of a private catholic school and 20+ years of church every sunday… it’s all bogus. if you live each day to the fullest, respecting life and the lives of others, ultimately trying to do good, then that is all god or jesus wants from us. spreading the good word, carrying out this work is not or never was about going to mass, repeating mindless songs, fasting or giving up something for lent. it’s about loving god and jesus through the love you show to the people around you, not just family or friend but everyone.

    • http://www.facebook.com/patricia.g.brodie Patricia Gallucci Brodie

      Hi Dan. I think you are right to recognize that it is about love. I am also a cradle Catholic and struggled with the seeming overemphasis on “rules” in my younger days. But what kept me hooked was the recognition that the Church was consistently defending human life at all stages. I just don’t see this happening in any consistent or organized way outside of the Church. That led me to study the faith and sacred scripture and through that I am finding more meaning in the practices of the faith – such as abstaining from meat on Fridays. Perhaps it was initially a directive motivated by economics (I don’t know for sure), but God will transform all things when we offer it to him in faith. All these things if done rightly will lead us to deeper love of God and others. Peace,

  • Kristi Ambrose

    I gave up things for lent simply to “better” myself and try to be a better “me”. I gave up pop (since I was er… am addicted), cussing, facebook lol. It might be stupid to other people, but it’s what I wanted to give up! I think even if I can give it up on Sundays I won’t, simply because I think that for me, as a person, I would get overpowered. So I choose to NOT “cheat” on Sundays.

    • Kristi Ambrose

      FYI my Birthday is on March 9th so that is going to stink, but oh well.

  • Bstar0306

    My birthday is ALWAYS during Lent except the years that Lent is SUPER SUPER LATE and we almost always end up at Red Lobster for dinner b/c we will decide to go out on a Friday :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/fkjuliano Fabio Juliano

    I don’t think giving up something that’s a sin is the first place, like gossiping, is a valid Lent sacrifice.

    • JuliePurple

      Jakareh, you certainly are entitled to your opinion. Do what works for you. But it’s not up to you to decide for anyone else what may or may not be a “valid” sacrifice. It’s not up to you. It’s up to the one performing the sacrifice. And really, why would you care? It’s got nothing to do with you.

      • Jakareh

        Here’s another opinion: that ridiculous equal sign has no place in a Catholic forum. Sodomy is not “equal” to marriage and never will be.

      • Terry

        Jakareh, I think you are missing a great chance to have conversation and seem to be offended that someone disagrees with you. Your tone seems biting here which isn’t an altogether Catholic response. I hope you pray about your responses. Christ was often himself challenged by those who disagreed with him. His response wasn’t generally get out. Just saying.

      • Jakareh

        He cleaned out the Temple, didn’t he? I don’t know how Jesus would react in any given situation, but neither do you.

      • JuliePurple

        Jakareh, whether or not the cleaning-out-the-temple myth is true, once again, it’s not up to you how people pray or why. So very much in this world is simply none of your business. Dude, you have some serious control freak issues. Just sayin’.

      • Jakareh

        So your friend can tell me to pray, but I can’t suggest he/she do the same? I think the Greeks came up with a word for that. Oh, yeah, hypocrisy.

      • JuliePurple

        Oops, yeah, you’re right, Terry (who, incidentally, I don’t know, so it’s rather silly to suggest he’s my friend. If I did know him, though, he might be. Hard to say) did suggest you pray. My bad; I didn’t notice that.

      • JuliePurple

        ?? I wasn’t mocking you. I was merely using a common contemporary conversational tag. You’re seeing insult where none was meant. Sad that you felt a need to mock Terry. It looks to me like he was sincerely offering a kind and sympathetic response. Oh, by the way, is this a sort of Zen version of what you wrote earlier: “I won’t bother responding”? It’s like a koan: what is the response that is not a response. :-D

      • JuliePurple

        Whoa, Jakareh, talk about getting one’s knickers in a twist! If you take my posting above, the one addressed to you, and substitute “marriage” for “sacrifice”, it still holds in response to your diatribe. (Okay, and substitute “ones getting married” for “one performing the sacrifice”. :-)

      • Jakareh

        Honestly, who do you think I will listen to, Christ’s Church or one more liberal spewing rot?

        And while I don’t necessarily have anything against someone of you ilk being on the receiving end of a diatribe, my post was too short to qualify as such.

      • JuliePurple

        Whoa, dude, you’re bucking for the Twisted Knickers of the Year award!
        Seriously, though, this thread is *supposed* to be about lent, not about who can mimic the Best Comic Book Villain of the Year. I mean, really, the degree of bigotry is way out there. (No pun intended :-) )

        And yes, I’m liberal, which seems to mean (according to your implications) compassionate and caring about being fair to everybody. Thanks! I appreciate the compliment. Really.

      • Jakareh

        I don’t read that many comics, but don’t the villains brag about their dastardly plans and laugh maniacally?

        Arguing with liberals always come down to the same thing: insults and nonsense. You can’t come up with rational arguments because you can’t think rationally. I mean, if you could you wouldn’t be liberals.

        You can write whatever else you want, but I won’t bother responding. You’ve wasted enough of my time.

      • JuliePurple

        Dude, you’ve got the corner on the insults and nonsense market here (re-read your own postings), but that notwithstanding, you’re missing the point. I’ll reiterate: it’s not up to you to decide for other people how to live their lives. People who have a sense of fairness and compassion want people to be treated equally. And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that life is tough enough without adding “compulsory” restrictions to what is made up and voluntary to begin with. That’s getting back to the original topic of lent. All just my opinion, of course, which I am entitled to, as you are to yours. I have this vague suspicion that neither of us is going to end up in the other one’s camp any time soon. What do you think? :-)

    • Terry

      I couldn’t disagree with you more. Lent is about purification and trial. It is about an effort to bring our self more perfectly into harmony with Christ. That means that all that separates us should be brought into focus. If cussing keeps you from a more full communion with God then why not put that to trial and fix that issue. It can also mean that we add something like prayer or service into the mix. In truth I think whatever will help us to be closer to God is open.

  • Julie Hagan Bloch

    Zap, since nobody else seems to be answering, I’ll give it a shot here. Why not try to give up something that has been a causing a problem for you? For example, if you’ve been consistently late with your homework, give up putting it off: do it right away. Think of something you know is not good for you that you do anyhow, and give up that.
    I think the stuff about St. Patrick’s day was just joking around. Don’t worry about it. What God cares most about is love.

  • ZAP

    Father I am 12 and Iam wondering if we can do what we give up on St, Patrics day?

    plz send a reply

  • Julie Hagan Bloch

    But Claudia, it’s all voluntary anyhow. So of course you can take Fridays off. You can just skip the whole thing if you want to. Spirituality isn’t about nitpicky rules. It’s about love.

  • DickFOS

    I have rarely seen such a bunch of misunderstanding about Lent. Ember days were 4 times each year and were always days of fast and abstinence. Those in Lent were on the Wed., Fri., and Sat. following the First Sun. of Lent. For those too young or old to have to fast, there was no meat on the Wed. and Sat. If you care, the other sets were on the same weekdays folowing (a) Pentecost, (b) The Feast of the Holy Cross, Sep. 14, and (c) the Feast of St. Lucy, Dec. 13.
    Lent includes the tridium. The rules for fasting were specifically week days not Sundays.
    As for fasting on St. Pat’s day, it was part of Lent but many Bishops, especially those of Irish Descent and those who had a large Irish population, would usually give a blanket dispensation. Some Bishops with a large Italian population would give the same for the Feast of St. Joseph.
    There are 6 full weeks of Lent (36 days) and the 4 days starting on Ash Wed. gives us a nice round 40. Of course, this is one more day than Christ’s fast in the desert since the Jewish people, who wrote the Gospels, did not umderstand the concept of zero. Thus, we still speak of 3 days in the tomb when the elapsed time was less than 48 hours, or 2 days.

  • Claudia Negron

    Thank you , Thank you for finally clearing up this argument in our home, My husband believes you can “take off Fridays since he was told by a priest Friend and I always tell him NO you can’t, this has been going on for years.

  • Paul Loosemore

    With all due respect, God is Irish and with a surname like Dwyer I would think that there is a bit of Irish blood in you. It is my firm and unalterable conviction that God did not intend that our “lenten penances” be adhered to on this singularly celebratory day. Fr. Vincent Shea (RIP) a wee leprechaun of a priest strictly observed lent but on the glorious 17th he walked around town with his cane & topper and was known to have stopped in at “Ryan’s Pub” for a libation to quench his parched throat.

    What’s you take on observing lenten penance on the 17th?
    Do you think God really intended for St. Patrick’s Day to be part of Lent?

    Paul Loosemore
    Cambridge, Ontario, Canada

  • Jack

    People who think they know everything are annoying to those of us who do.

  • Julie Hagan Bloch

    Gosh, then that kinda makes you wonder if there’s a prohibition against buttoning your shirt the wrong way. Or maybe sneezing incorrectly. That Synod of Gangra, gotta hand it to them, they sure were masters of micromanaging! I mean, really! Didn’t they have anything else to DO?

  • Henry

    The Synod of Gangra (ca. 358) Canon 18 states “If anyone under pretence of asceticism shall fast on Sunday, let him be anathema.” Lenten sacrifices are optinal but the early church fathers’ condemned the practice of doing them on Sunday if done for ascetic reasons.

  • Julie Hagan Bloch

    Just because any given organization teaches something doesn’t mean it’s correct or right. The church is not infallible. This is not good news for people who are afraid to think. We have brains for a reason. And again, it is nobody else’s business what an individual decides. Too many people think that they will somehow gain in spiritual stature by nitpicking others’ lives and deeds. It’s not the little rules that count for so much, really. It’s the big picture: how kind are you? How helpful? How much can you look at people and this earth with love and a spirit of wishing well? How much can you avoid making harsh judgements with your limited understanding? How much can you do what you think in your heart is right, rather than following some rule that causes harm?

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