Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Something for Friday

Okay, so it's not Friday, but early warning gives you a chance to mull it over and make plans. Did you know that even though abstinence on Fridays is now optional, its correlated penitential requirement is not? Of course, if you're reading this blog you probably do, but if not a quick refresher on two points. First, Catechism no. 1438:

The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent, and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church's penitential practice. These times are particularly appropriate for spiritual exercises, penitential liturgies, pilgrimages as signs of penance, voluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, and fraternal sharing (charitable and missionary works).
and then Canon 1250:
The penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.
So all that tells you that you have to do something. But being the hard-headed people that we are we always want to know "why" before we'll change anything. Fr. Dwight Longenecker has a very good post on this subject that should make you think pretty hard about taking up this venerable practice once again. Indeed, it reaffirmed my desire to make this more a part of my prayer routine.
Here are ten good reasons for fasting on Friday. First, it gives you a penitential day in the week. This penitential day reminds you that you are a sinner. When you fast you feel bad and this reminds you that it is because of your sins that you should feel bad. It's very important for the spiritual life to have a day of penitence each week because it is very easy to forget we are sinners and fall into the complacent mind set that we are really ok people.
Get the rest here.