Author Topic: Fasting support group  (Read 586 times)

Offline Jayne

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Fasting support group
« on: June 04, 2020, 06:50:54 AM »
Some of the members of this forum have decided to form a support group for fasting.  Here is the thread where we discussed it: https://www.suscipedomine.com/forum/index.php?topic=23948.0


We wanted a subforum for collecting resources and discussing our experiences and ideas.  We have taken Our Lady as our patroness and, with Kaesekopf's permission, will be using this subforum.

Fasting is both an spiritual tradition going back to the beginning of the Church and a therapeutic practice for physical healing.  In both these aspects, it can be powerful and also dangerous.  In Scripture, we read of people who did religious fasts to show off and as a source of pride.  That is the spiritual danger.  Because of physical dangers, there are various kinds of people who should not fast: children, pregnant and nursing women, and people with eating disorders.  Anyone on medication needs to discuss with his doctor how to fast safely. Over time a habitual fasting practice may require that some medications (eg. for blood pressure or diabetes) be adjusted.  Ideally anyone who decides to start fasting should discuss it with a doctor and a spiritual director first.

As a group, we have decided to adopt the ancient Catholic practice of fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays.  As individuals, we each choose a form of fasting that is suitable for us.  It might be a water-only fast.  It might the one meal, two collations fast used pre-Vatican II.  It might simply be a matter of refraining from snacks and/or sugar that day.  Similarly, we each adapt the prayers and almsgiving that should accompany fasting.

The SSPX accepts the rules for fasting and abstinence as stated in the 1983 Code of Canon Law as obligatory, but encourages its associates to follow the practices which preceded this.  Most traditional Catholics (regardless of how they understand the Crisis in the Church)  follow older fasting practices:

Abstinence was obligatory on all Fridays, except on Holy Days of Obligation outside of Lent.Fasting and complete abstinence were obligatory on the following days:
Ash Wednesday
Fridays and Saturdays in Lent
Good Friday
Holy Saturday (until midnight) 
Ember Days (Wednesday, Friday and Saturday)
Vigil of PentecostVigil of Christmas
possibly Vigils of the Immaculate Conception and All Saints (these were omitted from the 1962 calendar and trads differ)

Partial abstinence - Fasting and partial abstinence were obligatory on all other weekdays of Lent (i.e., Monday through Thursday—Friday was always complete abstinence); this meant that meat could be eaten at the principal meal on these days.

As a group, we are adding to these fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays, based on the early Church practice.  These fasts were voluntary rather than obligatory and so it is with us.
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Online mikemac

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Re: Fasting support group
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2020, 02:12:33 PM »
Fridays and Saturdays in Lent?

This is just an SSPX rule, isn't it?

I thought it was Wednesdays and Fridays in Lent.

https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06715a.htm
Quote
... Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in Lent are the old feriæ legitimæ, the official days of penance ...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fasting_and_abstinence_in_the_Catholic_Church
Quote
Fasting and abstinence in the Catholic Church
...
History
...
Early Christians practiced regular weekly fasts on Wednesdays and Fridays (and Orthodox Christians continue to do so).
...
Lent
...
In the early 20th century, Church law prescribed fasting throughout Lent, with abstinence only on Friday and Saturday. Some countries received dispensations: Rome in 1918 allowed the bishops of Ireland to transfer the Saturday obligation to Wednesday;[citation needed] in the United States, abstinence was not required on Saturday. ...

I'm not a member of an SSPX chapel and I don't plan on being.  So I'll continue to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays during Lent, plus abstain every Friday through the year.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2020, 02:16:13 PM by mikemac »
Like John Vennari (RIP) said "Why not just do it?  What would it hurt?"
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Offline Lynne

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Re: Fasting support group
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2020, 03:00:53 PM »
Mikemac,

From the link to the other thread that Jayne provided (and that you participated in)...

Quote
And I found out where the custom of fasting on Wednesday and Friday comes from:
Quote
(Didache 8:1) Do not fast with the hypocrites. They fast on Monday and Thursday, so you fast on Wednesday and Friday*


That makes it totally ancient and venerable.  The Didache is really early and important.  According to Wikipedia: "The Didache may have been compiled in its present form as late as 150, although a date closer to the end of the first century seems more probable to many."
« Last Edit: June 04, 2020, 03:03:18 PM by Lynne »
In conclusion, I can leave you with no better advice than that given after every sermon by Msgr Vincent Giammarino, who was pastor of St Michael’s Church in Atlantic City in the 1950s:

    “My dear good people: Do what you have to do, When you’re supposed to do it, The best way you can do it,   For the Love of God. Amen.”
 
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Offline Jayne

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Re: Fasting support group
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2020, 03:04:45 PM »
Fridays and Saturdays in Lent?

This is just an SSPX rule, isn't it?

I thought it was Wednesdays and Fridays in Lent.

I think the SSPX guideline is based on some countries that did it that way in the last century.  But the older practice is, like you say, Wednesdays rather than Saturdays, in addition to Fridays during Lent.

As I've been reading over the history of fasting, I've seen quite a bit of variation in different times and places.  We could do just about anything we want now and have a historical precedent for it.   :)
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine.
 
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Offline MundaCorMeum

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Re: Fasting support group
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2020, 04:44:06 PM »
Quote
We could do just about anything we want now and have a historical precedent for it. 

Except Mondays.  We still can't do those.  The Didache stipulation was to "not fast with the hypocrites"....so, the current 'Meatless Mondays' trend is out, which is a bummer.  I love a good alliteration  :cheeseheadbeer:
« Last Edit: June 04, 2020, 04:46:51 PM by MundaCorMeum »
 

Offline Jayne

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Re: Fasting support group
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2020, 05:39:41 PM »
Quote
We could do just about anything we want now and have a historical precedent for it. 

Except Mondays.  We still can't do those.  The Didache stipulation was to "not fast with the hypocrites"....so, the current 'Meatless Mondays' trend is out, which is a bummer.  I love a good alliteration  :cheeseheadbeer:

The "meatless Monday" thing comes from people who are saying a lot of nonsense about meat being unhealthy and bad for the planet.  So I wouldn't want to abstain from meat on Mondays anyhow, no matter how appealing the alliteration is, because I don't want to be associated with them.

I think my current pattern of eating and fasting can be described as


I don't always eat, but when I do I eat meat.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine.
 
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Offline Vetus Ordo

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Re: Fasting support group
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2020, 09:58:57 PM »
Isn't the Lord the only one supposed to know about your fasting?

But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that your fasting will not be obvious to men, but only to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (Matt. 6:17-18)
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Re: Fasting support group
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2020, 10:10:39 PM »
Well we are not saying how we fast.  And it's voluntary.  This thread is to just discuss the traditional days of fasting.  Traditionally they must have talked about that, otherwise they wouldn't have known when to fast.  :)
Like John Vennari (RIP) said "Why not just do it?  What would it hurt?"
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Offline LausTibiChriste

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Re: Fasting support group
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2020, 03:36:09 AM »
Isn't the Lord the only one supposed to know about your fasting?

But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that your fasting will not be obvious to men, but only to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (Matt. 6:17-18)

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Offline Jayne

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Re: Fasting support group
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2020, 09:56:49 AM »
Isn't the Lord the only one supposed to know about your fasting?

But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that your fasting will not be obvious to men, but only to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (Matt. 6:17-18)

This is a good question and I had already thought about it quite a bit before you asked.  The Church does not treat this passage as an absolute command.  Rather, it is an illustration of the principle in the immediately preceding verse:

"And when you fast, be not as the hypocrites, sad. For they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward."

If the Church were treating this as an absolute command, we would not have ashes imposed on Ash Wednesday because that goes against the words "wash your face."  Rather, the point is that we should not fast in a hypocritical way, trying to show off to make others think we are holy.

Another way we know that the Church has not interpreted this passage to mean that only the Lord is supposed to know about one's fasting is that, for centuries, the standard advice for anyone fasting beyond the minimum obliged by the Church is that he should consult his spiritual director.

We are living in a time in which merely finding a traditional Mass can be a struggle. Most of us are not going to have spiritual directors who can guide us through rediscovering the ancient practice of fasting.  We have formed a support group with the idea that it can compensate, to some extent, for this lack of spiritual direction.  We are making it open to the rest of the forum, thinking that others can benefit from seeing our resources and experiences.

I am not concerned that talking about fasting is going to make me look holy.  For one thing, it is pretty obvious from my posts in general that I'm not.  For another, the way that I came to fasting exposes my lack of spiritual maturity.

For me, I did not come to fasting as a development of a strong prayer life or growth toward asceticism.  I am a spiritual wimp as far as that sort of thing goes. I started fasting for its physical benefits to heal my various health conditions. This was completely selfish and unspiritual.  Only later did I start thinking about how to sanctify this and learn about how fasting fits in with Catholic tradition.

There isn't anything wrong with doing it this way.  After all, grace builds upon nature.  But it does not make me look good.  There just isn't anything to show off about.  Other people in the group may be at risk of "looking holy" if they talk about their experiences of fasting and they should be careful about it.  People are free to share or not share according to their individual situations.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine.
 
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