Lent 2018

DAY 5: Sunday, February 18th (Midnight Eucharistic Fast until consumption of Holy Communion)

1917 Fast Observance Today: None. 

1917 Eucharistic Fast*: Fasting from midnight until consumption of Holy Communion at Mass today. 

*Applicable to healthy adults between ages of 21-60 (some exemptions exist – see 1917 Fast: The Specifics)

1917 Abstinence Observance Today: None. 

Potential Prayer(s): The Sorrowful Mysteries

Potential Fast Intention: For all those homeless and suffering from the weather this cold winter.

Potential Give: Go beyond financial donations and consider performing one of the corporal and/or spiritual works of mercy.  Choose one of the seven corporal works of mercy or one of the seven spiritual works of mercy.

Comments of the Day: There is one more formal penitential requirement of the Church beyond fasting and abstinence, and that is the Eucharistic fast.  The custom of fasting before the Eucharistic arose after the third century and was mandated by early councils.  The 1917 Code requirements were issued under the pain of mortal sin if not adhered.

In the 1917 Code of Canon law, the midnight Eucharistic fast was instituted in Canon 701 (emphasis added in bold):

  1. Those who have not kept the natural fast from midnight are not allowed to receive [Holy Communion], except in danger of death, or in case it should become necessary to consume the Blessed Sacrament to safeguard it against irreverence.

The Eucharistic fast is a fast from food and drink, including water and medicine. The moral theology tradition teaches that to be food it must be:
a) edible,
b) taken by mouth, and
c) swallowed.

In addition to breakfast, lunch and dinner, candies, breath mints, lozanges and anything that is put into the mouth to be dissolved or chewed meets these conditions once the dissolved contents are swallowed. Chewing gum does not break the fast, but it is disrespectful of the Sacred Liturgy and once the juice is swallowed the fast is broken.

Once Holy Communion is received and the Mass has ended today, no fasting and abstinence should be performed, in honor and celebration of our Lord’s Holy Sacrifice and Glorious Resurrection.

Enjoy the Lord’s Day by eating and resting from servile work – our God commands it we take care of ourselves, spend time with our family and relax today!

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