Lent 2018

Day 6: Monday, February 19th (Fasting and Partial Abstinence)

1917 Fast Observance Today*: Fasting, maximum food intake is one meal, along with two small meal (that together don’t equate to another full meal).  No snacking in between and no alcohol consumption today.  No high-caloric “drinks” like milkshakes, smoothies, etc.

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

1917 Abstinence Observance Today**: Partial abstinence, meaning that meat can be eaten only at the principal meal on these days

**Applicable to all age 7 and over.

Potential Prayer(s): The Sorrowful Mysteries

Potential Fast Intention(s): Those struggling with addiction to one of the seven deadly sins.  That they may repent, and turn to God for spiritual nourishment and mental renewal instead of their vice.

Potential Give(s): Identify someone, potentially a friend or family member, experiencing difficulty overcoming one of the seven deadly sins.   Perform an act of opposing virtue to counteract that sin and help heal and intercede on behalf of that person.

Fasting Inspiration for the Day: Brothers, Saints Cyril and Methodius, co-patron saints of Europe, venerated in the Byzantine Catholic Church as “Equals to the Apostles”


The Cyrillic alphabet owes its name to the 9th century Byzantine missionary St. Cyril, who, along with his brother, Methodius, created the first Slavic alphabet—the Glagolitic—in order to translate Greek religious text to Slavic.  Before creating the alphabet in use by nearly all Eastern Europeans today, Saint Cyril fasted for 40 days:

“In order to have great success with their preaching, they found it necessary to translate both the Holy and Liturgical books into the Slavonic language, since according to the words of Saint Cyril “to preach orally is the same as writing in the sand.” Before translating, it was necessary to devise Slavonic letters and compile a Slavonic alphabet. Toward such a difficult undertaking, Saint Cyril prepared himself using the example set by the Apostles, by prayer and fasting for 40 days. As soon as the alphabet was ready, Saint Cyril translated into Slavonic selections from the Gospel and Epistles.”

Comments of the Day:  Our 1917 fast covers the penitential rites issued by the Roman Catholic, Latin-rite Church between the years 1918-1983.  However, there are 22 Eastern Churches in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church, under the Pope (Bishop of Rome).  From what I’ve read, several observe stricter fasts than even the 1917 Code required of the faithful in the Latin Church.

In the Byzantine Catholic Church, the church that first declared both Cyril and Methodious as saints, a Great Fast is observed for all of Lent.  Their fast lasts 40 days, and includes Sundays. During the Great Lent, fasting means one meal a day from Monday to Friday, and abstinence from all animal products, including meat, fish with backbones, dairy products and eggs, as well as oil and wine for the entire period of Lent. Shellfish are permitted.

Fasting and abstinence are maintained on Saturdays, Sundays and on the eve of special feast days, although loosened to permit the use of oil and wine. On important feast days, such as the Annunciation and Palm Sunday, fish may be eaten.

Again, the Lenten fast in other rites of the Catholic Church are even stricter than the Latin rite was 100 years ago, let alone today.  Just some food for thought as we re-enter our fasting and abstinence this week – or rather, thought for food!

1 thought on “Day 6: Monday, February 19th (Fasting and Partial Abstinence)”

  1. Thanls for the information on the Byzantine Great Lent ! Indeed, they fast on Sundays and Saturdays (although with a less strict abstinence).
    Actually, the 1917 discipline is just the final stage of decomposition of the traditionnal Latin Lenten fast. When one reads Dom Prosper Guéranger’s “The Liturgical Year” one realises that in the mid-19th century, the traditionnal practice (which was often dispensed with, to Guéranger’s dismay) was continual abstinence from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. To the contrary, the 1917 Code dispenses with abstinence on Sundays and most weekdays.

    By the way, I don’t know if it’s the right place to do so, but I would like to point out that feasts, however high their rank, do not cancel the Lenten penance in the Roman tradition. It makes sens if one wants to keep a stricly 40-day long fast. The 1917 Code keeps that rule too.


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