Fast and Fasting


It has taken quite a long time, about 45 years to realize that fasting actually should have been taught a long time ago, but it is never too late to commence a new Catholic life.

Starting with the idea that "I" actually do not know anything about it, to try to accomplish four fasting periods during a year. And, we do have learnt a lot about it, and ourselves since 2020.

Fasting and abstinence are two seperate obligations where the abstinens is to refrain from something. It is a wonderful historical practise where you also have to trial your disciplines. It was also important to make a point early on, that Fasting is not a diet because there must be a spiritual touch to the activity. Then in due time, we also realized that the abstinence or the fasting are not only focusing on food.

    • Abstinence

    Wednesday - no meat products.

    Friday - no meat products.

    • All Fridays of the year, except when a Solemnity falls upon the Friday, are bound by the law of abstinence.

    • Ember-Days

      There are four Ember-days periods during the year. 
      Wednesday, Friday and Saturday are always the Ember days of the Ember-day period.

    • Vigils

      It can be wise to learn to use the different vigils as a day of fasting. Then the feast, really becomes a feast. 

      The Vigil of Christmas, Vigil of Epiphany, Vigil of the Pentecost, Vigil of the Assumption of Mary, Vigil of All Saints and the Vigil of St. John the Baptist.

    Here below is what we do today:

    • Lent
      Lent is the big habit of fasting before Easter. Some of us use the Septaguisima as a pre-fasting period.

    • The "20-day" St. John the Baptist Fast 
      It can become 20-days depending on when you actually start. It finishes on the vigil of St. John the Baptist's birthday which is June 23.

      You can use the May/June Ember days as a starting point, at the same time, it is more difficult with a fixed starting point, when most of Easter, Pentecost, Corpus Christi are floating. We have learnt that if we commence right after the Sacred Heart of Jesus feast, we have at least a fixed starting point. Then,
      it is up to you if you want to pre-start during the Corpus Christi octave. 
      It is not a required fasting period, but we like to make an offer to the Holy St. John the Baptist birthday.

      This is not the ortodox "Apostles' Fast" which continues passing the birthday of St. John.

    • The 14-day Assumption Fast
      This is not an obligatory Fast, but we believe it is a great start "after the summer vacation" to get back in order. 
      It starts on August 1 until the Vigil of the Assumption, (Aug 14). 

    • The 40-day St. Martin Fast
      This is a great "start" as it moves into the Advent season, and it connects to the Advent Fast, and/or the St. Andrew Fast.

    We have learnt the following:

    1. The Ember days of May/June can be used as a quick starting point, or sort of a pre-fasting period. BUT, there are two great octaves after Pentecost, which both are leading us all the way up to the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
      So, why not use the opportunity to both enjoy the birthday period, all the celebrations and feasts, up to the feast of Sacred Heart. We like to use the Ember days even though the days move and this does not give us a fixed date or day. When do we start a fast in relation to the St. John the Baptist birthday?

    2. Therefore, the pre-fasting period can be after the Ember days, depending on when they are (May or June), or after the Octave of Pentecost.
      The Octave of Pentecost is aperiod that is regarded as the Church’s second greatest feast, the first being Easter.
      We are in the birthday mood which is not optimal as a fasting period, in particularly as we quite recently had finished the Lent.
    3. If we focus instead on the Corpus Christi octave , which we may use as a pre-fasting period, it is eight days after the feast, and the eight days leads us to the feast of the Sacred Heart (which is related to St. Margaret Mary Alocque which then was fulfilled in 1856, when Pope Pius IX established the feast of the Sacred Heart). The Friday is fixed in relation to the octave of Corpus Christi.

    4. The pre-fasting may occur during the Corpus Christi octave, and this gives us eight days before the Blessed Sacrament, preparing ourselves to honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
      As it is a pre-fasting period, the feast of the Sacred Heart becomes a wonderful mark to then offer a fasting starting on the following Monday.

    5. This means therefore, that we have 14 days from the Monday after the Sacred Heart until the Vigil of the birthday of the Holy St. John the Baptist, which is celebrated on June 24.
      If you pre-fast during the Corpus Christi octave, and you do the fortnight until the Vigil, we have about 20 days, as an offer to both the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Holy St. John the Baptist.

    Practical vs Requirement

    What we have learnt over the years is that it takes time to get all bits in order, and we see this as a long-term project, so it is important that you manage to continue re-building your Catholic life.

    It is difficult to make a sudden change within your own family, if you or the family never have fasted. 

    You will learn to set your own goals, and you will find your own temptations buzzing around you.

    It may be the intake of food, or the habit of smoking, drinking, drugs, gambling, shopping, online-surfing, TV, porn, etc. 

    • You can add exercise to the period, where you extend your normal daily routines such as walking the stairs instead of taking the elevator, riding a bicycle to work instead of a subway or over-ground train. You may get off a busstop earlier and walk back, or walk your dog for an hour instead of a short stop by a bush.

    • It can be allowing yourself eating, but restricting your intake to less food on the plate, to eat home made vegetable soups instead of fast food. 

    • Maybe it is time to actually quit working when you are supposed to stop, and go home to your family.

    • Excessive vs Moderate are two useful keywords, a sin vs a virtue.

    A Missing Sentence in the Bible

    There is a missing piece, truly a missing piece which seems to be deliberately removed from many bibles.And, looking at ourselves, it becomes quite obvious thatthis missing piece, deliberately was removed from our own Catholic upbringing too.

    Matt 17:20 in Vulgate (which may be Matt 17:21) in other Bibles:

    "hoc autem genus non eicitur nisi per orationem et ieiunium"

    "But this kind is not cast out but by prayer and fasting."

    Mark 9:28 in Vulgate (which may be Mark 9:29) in other Bibles:

    "et dixit illis hoc genus in nullo potest exire nisi in oratione et ieiunio"

    "And he said to them: This kind can go out by nothing, but by prayer and fasting."

    Please do check your standard online Bible, and your printed copy if these two selections have been tampered with. The Commander Cross Rosary research often starts with going through books around 1910, to keep it consistant but also that it is shortly after the "Rosary-Pope", Leo XIII and the changes Pius X implemented.

    This above secion in the Bible concerns the disciples who failed to cast out demons, maybe with some pride around the task too, and they asked our Lord of why they failed.

    "And he said to them: ..."

    This means thatthe word and meaning "Fast" was given to us from our Lord as a mean against evil. If it was removed by a person, who made the decision? We do not know when it was removed.

    There are some footnotes stating that the Matt 17:29 is similar to Mark 9:29 and therefore was "considered" to have been added afterwards, hence removed today. But, if the sentence exist in the Vulgate, why removed from "modern" Bibles?

    Why not see it as part of our defense?