Home / Articles / Lent / Lent, Abstinence And Fasting

Lent, Abstinence And Fasting

Lent is the time before Easter throughout which the devoted abstain and fast in remembrance of the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made on Calvary. It is a 40-day time of preparation before Easter, the memorial of the death and resurrection of Jesus. There are two main methods that Catholics make use of to focus on growing more in keeping withy the will of God throughout the Lenten season: abstinence and fasting.


Abstinence is the act of “doing without” or avoiding something. Somebody might refrain from chocolate or liquor by not consuming them. Specific days of abstinence throughout Lent are Fridays, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. As canon law states, Catholics over the age of 14 are expected to avoid the eating of meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays throughout the Lenten Season (Canon 1250 -1253).

Throughout Lent, Catholics are also motivated to undertake some sort of personal penance or abstinence. Examples consist of giving up sugary foods, a favorite TV show or not paying attention to the radio in the vehicle on the way to work. Giving up these things isn’t some sort of stamina test, however these acts are done to draw the devoted closer to Christ.

A person may give up his preferred TV show, however if he merely turns the television to another channel, the Lenten penance actually does not mean as much. Instead, the person needs to consider devoting the extra time to prayer or maybe his household.

As constantly, when considering acts of penance that are stricter than the norm, it is necessary that the Catholic would talk to a priest or spiritual director. Any act of penance that would seriously hinder one’s wellness or the health of others would be contrary to the will of God.


To fast means to do without of to do with less. In the Catholic Church, those ages 18 – 59 should fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday (Canon 97). On such days, those fasting could eat one square meal, as well as 2 smaller sized meals, adequate to keep strength. Together, the smaller meals must not equate to a full meal. Eating between meals should not be entertained, however liquids are allowed.

It is important to comprehend that the Church excuses specific individuals from these commitments. Examples consist of those who are frail, pregnant or manual labourers. The Church understands that certain people are not able to dedicate to the Lenten fast.

The time of Lent, with fasting and staying away, may be an important reminder of exactly what it suggests to suffer. This little suffering ought to not be met with suffering but with great joy as we much better understand the incredible sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for us men.

Shop for thousands of Catholic gifts at Aquinas and More