This Week's Reflection
As Lent begins Wednesday with Ash Wednesday, there are always questions about the Fast and Abstinence laws of the Church that come up during the season of Lent. Two days to remember are Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. On these days we must Fast and Abstain. On all Fridays during Lent we are bound to Abstain. The law of abstinence requires a Catholic 14 years of age until death to abstain from eating meat on Fridays in honor of the Passion of Jesus on Good Friday. Meat is considered to be the flesh and organs of mammals and fowl. Moral theologians have traditionally considered this also to forbid soups or gravies made from them. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles and shellfish are permitted, as are animal derived products such as gelatin, butter, cheese and eggs, which do not have any meat taste. Abstinence from meat on Fridays is obligatory in the United States as elsewhere, and it is sinful not to observe this discipline without a serious reason (physical labor, pregnancy, sickness etc.). The law of fasting requires a Catholic from the 18th Birthday [Canon 97] to the 59th Birthday to reduce the amount of food eaten from normal. The Church defines this as one meal a day, and two smaller meals which if added together would not exceed the main meal in quantity. Usually about the size of a fist is a portion of the main dish (ie. tuna salad). Of course those 59 years old or older should keep the fast if physically able. Also those children under 18 should fast if possible as well.
Sub Tuum Praesidium,
Some people have noticed the chalk above the doors (MMCM BXX). This comes from the Epiphany blessing. On the vigil of the Epiphany the priest can bless Epiphany water which is a very powerful type of holy water. In the ancient blessing the priest places many prayers and exorcisms on the water. This water is then used along with the incense and chalk that was blessed during the blessing of a house or location. It is a very powerful blessing for sanctifying a location and driving out evil. At the end of the blessing the priest inscribes on the doorways the year MMXX and the blessing Christus Mansionem Benedicat “Christ bless this house” also representing the names of the three kings: Caspar, Melchior, Balthasar.
Sub Tuum Praesidium,