Saturday, January 18, 2014

Do You Know The Precepts of The Church?



The 6 Precepts of the Church (The Duties of a Catholic)
  1. To go to Mass and refrain from servile work on Sundays and holy days
  2.  To go to Confession at least once a year (traditionally done during Lent) (AT LEAST)
  3.  To receive the Eucharist AT LEAST once a year, during the Easter Season (known as the "Easter duty")
  4.  To observe the days of fasting and abstinence 
  5.  To help to provide for the needs of the Church according to one's abilities and station in life
  6.  To obey the marriage laws of the Church
I am going to focus on one of these today.
The 4th Precept.
Observing the days of fasting and abstinence.
A couple years ago, our priest at the time,
gave a wonderful homily talking about this particular Precept.
I am so happy he did.
First I'll explain the difference between fasting and abstaining.
Fasting:
Catholics are only required to fast on Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, and on Good Friday, the day that Jesus Christ was crucified. Anyone over the age of 18, but under the age of 60, should eat only one full meal on those days, although they can also have small amounts of food in the morning and the evening. Pregnant and nursing women are exempt from fasting, but are encouraged do some form of penance instead.
For more info go HERE

Abstaining:
Abstinence refers to the avoidance of particular foods. The most common form of abstinence is the avoidance of meat, a spiritual practice that goes back to the earliest days of the Church.






Now, the reason I was happy our priest went into depth about this Precept, 
was because of a part I did  not know about:

Many Catholics don't realize that Church still recommends abstinence on all Fridays of the year, not just during Lent. In fact, if we don't abstain from meat on non-Lenten Fridays, we're required to substitute some other form of penance.
(ages 14 and up)
(information taken from HERE)

 I had always thought it was just for Lent!
It is for ALL Fridays.
If we do not give up meat, which is allowed in the United States,
we need to give up something else.

In a spirit of sacrifice for our Lord, who was crucified on a Friday.

To be honest, I find giving up meat easier than 
something else, because I have a harder time remembering to pick something else.

I guess I have a question for you, 
because I see so many different things out there on this subject.
It seems some know about this rule, and some do not.

Some do it and some do not.

Now that you know, you know,  you must though, right?

Another questions is:
Do you do it?



39 comments:

  1. Yes, my family abstains on Fridays (unless it is a solemnity). We have observed this practice since our "return" to tradition, seven years ago. Abstaining has taken on a whole new level of penance in our homes over the last two years since we've gone gluten-free.

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    1. Oh, gosh, yes, Lena, abstaining from gluten, is a sacrifice!

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    2. We also abstain on all Fridays ....as a child we only abstained during Lent, but since returning to traditionalism (like Lena) , we have made it a habit. It's hard to remember this though since I didn't grow up this way.

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  2. Wow, I learned something today from you. In our church, we fast on the first Sunday of the month with a special prayer intention in mind. The cost of the food we abstain from is then donated to help the poor.

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  3. Very interesting Deb, I did not know that about your faith either! We do not sacrifice on Sundays, as it is considered a "feast day", the day Jesus resurrected.

    There are also many Catholics that fast on Wednesdays for the unborn and/or the conversion of sinners....can't remember which and it is not a precept of the Church.

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  4. I did learn this a few years ago, but sorry to say we have yet to implement it. We gave it a try, but it just never really got going properly. Thank you for bringing this up. Now I have to do the tough job of going to my family and reminding them.
    Will you do a post on refraining from servile work on Sundays (and Holy Days, which I didn't know....)? My kids have asked me about this one, but since my family never practiced it, and we were never really taught about it in Catholic school (me or my kids!), I am embarrassed to say I don't really understand exactly what that means.

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    1. Robin, I had "heard" also about it, through others and only "tried" to do it...but when it came straight from the priest, I knew I had to check it out and now I follow it. We do Seton Religion (started last year) and they explain it as being pretty serious if we do not do it...can't remember the exact words...along the lines as it being a sin, if we know and do not abstain from something.

      We didn't grow up doing these things either, and priests do not speak enough on it. (my opinion)

      Maybe I will post on each Precept...that Sunday one, we try but are not perfect on it. I'll do the Sunday one next....

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  5. Yes, we abstain from meat on most Fridays during the year. If we do eat meat on a Friday (say, while we are traveling and stop at McD's) we pray a Divine Mercy Chaplet. Obviously, during Fridays in Lent we always abstain. I never knew about this (all Fridays are penetential) until I had my own kids. I wish it were more publicized. Thanks for helping with that!

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    1. Amy, the funny thing is, we switched to Seton Religion after hearing this priest talk about this-- and it is right in there. Plain, simple and in black and white!

      That's a really good idea to do a chaplet instead when you cannot!
      People should talk more about it. It's serious. And at the same time, it's not a big deal, it's like people are afraid to really be Catholic. I think it has a lot to do with that stigma, of "Catholics fasting" Priests have shyed away from preaching it. I know the priests in our diocese would answer the question of what it means correctly, but rarely do they preach about it. They all (priests) need our prayers.

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  6. I just love you, for sharing the obvious that so many Catholics are uninformed on - thank you, thank you!

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  7. We do practice this, although we do an alternative penance when traveling. Important to note...pregnant and nursing women are exempt from fasting, although they may do an alternate penance. (I had a Canon lawyer priest reassure me that I shouldn't fast when pregnant with my first!)

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    1. Thanks Michelle, I will add that, but I'd hoped people would click over the links and find out for themselves! haha!! (less typing for me!)

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  8. I actually did know this. Instead, I *try* to give up coffee on Fridays. I won't say I have the best track record though...

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    1. Jeni--that's how I started when I "kind of" knew (before the priest's homily) I'd "try" to give up Diet Coke, and then forget by afternoon...the meat thing has been the only thing I seem to remember, it's one thing and the same every week.

      We are like toddlers, too many choices just don't work. haha!!

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  9. This was very enlightening for me. I have friends and relatives who are Catholic, but I don't think any of them follow this the way you've explained it.

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    1. I think, at least in my experience, somewhere in the learning of the faith, a lot has been lost. (in my generation) I know, my folks thought we were learning it in our religious education classes we had on Wednesday nights. (during the school year) We were not. That was just a big goof off time. (that's how I remember it)

      If we know our faith, we can pass it down to our children. That being said, I did not know my faith til I was an adult and looked for it, wanted to know why we do the things we do.

      I kind of think a lot priests are sometimes afraid of teaching this stuff, because it's hard. It's hard to teach what the world thinks is dumb. At the same time, we yearn for truth and all things holy. I read that these precepts are to help us to follow the 10 Commandments better.

      I'd say your friends and relatives don't even know.

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  10. Jamie babes, I do know about his part of Church law and I wrote about it (can't remember which blog) when my son went to the Pontifical seminary for a weekend and they had meat on Friday and I was like "what the ****?" I stopped abstaining for a while, but now I post meatless Friday recipes at catholicmom.com, so we are back to it. I asked our former pastor about it once because my mom nearly accused me of being "holier than thou" and he implied that most people chose the "something else" but I don't think most people know they are supposed to be abstaining at all. The Catholic schools all serve meat every Friday except during Lent.

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    1. Barbara--
      I do not think people do the "something else"...maybe some individuals do. The meatless thing is a good way to teach a whole family. (that's what I think) It's harder to say to each person in a family, "What are you giving up today?" than it is to just across the board give up meat.

      That's a shame about the seminary...I've seen a lot of things like that. Somewhere along the way, people forgot the significance of fasting and abstaining.

      Everyone wants what is easy.

      I do not eat that much meat, but I find it harder to cook for the family meatless...my husband is a meat and potatoes man...

      I'm sure I saw your post...it was probably in the times of me not knowing the RULES....or that it is still a RULE.


      Marked your Catholicmom.com thing...COOL!

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  11. I would be amazed if most Catholics knew anything about the faith....anyhoo...We don't fast from meat every Friday mainly because it was something that we never grew up doing???!! but we do fast from desserts every Wed. and Fri. because of Medjigorie(sp)from Our Lady's request to fast every wed. and fri. We need to work on the no sunday work thing. that is so hard. Giving up meat, to me ,is not as hard as I think they had it back when...when they needed that nourishment because people just worked so hard. Giving up all electronic doo-hickies would be better for this house!!!!

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    1. I agree Christine. I surround myself with really good Catholics, like yourself, that know the faith though! We never grew up doing it either. I really think the faith has been lost in our generation. Our parents thought we were learning it, or thought we just knew. Or maybe our parents did not know the WHY of what they did and therefore could not teach it to us.

      I knew the Wednesday thing was from something....I'd forgotten. We don't have dessert that much, mostly on Sundays. So that would not work for us. When they say "What's for dessert?" I say "Fruit!" Do you know what the fasting is for? Is it for the conversion of sinners? Is it for the unborn?

      I can't remember...

      The giving up meat is not hard for me, I don't eat that much, but it is harder to plan meals without meat for the family. More because Tom is such a meat and potatoes kind of guy. It's like if there's no meat, he's hungry an hour later for popcorn. Which is why it's a sacrifice. It's harder to specifically plan something like this, than to just not do anything right?

      If you are doing the Wed/Fri fasting from dessert, then you are doing "something else". Good for you!

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  12. We started the meatless Friday thing after Stephen attended a high school seminary in IN. We've had an occasional Friday night celebration (baptism, birthday, etc.) and had meat, then totally forgot the penance thing for the day. I have to say it was hard going meatless at first because a number of our kids were teenagers when we started. Got a lot of flack from them. Maybe it's a guys and meat thing. Then I got creative with the menu and they were more agreeable. Wish this were taught more, like at Adult Faith Formation, for one.
    At the little country hospital out by us, they have a meatless Friday menu. Love that!! (Wish they still delivered babies, though)

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    1. Kim!
      I'd done it on and off for years, til I heard this priest speak and refer to specific documents, like I needed proof. Now, I have reason. I do it because we are supposed to. It's part of our faith.

      You are right about the guys and meat thing. My husband needs that meat. He's not too excited about the fact we do meatless Fridays, it's more of a sacrifice for him I think. He's hungry an hour later.

      I'd love to see some of your recipes for Fridays.
      That is so great that the hospital by you does that.
      No babies, though? Why? Do you need them to?

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    2. I think we used a lot of excuses to not go meatless. Start. Stop. Start. Stop. Once Dan was on board, it just became a habit (as in good habit).

      I was all set to deliver Francis at that sweet little hospital. Then they changed their policy 2 mths before he was born. No...I don't need it now. But you never know about the future....I'm only 44....and a half!

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    3. You're older than me....you're older than me!! hahaha! I will be the 1/2 part in March. Geesh, I sound like my kids.

      I'm hoping too...for me and you!

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  13. My parents are Polish immigrants, and in our household Friday is strictly meatless, as abstaining from meat on Fridays is required in Poland!

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    1. Evita, you just taught me something! My sister-in-law always abstained from meat every Friday. She is Polish. Now I know why she never batted an eye on the matter.

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    2. Evita! SO glad you mentioned this! You are right, because the abstaining from meat is only--ONLY lifted in the United States!! (I think, if I'm remembering right, it's because it's really not much of a sacrifice here?)

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  14. Hence the reason I do my meatless recipes. I haven't always been good about it. In fact, the price of meat is so staggering, it is easy for me to go meatless on Friday…and I feel guilty about that. I think I should add to my abstinence…

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    1. I Know Patty!! Every time I've seen one of your wonderful posts, Meatless ones, I've wanted to write a post about this! Just the inconsistencies among Catholics, I think, it HAS to be because they don't know, right?

      We all should add to our abstinence...but that's another post!

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  15. Hi Jaime Jo! Well, I am old enough to remember meatless Fridays all year long (cough, cough!). It was a big thing when the abstinence was changed to just Lent. And there was no little discussion about it too. I do know that now we are to remember to make a sacrifice of some kind on Fridays.

    Getting up and going to mass is a good way to fill that. Or some time in Adoration.
    I have moved! I'm now blogging at http://www.ceilryan.com It was a hard change, but I hope I'll learn to love it.
    Blessings, Ceil

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    1. Hi Ceil!!
      I agree with the Mass thing, (the getting up early part!-haha) The Mass part is more of a luxury...I yearn for Mass.

      Don't you think it's all (the meatless stuff or sacrificing in general) just about making it a habit?

      I love your new blog!

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  16. Hi Jamie Jo! I thought I left a comment here but must not have published it. Anyway, I wanted to pass on three awards to your blog --because I enjoy reading them and hope you never go away. Here are the deets if you are interested in accepting them http://anabellehazard.blogspot.com/2014/01/move-over-golden-globe.html

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    1. Oh, Annabelle, you are so sweet! Hmmmmm....I have to think of 10 things...be patient with me, I'll try to post it sometime!

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  17. And by the way, we also abstain from meat of Fridays.

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  18. This is awesome, I'm pinning it. You share so much, and it is all soo good!!!

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  19. Thank you. I am not a Catholic but have a great deal of respect for your faith and love learning about it. I appreciate this post. :-)

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  20. Thank you Deb! I understand you fast on Sundays, right? How do you fast? Is it bread and water or a specific sacrifice? I love the idea of giving that money that would have been spent on food, to the poor or to the church. We do that during lent, the money is put into a "rice bowl" not sure why it's called that....Rice for the poor?

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Thank you so much for stopping and commenting!

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