Clicks666
How Tough Was Your Lent? The Lenten fast for Catholics living in the third millennium means little to nothing. Perhaps they swap out the lunchtime burger for a Filet-o-Fish, and attend the …More
How Tough Was Your Lent?

The Lenten fast for Catholics living in the third millennium means little to nothing. Perhaps they swap out the lunchtime burger for a Filet-o-Fish, and attend the Stations of the Cross sporadically. This was very different up to the time of the so-called reforms in the 1960s. Today, only the Eastern Christian churches practice austerity during Lent. Meat, fish, dairy, and oil are generally prohibited for them during the Lenten season.

The rules for Lenten penance which St. Thomas Aquinas describes show that the Church was no different. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday were “black fasts.” This means no food at all. On the other days of Lent: no food until 3pm, the hour of Our Lord’s death. Water was allowed, or due to sanitary concerns, watered-down beer and wine. After the coming of tea and coffee, these beverages were permitted. No animal meats or fats were allowed. No eggs. No dairy products – that is, eggs, milk, cheese, cream, butter, etc. Sundays were less strict, but the fasting rules above remained.

Essentially, medieval Western Christians fasted during Lent on bread, vegetables and some salt. Fish was permitted, though uncommon. The Triduum of Holy Week was more severe than even the “Black Fast” mentioned earlier. The Good Friday fast began as early as sundown on Thursday, and lasted through the noon hour on Holy Saturday – when the early Church performed the Easter Vigil.

The prohibition of eggs and milk during Lent is perpetuated in the common custom of blessing eggs at Easter, and in the English usage of eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday – a way to use up the eggs and milk before the Lenten fast started. Hence the colloquial term still used by some today of “Pancake Tuesday.” Gradually, papal indults watered down these fasting rules first on Sundays, and then by allowing meat at least once on all the days of Lent except Fridays and Ash Wednesday.
Dr Bobus
In St Thomas' time (and up until 60 years ago) the Dominicans observed the Great Monastic Fast (or Long Lent), beginning on Sept 14 (Exaltation of the Cross).

Contemporary man usually has a life less difficult physically (good food, comfortable living) but more difficult psychologically (stress and anxieties). Obviously, in the 13th century no one boarded an airplane on Sunday to work 1000 …More
In St Thomas' time (and up until 60 years ago) the Dominicans observed the Great Monastic Fast (or Long Lent), beginning on Sept 14 (Exaltation of the Cross).

Contemporary man usually has a life less difficult physically (good food, comfortable living) but more difficult psychologically (stress and anxieties). Obviously, in the 13th century no one boarded an airplane on Sunday to work 1000 miles away, then return on Friday. Physicians weren't called at 2:30am for an emergency, then needed to be in the office for appointments at 8:00am.
Holy Cannoli
Soldiers (in this case an Italian 😉 ) periodically fast throughout the year in order to discipline mind and body.