Often, we show our love by sacrificing, by giving something up. Sacrifice, in its various forms, out of love for the Lord Jesus is a powerful action that can yield great graces. For these reasons, the bishops of the United States have encouraged Catholics to make every Friday a day of self-denial and penitential witness in memory of the Lord’s ultimate sacrifice for us.
Among the works of self-denial that the bishops have especially commended is abstinence from meat by free choice. Self-denial can also take the form of giving something up that we most enjoy, or committing ourselves to works of charity. More recently, the bishops have invited Catholics to consider fasting and abstaining from meat on Fridays out of a special concern for issues pertaining to life, marriage, and religious liberty. This is something we can all do together. Make a personal pledge to join in this very important effort.
Here are some suggestions to consider each Friday as you pray for the weekly intention:
- Abstain from any particular food or beverage
- Fast (one full meal and two smaller meals which do not equal one full meal)*
- Offer up the day’s inconveniences
- Give up some form of entertainment for the day
- Give up anything else of your choice
*Abstain from meat and/or fast on Fridays
- Fasting and abstinence unites us to the redemptive suffering and death of our Lord. "The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent, and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church's penitential practice." - Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1438
- The practice of fasting: In the Latin Catholic Church, the penitential practice of fasting allows a person to eat one full meal each day. Two smaller meals may be taken, not to equal one full meal. Take a look at the USCCB Fast & Abstinence resources. In particular see the USCCB's Pastoral Statement on Penance and Abstinence and the complementary norm to canon 1253.
Sign up for a weekly reminder by entering your email and selecting "Call to Prayer - Friday Fast Reminders" or by texting FAST to 55000.