Monday, February 27, 2006

Don't be slow to fast

From the Apostolic Constitutions (c. 390):

"If any bishop, priest, deacon, lector, or cantor does not fast the fast of forty days, or the fourth day of the week [Wednesdays] and the day of the Preparation [Fridays], let him be deprived, unless he is hindered by weakness of body. But if he is one of the laity, let him be suspended."

Most practicing believers are familiar with the reason for the custom of the Friday abstinence (in honor of the crucifixion). Not as many are aware of the fact that Wednesdays are also a traditional day for fasting (and among Anglicans, for reciting the Great Litany). According to the Third Council of Constantinople (680), here's why the day is significant:

"Wednesday is to be fasted, because the Jews conspired to betray Jesus; Friday, because he then suffered for us. We keep the Lord's Day as a day of joy, because then the Lord rose for us."

No comments: