Point/Counterpoint: Fasting on Sundays

Therese’s Take: No Need to Fast On Sundays

To fast on Sundays, or to not. That is the question.

Really, it’s not morally wrong one way or the other. But if you actually add up the 40 days that the Church prescribes for us, that doesn’t include Sundays.

Also, Sundays — even during Lent — are feast days. Meaning, we aren’t supposed to fast; we’re supposed to celebrate and remember the Lord’s Resurrection.

It’s a foretaste of the glory to come during our liturgical time of remembering that Christ suffered and died for us.

We can’t have the Cross without the Resurrection. And vice versa.

However, if you’re giving up complaining, for example, this doesn’t mean that you’re allowed to not be virtuous on Sundays. Use common sense here, folks.

But if you gave up something like watching movies, it’s okay to do that. But also don’t binge yourself. If your whole goal was to focus more on God and less on the things you’re too attached to, again…common sense, folks.

If it helps, have an accountability partner this Lent to ask how your fast is going.

But my point is, celebrate the Lord’s Day. Do things that give you life. We have to remember the celebration as well as the solemnity of Christ’s suffering.

So eat that cake on Sunday. Take a nap. Rest.

Just don’t get too crazy.

Jonathan’s Take: Fasting on Sundays Might Be Helpful

While it’s true that Lenten Sundays aren’t technically included in the 40 days, you may find it helpful to continue your fast on Sundays.

The decision of fasting through Sundays often comes down to the type of fast and the type of person doing the fast.

Here’s a (non-exhaustive) list of reasons you might find continuing your fast on Sundays helpful:

  • You really like the thing from which you’re fasting, and partaking of it on Sunday will make you much more likely to break your fast during the week. If that’s the case, then fasting, even on Sunday and other solemnities during Lent, might be a good idea.
  • You’re fast is related to instilling a daily habit you’d like to continue even after Lent. With that type of goal in mind, you may find the consistency of doing (or not doing) something every day for 46 days may be more helpful than doing it for 40 days, 6 days at a time.
  • You like just happen to like the idea of a nice, long fast. While I wouldn’t recommend skipping the celebrations the Church gives us throughout the entire year, I wouldn’t argue with someone to wanted to do as much as they could to stay in a solemn and penitential mood for the entirety of Lent.

Please note: I am not trying to convince everyone reading this to keep up their Lenten fasts on Sundays. The break Sundays (and other Solemnities) provide can provide refreshment and joy for those celebrating them. I am, however, trying to bring to light some sensible reasons why someone might choose to continue their fasts on Sundays.

Whatever you choose to do on Sundays, you may find it helpful to decide whether or not your will fast on Sundays before the next Sunday comes along. This will give you time to make a decision based on how you want to do you fast instead of trying to figure it out in the moment and hoping you did what you wanted to do.

Have a great Lent, everybody!

Therese Bussen
Therese Bussen
Therese lives in glorious Denver, Colorado and grew up in the high desert area of Southern California (and knows what the Israelites felt like waiting in the desert to get to the Promised Land). She graduated from Benedictine College with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Art. When she's not hanging out with friends, Therese enjoys reading, writing, painting, drawing, designing (basically any kind of art), and dancing awkwardly on purpose. She also loves surprising people with her love of shotgun shooting and cigars. Also, a glass of wine is her favorite thing.

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