Sunday, February 22, 2015

Go Coptic

Go Coptic

February 20, 2015 by William Luse

I finally took a look at the “Rules for Fasting and Abstinence” handed out by my parish church. It contains the “Current Discipline” and the “Traditional (1962) Discipline.” I think I can guess which my pastor prefers. In 1962, “Full abstinence was required on Ash Wednesday, all Fridays during the year, and the vigil of Christmas. Partial abstinence was required on all days of Lent, Wednesdays and Saturdays of the Ember weeks, and all vigils (except Christmas).”

“Fasting was required on Ash Wednesday, the three following days, all days of Lent, Ember days, and vigils.” Today, fasting is required on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. On Holy Saturday it is recommended but not required. Furthermore, “Abstinence obligations applied to those age 7 and older.” Now, the age is 14. Thus was I caught between thinking that the older discipline was better in the rigor of its demands, and being thankful that I didn’t become Catholic until 20 years later.

Then I get an email from a Catholic friend who was feeling sorry for himself that he couldn’t have his usual night-time snack, a chocolate covered protein bar. He had sacrificed it to the Lenten suffering. The next day, one of his co-workers who is a Coptic Christian told my friend about his (theirs, the Copts’) fasting regimen: “No meat, no dairy during the whole of lent, ONLY one full meal EVERY day, fasting began last Monday (prior to Ash Wednesday), and they are required to go to the church every day and pray, and to pray about 300 times individually per day.”

After that, my friend felt less sorry for himself. He still belongs to the Western Roman Rite, though. I told him that all that time without pizza would probably kill me. Thus, the counsel in the post’s title is offered to the reader, not the writer, of it.

3 Responses to Go Coptic

Thomas D says:

February 21, 2015 at 3:14 am (Edit)

The Copts and the Orthodox. They’re hardcore! (In a good way.) It inspires admiration, if not imitation!

William Luse says:

February 21, 2015 at 4:05 am (Edit)

Yes, very much in a good way. I wonder, though, how one would keep track of 300 daily prayers. And if one falls asleep for the night in the midst of the 299th prayer, does one wake with the conscience in crisis?

Lydia says:

February 21, 2015 at 9:19 am (Edit)

Hope they take Vitamin B12, since that’s a vegan diet. :-)

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