Ash Wednesday is coming up February 17th and that kicks of 40 days of Lent. The Diocese of Bismarck has issued this brief statement on Lenten requirements.

I confess I really deep don't don't know what that means. I have known people who do things like "give up Diet Coke for Lent". I know that for 40 days, good luck getting a table at Red Lobster on a Friday.

So there's abstinence and then there's fasting...and for the devoted these are required.  Abstinence involves eating no meat on that day.  Fasting is eating only one meal per day.   On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday both are required.  I'm already sort of a one meal per day fella already; and it's usually a pretty big meal for sure. So that's 40 days of fasting and abstinence from consuming meat on Fridays....let's see if this clears that up...from the current U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Fast and Abstinence page are:[31][5]

Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are obligatory days of fasting and abstinence for Catholics. In addition, Fridays during Lent are obligatory days of abstinence.

For members of the Latin Catholic Church, the norms on fasting are obligatory from age 18 until age 59. When fasting, a person is permitted to eat one full meal, as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal. The norms concerning abstinence from meat are binding upon members of the Latin Catholic Church from age 14 onwards.

There are restrictions on the types of foods you can eat (ex: fish is not considered meat),

Also, according to the USCCB:

Abstinence laws consider that meat comes only from animals such as chickens, cows, sheep or pigs – all of which live on land. Birds are also considered meat. Abstinence does not include meat juices and liquid foods made from meat. Thus, such foods as chicken broth, consomme, soups cooked or flavored with meat, meat gravies or sauces, as well as seasonings or condiments made from animal fat are technically not forbidden. However, moral theologians have traditionally taught that we should abstain from all animal-derived products (except foods such as gelatin, butter, cheese and eggs, which do not have any meat taste). Fish are a different category of animal. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, (cold-blooded animals) and shellfish are permitted

Found this in says the restrictions are on food and not drink.

Church requirements on fasting only relate to solid food, not to drink, so Church law does not restrict the amount of water or other beverages – even alcoholic drinks – which may be consumed.

Then why does everybody party so hard on Fat Tuesday?  That I'm sure is open to interpretation.  I'm going to let Basil here take us out-

.Basil of Caesarea gives the following exhortation regarding fasting:

Let us fast an acceptable and very pleasing fast to the Lord. True fast is the estrangement from evil, temperance of tongue, abstinence from anger, separation from desires, slander, falsehood and perjury. Privation of these is true fasting.

So starting Wednesday and for forty days to follow let all of us consider the "temperance of tongue" in life and in the comment sections.

Stay blessed y'all!

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