On the 17th, Pope Francis arrives for Ash Wednesday Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. February 2021 year.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. Catholics and some Protestant denominations observe Lent, a time of penance and repentance in the weeks leading up to Easter.
Catholics traditionally refrain from eating meat from warm-blooded animals on Fridays during Lent. This commitment of the Church also applies on Ash Wednesday.
Here’s what you need to know:
Ash Wednesday is a mandatory day of fasting for Catholic adults and youth
In this time of #repentance, let us renew our faith, draw from the living water of hope, and receive with open hearts the love of God that makes us brothers and sisters in Christ. #Slowhttps://t.co/LA8HkEjcRv
– Pope Francis (@Pontifex) February 17, 2021
In addition to abstaining from meat, Ash Wednesday is also a mandatory day of fasting in the Catholic Church. But that doesn’t mean Catholics should be hungry all day. The acceleration rules are not as strict as they seem at first glance.
As the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has explained, Catholic adults and youth may only have one full meal on Ash Wednesday. However, Catholics are allowed two smaller meals that do not make up a full meal. You can’t have any candy.
There are no restrictions on the consumption of liquids, but the church refers to beverages such as water and juices. Excessive alcohol consumption on Ash Wednesday goes against the purpose of the day in some ways.
The fasting obligation applies to young people from the age of 14 and to adults up to the age of 59. But there are exceptions, as the USCCB explains:
Persons free from hunger and abstinence include those with physical or mental illness, including those with chronic diseases such as diabetes. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are also excluded. In all cases, common sense should prevail and the sick should not further endanger their health by fasting.
According to the Catholic faith, Jesus Christ shed his blood to redeem humanity and the renunciation of the flesh is a symbolic gesture in honor of the sacrifice.
The practice of abstinence on Friday stems from the belief that Jesus Christ died on Friday. As the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis explains on its website, Catholics believe that Jesus sacrificed his own flesh and blood to atone for the sins of humanity. Catholics do not eat meat from warm-blooded animals to honor Jesus’ death on the cross.
As the American Catholic noted, it also made sense to refrain from shedding (and eating) blood on the day Jesus died on the cross. The publication wrote that Friday, the sixth day, was also the day God created the animals. The renunciation of meat is thus a symbolic deliverance from the execution of cows, pigs and sheep – just as the cross delivers us from eternal death.
The Catholic Church allows the consumption of fish on Ash Wednesday and Ash Wednesday, although fish consumption is not mandatory. According to the USCCB, the abstinence laws only take into account the meat of animals such as chickens, cows, sheep or pigs – all of which live on the earth. Birds are also considered meat. Non-meat products such as eggs, milk and cheese are allowed.
Fish are considered a different category of animal in the Catholic Church, according to the USCCB. Saltwater and freshwater fish species, amphibians, reptiles (cold-blooded creatures) and crustaceans are permitted.
Ash represents God’s creation and atonement for sins
The coronavirus pandemic is expected to keep many Catholics at home on Ash Wednesday, as parishes continue to hold virtual services. But from time immemorial it has been customary to see Catholics with cruciform ashes on their foreheads. It is an outward sign of penitence as Catholics enter Lent.
This tradition is supposed to symbolize in faith how God created humanity, as Catholic Online explains. On Ash Wednesday, the priest or deacon says something similar: For ye are dust, and unto dust shall ye return. Repent and believe in the Gospel. The exact wording may vary by Diocese, but the concept of dust to dust is universal.
This saying is taken from the creation story of Adam and Eve in the Bible. Again, the exact wording may vary according to the edition of the Bible, but the meaning, which is in Genesis, is the same. Genesis 2:7 says: Then the Lord God created man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being.
But after Adam and Eve were tempted by Satan and ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God drove them out of the Garden of Eden. In the Catholic faith, Adam and Eve’s decision to disobey God and eat from the tree was original sin. After their expulsion, Adam and Eve had to work the land for food. As Genesis explains, God said to Adam
The earth is cursed by you; by hard work you shall feed on it all the days of your life. He will bring you thorns and thistles, and you will eat the plants of the field. Then you shall eat with your foreheads, until you return to the earth; for you were taken from it, for you are dust and shall return to dust.
The Bible says that Eve’s special punishment for original sin was the pain of giving birth.
frequently asked questions
Can you eat meat in an ashen environment?
Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are mandatory days of fasting and abstinence for Catholics. … Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and every Friday in Lent: Everyone aged 14 and over should avoid eating meat.
What can a Catholic eat on Ash Wednesday?
Catholics are not allowed to eat meat on Ash Wednesday. They should also refrain from eating meat on Fridays during Lent. Catholics must fast on Ash Wednesday. Fasting consists of eating only one full meal a day; two small meals that do not make up a full meal are also allowed.
What happens if you accidentally eat meat on Ash Wednesday?
Every Friday in Lent is actually called the day of penance, the 33-year-old says. If someone accidentally eats meat without knowing that they have done something wrong, it is not a sin. … All repentance or mutilation is for the purpose of casting off sin and becoming holy.
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