Monday, April 19, 2010

No Fasting Allowed During Eastertide!

Sunday April 18th, if you stood on the street corner and asked; Is Easter over? How do you think people would answer?

From Dom Guerenger "The Liturgical Year" Pascal Time Book II Vol. 8 page 11-12.

The fifty days between Easter and Pentecost have ever been considered by the Church as most holy. The first week, which is more expressly devoted to celebrating our Lord's Resurrection, is kept as one continued feast: but the remainder of the fifty days is also marked with special honors.

To say nothing of the joy, which is the characteristic of this period of the year, and of which the Alleluia is the expression- Christian tradition has assigned to Eastertide two practices, which distinguish it from every other season. The first is, that fasting is not permitted during the entire interval: it is an extension of the ancient precept of never fasting on a Sunday, and the whole of Eastertide is considered as one long Sunday.

This practice, which would seem to have come down from the time of the Apostles, was accepted by the Religious Rules of both East and West, even by the severest. The second consists in not kneeling at the Divine Office, from Easter to Pentecost. The Eastern Churches have faithfully kept up the practice, even to this day. It was observed for many ages by the Western Churches also; but now it is little more than a remnant. The Latin Church has long since admitted genuflection's in the Mass during Easter time. The few vestiges of the ancient discipline in this regard which still exist are not noticed by the faithful, inasmuch as they seldom assist at the Canonical Hours.

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