Sundays in Lent: Feast or Famine?

Yay! My Mom was right (and husband was wrong–and he’s never wrong, so this is fun). When I was growing up, my Mother (devout NY Catholic) always said Sundays in Lent are free days where you can do what ever it is you gave up.

If I gave up chocolate then I could eat chocolate on Sundays. Later, in College, it meant if I gave up smoking that I could smoke on Sundays! Of course smoking on Sundays just made Mondays that much harder, but I loved the free day each week.

My husband’s family never did it that way. He thought it was absurd that we got Sundays “off” per se from our fasts and abstinences. For 11 years of marriage, he has rolled his eyes at this “myth.”

So, now I have read it some where else. It’s not just my MOM saying this, it’s a Catholic web site, Mary’s Aggie Blog, which says the following:

What is Lent?

Lent is a time when the Catholic Church collectively enters into preparation for the celebration of Easter. Lent originally developed as a forty-day retreat, preparing converts to be baptized at the Easter Vigil. Lent is a season of conversion. Conversion is the process of turning away from sin and turning to God. Lent starts with Ash Wednesday (this excludes Sundays, which are not part of the 40 days)and ends on Holy Thursday, the first day of the Triduum, the three holy days before Easter.

So why aren’t Sundays part of Lent?

This is because Sundays are always a day of celebration of Christ’s passion and Resurrection, so we celebrate on these days.

Does this mean I can “cheat” on Sundays?

Since Sundays are not part of the penitential season, you do not have to practice signs of penitence on these days. But, there is no reason you can’t do them either. If you feel you are “cheating” then it isn’t helping! There are some others that believe that Sundays are a part of Lent, but I do not agree with their take.

Since the Church has some conflicting information (different documents state different things) I think you should do what you feel is best regarding the Lenten season and Sundays.

I suppose this truly means that we are both right. And that’s fine with me. I can have my chocolate on Sundays and he can abstain.

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