This fast could be the same as the Church's law (one main meal and two smaller ones) or stricter, even bread and water. Before all else we are obliged to perform the duties of our state in life.

Such freely chosen fasting could also consist in giving up something one enjoys - candy, soft drinks, smoking, that cocktail before supper, and so on. Any deprivation that would seriously hinder us in carrying out our work, as students, employees or parents would be contrary to the will of God.

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The Church defines this as one meal a day, and two smaller meals which if added together would not exceed the main meal in quantity.

Such fasting is obligatory on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Precisely because of the biblical admonition expressed in 2 Corinthians 6, she had already broken up with her Catholic boyfriend. Ann wanted advice from me on how to give an answer for the nuptial hope within her.

I had two objectives: I wanted the gospel to illumine her decision to end the relationship and also to enrich her perspective on what it will look like to one day accept a man's proposal for marriage.

One need not serve long in pastoral ministry before romantic tragedies unfold in the congregation. With deep sorrow, I have already observed two couples whom I married divorce. Such experiences cause us to consider factors that either serve or undermine a marriage.

Such questions reach me through email or come walking into my office, often amid tears.

Those who are excused from fast or abstinence Besides those outside the age limits, those of unsound mind, the sick, the frail, pregnant or nursing women according to need for meat or nourishment, manual laborers according to need, guests at a meal who cannot excuse themselves without giving great offense or causing enmity and other situations of moral or physical impossibility to observe the penitential discipline.

Aside from these minimum penitential requirements Catholics are encouraged to impose some personal penance on themselves at other times. A person could, for example, multiply the number of days they abstain.

Similarly, one could multiply the number of days that one fasted.