Thursday, August 16, 2012
Interesting post on Australia Incognita calling for the restoration of the 3 hour Eucharistic Fast. I always tell people that the fast is a minimum of 1 hour.
I remember going to stay at a monastery in the middle of winter, it was bitterly cold, the monk who showed me to my room said, "And for the unmortified there is a radiator and for the entirely lax there is an electric fire." I remained mortified until he left and then became entirely lax. It is human nature to choose an easy life especially if it is offered to us. There seems to have been a deliberate trend to minimise and neutralise to replace the bright colours of Catholic asceticism with beige and effete modernism.
The problem is that the piety that willing embraced the older fast from midnight, which was reduced under Pius XII to three hours, is no longer there. The Law has to bend, otherwise it is broken. it is only the willing who obey it. Good law has to be easily kept by most people at best because people recognise it as being good or at worst because it is possible to coerce people to keep it. For many reasons I would certainly like to see the restoration of the old fast but how does one make people want to embrace it? The law alone does not suffice. There is a need restore the piety and reverence that gave birth to the law in the first place.
Many seem to think the answer to the Church's problems is more law and strengthening the penalties for breaking the law but laws that are ineffective or imprecise or disobeyed are bad laws. The Church is ultimately rather powerless, what binds us to it is charity, what makes us obey it is willing loving submission or at least a culture where keeping a particular law has become part of the warp and weft of our lives.
Having dismantled centuries of custom and practice it is impossible to restore it merely by diktat.
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