I am a revert of 15 years (this Sunday!! Oct. 7, Yay!) and I was away from the no-meat-on-Fridays scene for awhile. When I came back into the Church, I participated in a Sunday Missal study on Friday nights. Each night, we went out to eat afterward and it was such a gift to me that all my friends followed the no-meat regime. It made it easier for me to get back into the swing of it.
Four years ago, I started going to the Eastern Greek Melkite Catholic Church in my area. The Melkites are more rigorous in this arena, in terms of frequency of practice, and at the same time, they are less rigorous, in that they do not view the overall practice in legal terms. That is, "All who wish to follow the Churchs plan for fasting are encouraged to keep these days, but there are no laws concerning them."
Abstaining means to go without all meat all day.
- Wednesdays and Fridays of each week, with the exception of weeks after Christmas, after Pentecost, and the days of Eastertide.
- Fasting means to go without all meat and dairy from midnight until noon or Vespers.
a) For each Divine Liturgy (akin to Mass), from midnight to before receiving Holy Communion
b) Daily Monday through Friday during Lent
c) All of Holy Week
d) The eves of Christmas and Theophany
e) The Twelve Great Feast Days throughout the year, e.g., Feast of the Nativity, Feast of Theotokos (Mary), Feast of Pentecost, etc.
Eastern Churches do not view fasting in legal terms, however. So, "All who want to follow the Churchs plan for fasting are encouraged to keep these days, but there are no laws concerning them."
The above comes from this site: home.comcast.net
I have been greatly challenged in trying to follow the Melkite schedule, especially with the elimination of dairy for fasting. Anyone else have experience with this, or with the Roman Rite fasting/abstaining?
From the Melkite Eparchy web site (the more detailed description):
"Abstinence is refraining from eating meat, dairy products, eggs, alcohol, fish and olive oil."
(Lots of beans and grains get eaten....)
"The idea of 'fasting and abstinence' is to gain self control, a simplification of life-style, a solidarity with the poor and hungry, and to return to Paradise. As such fasting and abstinence should always be focused towards making life simpler not more complicated."