St. Thomas Aquinas

The Summa Theologica

(Benziger Bros. edition, 1947)
Translated by
Fathers of the English Dominican Province


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Question: 147  [<< | >>]


Deinde considerandum est de ieiunio. Et circa hoc quaeruntur octo.    We must now consider fasting: under which head there are eight points of inquiry:
Primo, utrum ieiunium sit actus virtutis.     (1) Whether fasting is an act of virtue?
Secundo, cuius virtutis sit actus.     (2) Of what virtue is it the act?
Tertio, utrum cadat sub praecepto.     (3) Whether it is a matter of precept?
Quarto, utrum aliqui excusentur ab observatione huius praecepti.     (4) Whether anyone is excused from fulfilling this precept?
Quinto, de tempore ieiunii.     (5) The time of fasting;
Sexto, utrum semel comedere requiratur ad ieiunium.     (6) Whether it is requisite for fasting to eat but once?
Septimo, de hora comestionis ieiunantium.     (7) The hour of eating for those who fast;
Octavo, de cibis a quibus debent abstinere.     (8) The meats from which it is necessary to abstain.


Index  [<< | >>]
Second Part of the Second Part  [<< | >>]
Question: 147  [<< | >>]
Article: 1  [<< | >>]

Whether fasting is an act of virtue?

Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod ieiunium non sit actus virtutis. Omnis enim virtutis actus est Deo acceptus. Sed ieiunium non semper est Deo acceptum, secundum illud Isaiae LVIII, quare ieiunavimus, et non aspexisti? Ergo ieiunium non est actus virtutis.   Objection 1: It would seem that fasting is not an act of virtue. For every act of virtue is acceptable to God. But fasting is not always acceptable to God, according to Is. 58:3, "Why have we fasted and Thou hast not regarded?" Therefore fasting is not an act of virtue.
Praeterea, nullus actus virtutis recedit a medio virtutis. Sed ieiunium recedit a medio virtutis, quod quidem in virtute abstinentiae accipitur secundum hoc, ut subveniatur necessitati naturae, cui per ieiunium aliquid subtrahitur; alioquin non ieiunantes non haberent virtutem abstinentiae. Ergo ieiunium non est actus virtutis.   Objection 2: Further, no act of virtue forsakes the mean of virtue. Now fasting forsakes the mean of virtue, which in the virtue of abstinence takes account of the necessity of supplying the needs of nature, whereas by fasting something is retrenched therefrom: else those who do not fast would not have the virtue of abstinence. Therefore fasting is not an act of virtue.
Praeterea, illud quod communiter omnibus convenit, et bonis et malis, non est actus virtutis. Sed ieiunium est huiusmodi, quilibet enim, antequam comedat, ieiunus est. Ergo ieiunium non est actus virtutis.   Objection 3: Further, that which is competent to all, both good and evil, is not an act of virtue. Now such is fasting, since every one is fasting before eating. Therefore fasting is not an act of virtue.
Sed contra est quod connumeratur aliis virtutum actibus, II ad Cor. VI, ubi apostolus dicit, in ieiuniis, in scientia, in castitate, et cetera.   On the contrary, It is reckoned together with other virtuous acts (2 Cor. 6:5,6) where the Apostle says: "In fasting, in knowledge, in chastity, etc. [Vulg.: 'in chastity, in knowledge']."
Respondeo dicendum quod ex hoc aliquis actus est virtuosus, quod per rationem ordinatur ad aliquod bonum honestum. Hoc autem convenit ieiunio. Assumitur enim ieiunium principaliter ad tria. Primo quidem, ad concupiscentias carnis comprimendas. Unde apostolus dicit, in auctoritate inducta, in ieiuniis, in castitate, quia per ieiunia castitas conservatur. Ut enim Hieronymus dicit, sine Cerere et Baccho friget Venus, idest, per abstinentiam cibi et potus tepescit luxuria. Secundo, assumitur ad hoc quod mens liberius elevetur ad sublimia contemplanda. Unde dicitur Dan. X, quod post ieiunium trium hebdomadarum, revelationem accepit a Deo. Tertio, ad satisfaciendum pro peccatis. Unde dicitur Ioel II, convertimini ad me in toto corde vestro, in ieiunio et fletu et planctu. Et hoc est quod Augustinus dicit, in quodam sermone de Orat. et Ieiun., ieiunium purgat mentem, sublevat sensum, carnem spiritui subiicit, cor facit contritum et humiliatum, concupiscentiae nebulas dispergit, libidinum ardores extinguit, castitatis vero lumen accendit. Unde patet quod ieiunium est actus virtutis.   I answer that, An act is virtuous through being directed by reason to some virtuous [honestum] [*Cf. Question [145], Article [1]] good. Now this is consistent with fasting, because fasting is practiced for a threefold purpose. First, in order to bridle the lusts of the flesh, wherefore the Apostle says (2 Cor. 6:5,6): "In fasting, in chastity," since fasting is the guardian of chastity. For, according to Jerome [*Contra Jov. ii.] "Venus is cold when Ceres and Bacchus are not there," that is to say, lust is cooled by abstinence in meat and drink. Secondly, we have recourse to fasting in order that the mind may arise more freely to the contemplation of heavenly things: hence it is related (Dan. 10) of Daniel that he received a revelation from God after fasting for three weeks. Thirdly, in order to satisfy for sins: wherefore it is written (Joel 2:12): "Be converted to Me with all your heart, in fasting and in weeping and in mourning." The same is declared by Augustine in a sermon (De orat. et Jejun. [*Serm. lxxii (ccxxx, de Tempore)]): "Fasting cleanses the soul, raises the mind, subjects one's flesh to the spirit, renders the heart contrite and humble, scatters the clouds of concupiscence, quenches the fire of lust, kindles the true light of chastity."
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod contingit quod aliquis actus qui ex genere suo est virtuosus, ex aliquibus circumstantiis adiunctis redditur vitiosus. Unde ibidem dicitur, ecce in diebus ieiunii vestri invenitur voluntas vestra; et paulo post subditur, ad lites et contentiones ieiunatis, et percutitis pugno impie. Quod exponens Gregorius, in pastorali, dicit, voluntas ad laetitiam pertinet, pugnus ad iram. Incassum ergo per abstinentiam corpus atteritur, si inordinatis motibus dimissa mens vitiis dissipatur. Et Augustinus, in praedicto sermone, dicit quod ieiunium verbositatem non amat, divitias superfluitatem iudicat, superbiam spernit, humilitatem commendat, praestat homini seipsum intelligere, quod est infirmum et fragile.   Reply to Objection 1: An act that is virtuous generically may be rendered vicious by its connection with certain circumstances. Hence the text goes on to say: "Behold in the day of your fast your own will is founded," and a little further on (Is. 58:4): "You fast for debates and strife and strike with the fist wickedly." These words are expounded by Gregory (Pastor. iii, 19) as follows: "The will indicates joy and the fist anger. In vain then is the flesh restrained if the mind allowed to drift to inordinate movements be wrecked by vice." And Augustine says (in the same sermon) that "fasting loves not many words, deems wealth superfluous, scorns pride, commends humility, helps man to perceive what is frail and paltry."
Ad secundum dicendum quod medium virtutis non accipitur secundum quantitatem, sed secundum rationem rectam, ut dicitur in II Ethic. Ratio autem iudicat quod propter aliquam specialem causam aliquis homo minus sumat de cibo quam sibi competeret secundum statum communem, sicut propter infirmitatem vitandam, aut aliqua opera corporalia expeditius agenda. Et multo magis ratio recta hoc ordinat ad spiritualia mala vitanda et bona prosequenda. Non tamen ratio recta tantum de cibo subtrahit ut natura conservari non possit, quia, ut Hieronymus dicit, non differt utrum magno vel parvo tempore te interimas; et quod de rapina holocaustum offert qui vel ciborum nimia egestate, vel manducandi vel somni penuria, immoderate corpus affligit. Similiter etiam ratio recta non tantum de cibo subtrahit ut homo reddatur impotens ad debita opera peragenda, unde dicit Hieronymus quod rationalis homo dignitatem amittit qui ieiunium caritati, vel vigilias sensus integritati praefert.   Reply to Objection 2: The mean of virtue is measured not according to quantity but according to right reason, as stated in Ethic. ii, 6. Now reason judges it expedient, on account of some special motive, for a man to take less food than would be becoming to him under ordinary circumstances, for instance in order to avoid sickness, or in order to perform certain bodily works with greater ease: and much more does reason direct this to the avoidance of spiritual evils and the pursuit of spiritual goods. Yet reason does not retrench so much from one's food as to refuse nature its necessary support: thus Jerome says:* "It matters not whether thou art a long or a short time in destroying thyself, since to afflict the body immoderately, whether by excessive lack of nourishment, or by eating or sleeping too little, is to offer a sacrifice of stolen goods." [*The quotation is from the Corpus of Canon Law (Cap. Non mediocriter, De Consecrationibus, dist. 5). Gratian there ascribes the quotation to St. Jerome, but it is not to be found in the saint's works.] In like manner right reason does not retrench so much from a man's food as to render him incapable of fulfilling his duty. Hence Jerome says (in the same reference) "Rational man forfeits his dignity, if he sets fasting before chastity, or night-watchings before the well-being of his senses."
Ad tertium dicendum quod ieiunium naturae, quo quis dicitur ieiunus antequam comedat, consistit in pura negatione. Unde non potest poni actus virtutis, sed solum illud ieiunium quo quis, ex rationabili proposito, a cibis aliqualiter abstinet. Unde primum dicitur ieiunium ieiuni, secundum vero ieiunium ieiunantis, quasi ex proposito aliquid agentis.   Reply to Objection 3: The fasting of nature, in respect of which a man is said to be fasting until he partakes of food, consists in a pure negation, wherefore it cannot be reckoned a virtuous act. Such is only the fasting of one who abstains in some measure from food for a reasonable purpose. Hence the former is called natural fasting [jejunium jejunii] [*Literally the 'fast of fasting']: while the latter is called the faster's fast, because he fasts for a purpose.


Index  [<< | >>]
Second Part of the Second Part  [<< | >>]
Question: 147  [<< | >>]
Article: 2  [<< | >>]

Whether fasting is an act of abstinence?

Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod ieiunium non sit actus abstinentiae. Quia super illud Matth. XVII, hoc genus Daemoniorum etc., dicit Hieronymus, ieiunium est non solum ab escis, sed a cunctis illecebris abstinere. Sed hoc pertinet ad omnem virtutem. Ergo ieiunium non est actus specialiter abstinentiae.   Objection 1: It would seem that fasting is not an act of abstinence. For Jerome [*The quotation is from the Ordinary Gloss, where the reference is lacking] commenting on Mt. 17:20, "This kind of devil" says: "To fast is to abstain not only from food but also from all manner of lusts." Now this belongs to every virtue. Therefore fasting is not exclusively an act of abstinence.
Praeterea, Gregorius dicit, in homilia Quadragesimae, quod ieiunium quadragesimale est decima totius anni. Sed dare decimas est actus religionis, ut supra habitum est. Ergo ieiunium est actus religionis, et non abstinentiae.   Objection 2: Further, Gregory says in a Lenten Homily (xvi in Evang.) that "the Lenten fast is a tithe of the whole year." Now paying tithes is an act of religion, as stated above (Question [87], Article [1]). Therefore fasting is an act of religion and not of abstinence.
Praeterea, abstinentia est pars temperantiae, ut dictum est. Temperantia autem contra fortitudinem dividitur, ad quam pertinet molestias sustinere, quod maxime videtur esse in ieiunio. Ergo ieiunium non est actus abstinentiae.   Objection 3: Further, abstinence is a part of temperance, as stated above (Questions [143],146, Article [1], ad 3). Now temperance is condivided with fortitude, to which it belongs to endure hardships, and this seems very applicable to fasting. Therefore fasting is not an act of abstinence.
Sed contra est quod Isidorus dicit quod ieiunium est parsimonia victus, abstinentiaque ciborum.   On the contrary, Isidore says (Etym. vi, 19) that "fasting is frugality of fare and abstinence from food."
Respondeo dicendum quod eadem est materia habitus et actus. Unde omnis actus virtuosus qui est circa aliquam materiam, ad illam virtutem pertinet quae medium in illa materia constituit. Ieiunium autem attenditur in cibis, in quibus medium adinvenit abstinentia. Unde manifestum est quod ieiunium est abstinentiae actus.   I answer that, Habit and act have the same matter. Wherefore every virtuous act about some particular matter belongs to the virtue that appoints the mean in that matter. Now fasting is concerned with food, wherein the mean is appointed by abstinence. Wherefore it is evident that fasting is an act of abstinence.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod ieiunium proprie dictum consistit in abstinendo a cibis. Sed metaphorice dictum consistit in abstinendo a quibuslibet nocivis, quae maxime sunt peccata.   Reply to Objection 1: Properly speaking fasting consists in abstaining from food, but speaking metaphorically it denotes abstinence from anything harmful, and such especially is sin.
Vel potest dici quod etiam ieiunium proprie dictum est abstinentia ab omnibus illecebris, quia per quaelibet vitia adiuncta desinit esse actus virtuosus, ut dictum est.    We may also reply that even properly speaking fasting is abstinence from all manner of lust, since, as stated above (Article [1], ad 1), an act ceases to be virtuous by the conjunction of any vice.
Ad secundum dicendum quod nihil prohibet actum unius virtutis pertinere ad aliam virtutem, secundum quod ad eius finem ordinatur, ut ex supra dictis patet. Et secundum hoc, nihil prohibet ieiunium pertinere ad religionem vel ad castitatem, vel ad quamcumque aliam virtutem.   Reply to Objection 2: Nothing prevents the act of one virtue belonging to another virtue, in so far as it is directed to the end of that virtue, as explained above (Question [32], Article [1], ad 2; Question [85], Article [3]). Accordingly there is no reason why fasting should not be an act of religion, or of chastity, or of any other virtue.
Ad tertium dicendum quod ad fortitudinem, secundum quod est specialis virtus, non pertinet perferre quascumque molestias, sed solum illas quae sunt circa pericula mortis. Sufferre autem molestias quae sunt ex defectu delectabilium tactus, pertinet ad temperantiam et ad partes eius. Et tales sunt molestiae ieiunii.   Reply to Objection 3: It belongs to fortitude as a special virtue, to endure, not any kind of hardship, but only those connected with the danger of death. To endure hardships resulting from privation of pleasure of touch, belongs to temperance and its parts: and such are the hardships of fasting.


Index  [<< | >>]
Second Part of the Second Part  [<< | >>]
Question: 147  [<< | >>]
Article: 3  [<< | >>]

Whether fasting is a matter of precept?

Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod ieiunium non sit in praecepto. Praecepta enim non dantur de operibus supererogationum, quae cadunt sub consilio. Sed ieiunium est opus supererogationis, alioquin, ubique et semper aequaliter esse observandum. Ergo ieiunium non cadit sub praecepto.   Objection 1: It would seem that fasting is not a matter of precept. For precepts are not given about works of supererogation which are a matter of counsel. Now fasting is a work of supererogation: else it would have to be equally observed at all places and times. Therefore fasting is not a matter of precept.
Praeterea, quicumque transgreditur praeceptum peccat mortaliter. Si ergo ieiunium esset in praecepto, omnes non ieiunantes mortaliter peccarent. Per quod videretur magnus laqueus hominibus esse iniectus.   Objection 2: Further, whoever infringes a precept commits a mortal sin. Therefore if fasting were a matter of precept, all who do not fast would sin mortally, and a widespreading snare would be laid for men.
Praeterea, Augustinus dicit, in libro de vera Relig., quod ab ipsa Dei sapientia, homine assumpto, a quo in libertatem vocati sumus, pauca sacramenta saluberrima constituta sunt, quae societatem Christiani populi, hoc est sub uno Deo liberae multitudinis, continerent. Sed non minus videtur libertas populi Christiani impediri per multitudinem observantiarum quam per multitudinem sacramentorum, dicit enim Augustinus, in libro ad inquisitiones Ianuarii, quod quidam ipsam religionem nostram, quam manifestissimis et paucissimis celebrationum sacramentis Dei misericordia voluit esse liberam, servilibus premunt oneribus. Ergo videtur quod non debuit per Ecclesiam ieiunium sub praecepto institui.   Objection 3: Further, Augustine says (De Vera Relig. 17) that "the Wisdom of God having taken human nature, and called us to a state of freedom, instituted a few most salutary sacraments whereby the community of the Christian people, that is, of the free multitude, should be bound together in subjection to one God." Now the liberty of the Christian people seems to be hindered by a great number of observances no less than by a great number of sacraments. For Augustine says (Ad inquis. Januar., Ep. lv) that "whereas God in His mercy wished our religion to be distinguished by its freedom and the evidence and small number of its solemn sacraments, some people render it oppressive with slavish burdens." Therefore it seems that the Church should not have made fasting a matter of precept.
Sed contra est quod Hieronymus, ad Lucinum, dicit, de ieiuniis loquens, unaquaeque provincia abundet in suo sensu, et praecepta maiorum leges apostolicas arbitretur. Ergo ieiunium est in praecepto.   On the contrary, Jerome (Ad Lucin., Ep. lxxi) speaking of fasting says: "Let each province keep to its own practice, and look upon the commands of the elders as though they were laws of the apostles." Therefore fasting is a matter of precept.
Respondeo dicendum quod sicut ad saeculares principes pertinet praecepta legalia, iuris naturalis determinativa, tradere de his quae pertinent ad utilitatem communem in temporalibus rebus; ita etiam ad praelatos ecclesiasticos pertinet ea statutis praecipere quae ad utilitatem communem fidelium pertinent in spiritualibus bonis.   I answer that, Just as it belongs to the secular authority to make legal precepts which apply the natural law to matters of common weal in temporal affairs, so it belongs to ecclesiastical superiors to prescribe by statute those things that concern the common weal of the faithful in spiritual goods.
Dictum est autem quod ieiunium utile est et ad deletionem et cohibitionem culpae, et ad elevationem mentis in spiritualia. Unusquisque autem ex naturali ratione tenetur tantum ieiuniis uti quantum sibi necessarium est ad praedicta. Et ideo ieiunium in communi cadit sub praecepto legis naturae. Sed determinatio temporis et modi ieiunandi secundum convenientiam et utilitatem populi Christiani, cadit sub praecepto iuris positivi quod est a praelatis Ecclesiae institutum. Et hoc est ieiunium Ecclesiae, aliud, naturae.    Now it has been stated above (Article [1]) that fasting is useful as atoning for and preventing sin, and as raising the mind to spiritual things. And everyone is bound by the natural dictate of reason to practice fasting as far as it is necessary for these purposes. Wherefore fasting in general is a matter of precept of the natural law, while the fixing of the time and manner of fasting as becoming and profitable to the Christian people, is a matter of precept of positive law established by ecclesiastical authority: the latter is the Church fast, the former is the fast prescribed by nature.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod ieiunium, secundum se consideratum, non nominat aliquid eligibile, sed quiddam poenale. Redditur autem eligibile secundum quod est utile ad finem aliquem. Et ideo, absolute consideratum, non est de necessitate praecepti, sed est de necessitate praecepti unicuique tali remedio indigenti. Et quia multitudo hominum ut plurimum indiget tali remedio, tum quia in multis omnes offendimus, ut dicitur Iac. III; tum etiam quia caro concupiscit adversus spiritum, ut dicitur Galat. V, conveniens fuit ut Ecclesia aliqua ieiunia statueret communiter ab omnibus observanda, non quasi praecepto subiiciens id quod simpliciter ad supererogationem pertinet, sed quasi in speciali determinans id quod est necessarium in communi.   Reply to Objection 1: Fasting considered in itself denotes something not eligible but penal: yet it becomes eligible in so far as it is useful to some end. Wherefore considered absolutely it is not binding under precept, but it is binding under precept to each one that stands in need of such a remedy. And since men, for the most part, need this remedy, both because "in many things we all offend" (James 3:2), and because "the flesh lusteth against the spirit" (Gal. 5:17), it was fitting that the Church should appoint certain fasts to be kept by all in common. In doing this the Church does not make a precept of a matter of supererogation, but particularizes in detail that which is of general obligation.
Ad secundum dicendum quod praecepta quae per modum communis statuti proponuntur, non eodem modo obligant omnes, sed secundum quod requiritur ad finem quem legislator intendit. Cuius auctoritatem si aliquis transgrediendo statutum contemnat; vel hoc modo transgrediatur quod impediatur finis quem intendit, peccat mortaliter talis transgressor. Si autem ex aliqua rationabili causa quis statutum non servet, praecipue in casu in quo etiam, si legislator adesset, non decerneret esse servandum, talis transgressio non constituit peccatum mortale. Et inde est quod non omnes qui omnino non servant ieiunia Ecclesiae, mortaliter peccant.   Reply to Objection 2: Those commandments which are given under the form of a general precept, do not bind all persons in the same way, but subject to the requirements of the end intended by the lawgiver. It will be a mortal sin to disobey a commandment through contempt of the lawgiver's authority, or to disobey it in such a way as to frustrate the end intended by him: but it is not a mortal sin if one fails to keep a commandment, when there is a reasonable motive, and especially if the lawgiver would not insist on its observance if he were present. Hence it is that not all, who do not keep the fasts of the Church, sin mortally.
Ad tertium dicendum quod Augustinus ibi loquitur de his quae neque sanctarum Scripturarum auctoritatibus continentur, nec in Conciliis episcoporum statuta inveniuntur, nec consuetudine universalis Ecclesiae roborata sunt. Ieiunia vero quae sunt in praecepto, sunt in Conciliis episcoporum statuta, et consuetudine universalis Ecclesiae roborata. Nec sunt contra libertatem populi fidelis, sed magis sunt utilia ad impediendum servitutem peccati, quae repugnat libertati spirituali; de qua dicitur, Galat. V, vos autem, fratres, in libertatem vocati estis, tantum, ne libertatem detis in occasionem carnis.   Reply to Objection 3: Augustine is speaking there of those things "that are neither contained in the authorities of Holy Scripture, nor found among the ordinances of bishops in council, nor sanctioned by the custom of the universal Church." On the other hand, the fasts that are of obligation are appointed by the councils of bishops and are sanctioned by the custom of the universal Church. Nor are they opposed to the freedom of the faithful, rather are they of use in hindering the slavery of sin, which is opposed to spiritual freedom, of which it is written (Gal. 5:13): "You, brethren, have been called unto liberty; only make not liberty an occasion to the flesh."


Index  [<< | >>]
Second Part of the Second Part  [<< | >>]
Question: 147  [<< | >>]
Article: 4  [<< | >>]

Whether all are bound to keep the fasts of the Church?

Ad quartum sic proceditur. Videtur quod omnes ad ieiunia Ecclesiae teneantur. Praecepta enim Ecclesiae obligant sicut Dei praecepta, secundum illud Lucae X, qui vos audit, me audit. Sed ad praecepta Dei servanda omnes tenentur. Ergo similiter omnes tenentur ad servanda ieiunia quae sunt ab Ecclesia instituta.   Objection 1: It would seem that all are bound to keep the fasts of the Church. For the commandments of the Church are binding even as the commandments of God, according to Lk. 10:16, "He that heareth you heareth Me." Now all are bound to keep the commandments of God. Therefore in like manner all are bound to keep the fasts appointed by the Church.
Praeterea, maxime videntur excusari pueri a ieiunio, propter aetatem. Sed pueri non excusantur, dicitur enim Ioel II, sanctificate ieiunium. Et postea sequitur, congregate parvulos et sugentes ubera, ergo multo magis omnes alii ad ieiunia tenentur.   Objection 2: Further, children especially are seemingly not exempt from fasting, on account of their age: for it is written (Joel 2:15): "Sanctify a fast," and further on (Joel 2:16): "Gather together the little ones, and them that suck the breasts." Much more therefore are all others bound to keen the fasts.
Praeterea, spiritualia sunt temporalibus praeferenda, et necessaria non necessariis. Sed opera corporalia ordinantur ad lucrum temporale, peregrinatio etiam, etsi ad spiritualia ordinetur, non est necessitatis. Cum ergo ieiunium ordinetur ad spiritualem utilitatem, et necessitatem habeat ex statuto Ecclesiae, videtur quod non sint ieiunia Ecclesiae praetermittenda propter peregrinationem vel corporalia opera.   Objection 3: Further, spiritual things should be preferred to temporal, and necessary things to those that are not necessary. Now bodily works are directed to temporal gain; and pilgrimages, though directed to spiritual things, are not a matter of necessity. Therefore, since fasting is directed to a spiritual gain, and is made a necessary thing by the commandment of the Church, it seems that the fasts of the Church ought not to be omitted on account of a pilgrimage, or bodily works.
Praeterea, magis est aliquid faciendum ex propria voluntate quam ex necessitate, ut patet per apostolum, II ad Cor. IX. Sed pauperes solent ex necessitate ieiunare, propter defectum alimentorum. Ergo multo magis debent ex propria voluntate ieiunare.   Objection 4: Further, it is better to do a thing willingly than through necessity, as stated in 2 Cor. 9:7. Now the poor are wont to fast through necessity, owing to lack of food. Much more therefore ought they to fast willingly.
Sed contra, videtur quod nullus iustus teneatur ieiunare. Praecepta enim Ecclesiae non obligant contra doctrinam Christi. Sed dominus dixit, Lucae V, quod non possunt filii sponsi ieiunare quandiu cum ipsis est sponsus. Est autem cum omnibus iustis, spiritualiter eos inhabitans, unde dominus dicit, Matth. ult., ecce, ego vobiscum sum usque ad consummationem saeculi. Ergo iusti ex statuto Ecclesiae non obligantur ad ieiunandum.   On the contrary, It seems that no righteous man is bound to fast. For the commandments of the Church are not binding in opposition to Christ's teaching. But our Lord said (Lk. 5:34) that "the children of the bridegroom cannot fast whilst the bridegroom is with them [*Vulg.: 'Can you make the children of the bridegroom fast, whilst the bridegroom is with them?']." Now He is with all the righteous by dwelling in them in a special manner [*Cf. FP, Question [8], Article [3]], wherefore our Lord said (Mt. 28:20): "Behold I am with you . . . even to the consummation of the world." Therefore the righteous are not bound by the commandment of the Church to fast.
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, statuta communia proponuntur secundum quod multitudini conveniunt. Et ideo legislator in eis statuendis attendit id quod communiter et in pluribus accidit. Si quid autem ex speciali causa in aliquo inveniatur quod observantiae statuti repugnet, non intendit talem legislator, ad statuti observantiam obligare. In quo tamen est distinctio adhibenda. Nam si causa sit evidens, per seipsum licite potest homo statuti observantiam praeterire, praesertim consuetudine interveniente; vel si non posset de facili recursus ad superiorem haberi. Si vero causa sit dubia, debet aliquis ad superiorem recurrere qui habet potestatem in talibus dispensandi. Et hoc est observandum in ieiuniis ab Ecclesia institutis, ad quae omnes communiter obligantur, nisi in eis fuerit aliquod speciale impedimentum.   I answer that, As stated above (FS, Question [90], Article [2]; FS, Question [98], Articles [2],6), general precepts are framed according to the requirements of the many. Wherefore in making such precepts the lawgiver considers what happens generally and for the most part, and he does not intend the precept to be binding on a person in whom for some special reason there is something incompatible with observance of the precept. Yet discretion must be brought to bear on the point. For if the reason be evident, it is lawful for a man to use his own judgment in omitting to fulfil the precept, especially if custom be in his favor, or if it be difficult for him to have recourse to superior authority. on the other hand, if the reason be doubtful, one should have recourse to the superior who has power to grant a dispensation in such cases. And this must be done in the fasts appointed by the Church, to which all are bound in general, unless there be some special obstacle to this observance.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod praecepta Dei sunt praecepta iuris naturalis, quae secundum se sunt de necessitate salutis. Sed statuta Ecclesiae sunt de his quae non per se sunt de necessitate salutis, sed solum ex institutione Ecclesiae. Et ideo possunt esse aliqua impedimenta propter quae aliqui ad observanda ieiunia huiusmodi non tenentur.   Reply to Objection 1: The commandments of God are precepts of the natural law, which are, of themselves, necessary for salvation. But the commandments of the Church are about matters which are necessary for salvation, not of themselves, but only through the ordinance of the Church. Hence there may be certain obstacles on account of which certain persons are not bound to keep the fasts in question.
Ad secundum dicendum quod in pueris est maxime evidens causa non ieiunandi, tum propter debilitatem naturae, ex qua provenit quod indigent frequenti cibo, et non multo simul assumpto; tum etiam quia indigent multo nutrimento propter necessitatem augmenti, quod fit de residuo alimenti. Et ideo quandiu sunt in statu augmenti, quod est ut in pluribus usque ad finem tertii septennii, non tenentur ad ecclesiastica ieiunia observanda. Conveniens tamen est ut etiam in hoc tempore se ad ieiunandum exerceant, plus vel minus, secundum modum suae aetatis. Quandoque tamen, magna tribulatione imminente, in signum poenitentiae arctioris, etiam pueris ieiunia indicuntur, sicut etiam de iumentis legitur Ionae III, homines et iumenta non gustent quidquam, nec aquam bibant.   Reply to Objection 2: In children there is a most evident reason for not fasting, both on account of their natural weakness, owing to which they need to take food frequently, and not much at a time, and because they need much nourishment owing to the demands of growth, which results from the residuum of nourishment. Wherefore as long as the stage of growth lasts, which as a rule lasts until they have completed the third period of seven years, they are not bound to keep the Church fasts: and yet it is fitting that even during that time they should exercise themselves in fasting, more or less, in accordance with their age. Nevertheless when some great calamity threatens, even children are commanded to fast, in sign of more severe penance, according to Jonas 3:7, "Let neither men nor beasts . . . taste anything . . . nor drink water."
Ad tertium dicendum quod circa peregrinos et operarios distinguendum videtur. Quia si peregrinatio et operis labor commode differri possit aut diminui, absque detrimento corporalis salutis et exterioris status, qui requiritur ad conservationem corporalis vel spiritualis vitae, non sunt propter hoc Ecclesiae ieiunia praetermittenda. Si autem immineat necessitas statim peregrinandi et magnas diaetas faciendi; vel etiam multum laborandi, vel propter conservationem vitae corporalis, vel propter aliquid necessarium ad vitam spiritualem; et simul cum hoc non possunt Ecclesiae ieiunia observari, non obligatur homo ad ieiunandum; quia non videtur fuisse intentio Ecclesiae statuentis ieiunia, ut per hoc impediret alias pias et magis necessarias causas. Videtur tamen in talibus recurrendum esse ad superioris dispensationem, nisi forte ubi ita est consuetum; quia ex hoc ipso quod praelati dissimulant, videntur annuere.   Reply to Objection 3: Apparently a distinction should be made with regard to pilgrims and working people. For if the pilgrimage or laborious work can be conveniently deferred or lessened without detriment to the bodily health and such external conditions as are necessary for the upkeep of bodily or spiritual life, there is no reason for omitting the fasts of the Church. But if one be under the necessity of starting on the pilgrimage at once, and of making long stages, or of doing much work, either for one's bodily livelihood, or for some need of the spiritual life, and it be impossible at the same time to keep the fasts of the Church, one is not bound to fast: because in ordering fasts the Church would not seem to have intended to prevent other pious and more necessary undertakings. Nevertheless, in such cases one ought seemingly, to seek the superior's dispensation; except perhaps when the above course is recognized by custom, since when superiors are silent they would seem to consent.
Ad quartum dicendum quod pauperes qui possunt sufficienter habere quod eis sufficiat ad unam comestionem, non excusantur propter paupertatem a ieiuniis Ecclesiae. A quibus tamen excusari videntur illi qui frustatim eleemosynas mendicant, qui non possunt simul habere quod eis ad victum sufficiat.   Reply to Objection 4: Those poor who can provide themselves with sufficient for one meal are not excused, on account of poverty, from keeping the fasts of the Church. On the other hand, those would seem to be exempt who beg their food piecemeal, since they are unable at any one time to have a sufficiency of food.
Ad quintum dicendum quod illud verbum domini tripliciter potest exponi. Uno modo, secundum Chrysostomum, qui dicit quod discipuli, qui filii sponsi dicuntur, adhuc imbecillius dispositi erant, unde vestimento veteri comparantur, et ideo, in praesentia corporali Christi, erant magis fovendi in quadam dulcedine quam in austeritate ieiunii exercendi. Et secundum hoc, magis convenit ut cum imperfectis et novitiis in ieiuniis dispensetur quam cum antiquioribus et perfectis, ut patet in Glossa, super illud Psalmi, sicut ablactatus super matre sua. Alio modo potest dici, secundum Hieronymum, quod dominus ibi loquitur de ieiunio veterum observantiarum. Unde per hoc significat dominus quod apostoli non erant in veteribus observantiis detinendi, quos oportebat gratiae novitate perfundi. Tertio modo, secundum Augustinum, qui distinguit duplex ieiunium. Quorum unum pertinet ad humilitatem tribulationis. Et hoc non competit viris perfectis, qui dicuntur filii sponsi, unde ubi Lucas dicit, non possunt filii sponsi ieiunare, Matthaeus dicit, non possunt filii sponsi lugere. Aliud autem est quod pertinet ad gaudium mentis in spiritualia suspensae. Et tale ieiunium convenit perfectis.   Reply to Objection 5: This saying of our Lord may be expounded in three ways. First, according to Chrysostom (Hom. xxx in Matth.), who says that "the disciples, who are called children of the bridegroom, were as yet of a weakly disposition, wherefore they are compared to an old garment." Hence while Christ was with them in body they were to be fostered with kindness rather than drilled with the harshness of fasting. According to this interpretation, it is fitting that dispensations should be granted to the imperfect and to beginners, rather than to the elders and the perfect, according to a gloss on Ps. 130:2, "As a child that is weaned is towards his mother." Secondly, we may say with Jerome [*Bede, Comment. in Luc. v] that our Lord is speaking here of the fasts of the observances of the Old Law. Wherefore our Lord means to say that the apostles were not to be held back by the old observances, since they were to be filled with the newness of grace. Thirdly, according to Augustine (De Consensu Evang. ii, 27), who states that fasting is of two kinds. one pertains to those who are humbled by disquietude, and this is not befitting perfect men, for they are called "children of the bridegroom"; hence when we read in Luke: "The children of the bridegroom cannot fast [*Hom. xiii, in Matth.]," we read in Mt. 9:15: "The children of the bridegroom cannot mourn [*Vulg.: 'Can the children of the bridegroom mourn?']." The other pertains to the mind that rejoices in adhering to spiritual things: and this fasting is befitting the perfect.


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Whether the times for the Church fast are fittingly ascribed?

Ad quintum sic proceditur. Videtur quod non determinentur convenienter tempora ieiunii ecclesiastici. Christus enim legitur, Matth. IV, statim post Baptismum ieiunium inchoasse. Sed nos Christum imitari debemus, secundum illud I ad Cor. IV, imitatores mei estote, sicut et ego Christi. Ergo et nos debemus ieiunium peragere statim post Epiphaniam, in qua Baptismus Christi celebratur.   Objection 1: It would seem that the times for the Church fast are unfittingly appointed. For we read (Mt. 4) that Christ began to fast immediately after being baptized. Now we ought to imitate Christ, according to 1 Cor. 4%3A16, "Be ye followers of me, as I also am of Christ." Therefore we ought to fast immediately after the Epiphany when Christ's baptism is celebrated.
Praeterea, caeremonialia veteris legis non licet in nova lege observare. Sed ieiunia in quibusdam determinatis mensibus pertinent ad solemnitates veteris legis, dicitur enim Zach. VIII, ieiunium quarti, et ieiunium quinti, et ieiunium septimi, et ieiunium decimi erit domui Iudae in gaudium et laetitiam, et in solemnitates praeclaras. Ergo ieiunia specialium mensium, quae dicuntur quatuor temporum, inconvenienter in Ecclesia observantur.   Objection 2: Further, it is unlawful in the New Law to observe the ceremonies of the Old Law. Now it belongs to the solemnities of the Old Law to fast in certain particular months: for it is written (Zach. 8:19): "The fast of the fourth month and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth shall be to the house of Judah, joy and gladness and great solemnities." Therefore the fast of certain months, which are called Ember days, are unfittingly kept in the Church.
Praeterea, secundum Augustinum, in libro de consensu Evang., sicut est ieiunium afflictionis, ita est ieiunium exultationis. Sed maxime exultatio spiritualis fidelibus imminet ex Christi resurrectione. Ergo in tempore quinquagesimae, in quo Ecclesia solemnizat propter dominicam resurrectionem, in diebus dominicalibus, in quibus memoria resurrectionis agitur, debent aliqua ieiunia indici.   Objection 3: Further, according to Augustine (De Consensu Evang. ii, 27), just as there is a fast "of sorrow," so is there a fast "of joy." Now it is most becoming that the faithful should rejoice spiritually in Christ's Resurrection. Therefore during the five weeks which the Church solemnizes on account of Christ's Resurrection, and on Sundays which commemorate the Resurrection, fasts ought to be appointed.
Sed contra est communis Ecclesiae consuetudo.   On the contrary, stands the general custom of the Church.
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, ieiunium ad duo ordinatur, scilicet ad deletionem culpae, et ad elevationem mentis in superna. Et ideo illis temporibus specialiter fuerunt ieiunia indicenda in quibus oportebat homines a peccato purgari, et mentem fidelium elevari in Deum per devotionem. Quod quidem praecipue imminet ante paschalem solemnitatem. In qua et culpae per Baptismum relaxantur, qui solemniter in vigilia Paschae celebratur, quando recolitur dominica sepultura, quia per Baptismum consepelimur Christo in mortem, ut dicitur Rom. VI. In festo etiam Paschae maxime oportet mentem hominis per devotionem elevari ad aeternitatis gloriam, quam Christus resurgendo inchoavit. Et ideo immediate ante solemnitatem paschalem Ecclesia statuit esse ieiunandum, et eadem ratione, in vigiliis praecipuarum festivitatum, in quibus praeparari nos oportet ad festa futura devote celebranda. Similiter etiam consuetudo ecclesiastica habet ut in singulis quartis anni sacri ordines conferantur (in cuius signum, dominus quatuor millia hominum de septem panibus satiavit, per quos significatur annus novi testamenti, ut Hieronymus dicit ibidem), ad quorum susceptionem oportet per ieiunium praeparari et eos qui ordinant, et illos qui ordinandi sunt, et etiam totum populum, pro cuius utilitate ordinantur. Unde et legitur, Lucae VI, quod dominus, ante discipulorum electionem, exivit in montem orare, quod exponens Ambrosius, dicit, quid te facere convenit cum vis aliquod officium pietatis adoriri quando Christus, missurus apostolos, prius oravit?   I answer that, As stated above (Articles [1],3), fasting is directed to two things, the deletion of sin, and the raising of the mind to heavenly things. Wherefore fasting ought to be appointed specially for those times, when it behooves man to be cleansed from sin, and the minds of the faithful to be raised to God by devotion: and these things are particularly requisite before the feast of Easter, when sins are loosed by baptism, which is solemnly conferred on Easter-eve, on which day our Lord's burial is commemorated, because "we are buried together with Christ by baptism unto death" (Rm. 6:4). Moreover at the Easter festival the mind of man ought to be devoutly raised to the glory of eternity, which Christ restored by rising from the dead, and so the Church ordered a fast to be observed immediately before the Paschal feast; and for the same reason, on the eve of the chief festivals, because it is then that one ought to make ready to keep the coming feast devoutly. Again it is the custom in the Church for Holy orders to be conferred every quarter of the year (in sign whereof our Lord fed four thousand men with seven loaves, which signify the New Testament year as Jerome says [*Comment. in Marc. viii]): and then both the ordainer, and the candidates for ordination, and even the whole people, for whose good they are ordained, need to fast in order to make themselves ready for the ordination. Hence it is related (Lk. 6:12) that before choosing His disciples our Lord "went out into a mountain to pray": and Ambrose [*Exposit. in Luc.] commenting on these words says: "What shouldst thou do, when thou desirest to undertake some pious work, since Christ prayed before sending His apostles?"
Ratio autem numeri, quantum ad quadragesimale ieiunium, est triplex, secundum Gregorium. Prima quidem, quia virtus Decalogi per libros quatuor sancti Evangelii impletur, denarius autem quater ductus in quadragenarium surgit. Vel quia in hoc mortali corpore ex quatuor elementis subsistimus, per cuius voluntatem praeceptis dominicis contraimus, quae per Decalogum sunt accepta. Unde dignum est ut eandem carnem quaterdecies affligamus. Vel quia ita offerre contendimus Deo decimas dierum. Dum enim per trecentos et sexaginta dies annus ducitur, nos autem per triginta sex dies affligimur, qui sunt ieiunabiles in sex septimanis Quadragesimae, quasi anni nostri decimas Deo damus. Secundum autem Augustinum, additur quarta ratio. Nam creator est Trinitas, pater et filius et spiritus sanctus. Creaturae vero invisibili debetur ternarius numerus, diligere enim iubemur Deum ex toto corde, ex tota anima, ex tota mente. Creaturae vero visibili debetur quaternarius, propter calidum et frigidum, humidum et siccum. Sic ergo per denarium significantur omnes res, qui si ducatur per quaternarium, qui competit corpori, per quod administratio geritur, quadragesimum numerum conficit.    With regard to the forty day's fast, according to Gregory (Hom. xvi in Evang.) there are three reasons for the number. First, "because the power of the Decalogue is accomplished in the four books of the Holy Gospels: since forty is the product of ten multiplied by four." Or "because we are composed of four elements in this mortal body through whose lusts we transgress the Lord's commandments which are delivered to us in the Decalogue. Wherefore it is fitting we should punish that same body forty times. or, because, just as under the Law it was commanded that tithes should be paid of things, so we strive to pay God a tithe of days, for since a year is composed of three hundred and sixty-six days, by punishing ourselves for thirty-six days" (namely, the fasting days during the six weeks of Lent) "we pay God a tithe of our year." According to Augustine (De Doctr. Christ. ii, 16) a fourth reason may be added. For the Creator is the "Trinity," Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: while the number "three" refers to the invisible creature, since we are commanded to love God, with our whole heart, with our whole soul, and with our whole mind: and the number "four" refers to the visible creature, by reason of heat, cold, wet and dry. Thus the number "ten" [*Ten is the sum of three, three, and four] signifies all things, and if this be multiplied by four which refers to the body whereby we make use of things, we have the number forty.
Singula vero ieiunia quatuor temporum tribus diebus continentur, propter numerum mensium qui competit cuilibet tempori. Vel propter numerum sacrorum ordinum, qui in his temporibus conferuntur.    Each fast of the Ember days is composed of three days, on account of the number of months in each season: or on account of the number of Holy orders which are conferred at these times.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod Christus Baptismo non indiguit propter seipsum, sed ut nobis Baptismum commendaret. Et ideo sibi non competebat ut ante Baptismum suum ieiunaret, sed post Baptismum, ut nos invitaret ad ieiunandum ante nostrum Baptismum.   Reply to Objection 1: Christ needed not baptism for His own sake, but in order to commend baptism to us. Wherefore it was competent for Him to fast, not before, but after His baptism, in order to invite us to fast before our baptism.
Ad secundum dicendum quod Ecclesia non servat ieiunia quatuor temporum nec omnino eisdem temporibus quibus Iudaei, nec etiam propter causas easdem. Illi enim ieiunabant in Iulio, qui est quartus mensis ab Aprili, quem primum habent, quia tunc Moyses, descendens de monte Sina, tabulas legis confregit; et iuxta Ieremiam, muri primum rupti sunt civitatis. In quinto autem mense, qui apud nos vocatur Augustus, cum propter exploratores seditio esset orta in populo, iussi sunt in montem non ascendere, et in hoc mense a Nabuchodonosor, et post a Tito, templum Hierosolymis est incensum. In septimo vero, qui appellatur October, Godolias occisus est, et reliquiae populi dissipatae. In decimo vero mense, qui apud nos Ianuarius dicitur, populus cum Ezechiele in captivitate positus, audivit templum esse subversum.   Reply to Objection 2: The Church keeps the Ember fasts, neither at the very same time as the Jews, nor for the same reasons. For they fasted in July, which is the fourth month from April (which they count as the first), because it was then that Moses coming down from Mount Sinai broke the tables of the Law (Ex. 32), and that, according to Jer. 39%3A2, "the walls of the city were first broken through." In the fifth month, which we call August, they fasted because they were commanded not to go up on to the mountain, when the people had rebelled on account of the spies (Num. 14): also in this month the temple of Jerusalem was burnt down by Nabuchodonosor (Jer. 52) and afterwards by Titus. In the seventh month which we call October, Godolias was slain, and the remnants of the people were dispersed (Jer. 51). In the tenth month, which we call January, the people who were with Ezechiel in captivity heard of the destruction of the temple (Ezech. 4).
Ad tertium dicendum quod ieiunium exultationis ex instinctu spiritus sancti procedit, qui est spiritus libertatis. Et ideo hoc ieiunium sub praecepto cadere non debet. Ieiunia ergo quae praecepto Ecclesiae instituuntur, sunt magis ieiunia afflictionis, quae non conveniunt in diebus laetitiae. Propter quod, non est ieiunium ab Ecclesia institutum in toto paschali tempore, nec etiam in diebus dominicis. In quibus si quis ieiunaret, contra consuetudinem populi Christiani, quae, ut Augustinus dicit, est pro lege habenda; vel etiam ex aliquo errore, sicut Manichaei ieiunant quasi necessarium tale ieiunium arbitrantes, non essent a peccato immunes, quamvis ipsum ieiunium secundum se consideratum omni tempore sit laudabile, secundum quod Hieronymus dicit, ad Lucinum, utinam omni tempore ieiunare possimus.   Reply to Objection 3: The "fasting of joy" proceeds from the instigation of the Holy Ghost Who is the Spirit of liberty, wherefore this fasting should not be a matter of precept. Accordingly the fasts appointed by the commandment of the Church are rather "fasts of sorrow" which are inconsistent with days of joy. For this reason fasting is not ordered by the Church during the whole of the Paschal season, nor on Sundays: and if anyone were to fast at these times in contradiction to the custom of Christian people, which as Augustine declares (Ep. xxxvi) "is to be considered as law," or even through some erroneous opinion (thus the Manichees fast, because they deem such fasting to be of obligation)—he would not be free from sin. Nevertheless fasting considered in itself is commendable at all times; thus Jerome wrote (Ad Lucin., Ep. lxxi): "Would that we might fast always."


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Whether it is requisite for fasting that one eat but once?

Ad sextum sic proceditur. Videtur quod non requiratur ad ieiunium quod homo semel tantum comedat. Ieiunium enim, ut dictum est, est actus virtutis abstinentiae, quae quidem non minus observat debitam quantitatem cibi quam comestionis numerum. Non autem taxatur ieiunantibus quantitas cibi. Ergo nec numerus comestionis taxari debet.   Objection 1: It would seem that it is not requisite for fasting that one eat but once. For, as stated above (Article [2]), fasting is an act of the virtue of abstinence, which observes due quantity of food not less than the number of meals. Now the quantity of food is not limited for those who fast. Therefore neither should the number of meals be limited.
Praeterea, sicut homo nutritur cibo, ita et potu. Unde et potus ieiunium solvit, propter quod, post potum non possumus Eucharistiam accipere. Sed non est prohibitum quin pluries bibamus, diversis horis diei. Ergo etiam non debet esse prohibitum ieiunantibus quin pluries comedant.   Objection 2: Further, Just as man is nourished by meat, so is he by drink: wherefore drink breaks the fast, and for this reason we cannot receive the Eucharist after drinking. Now we are not forbidden to drink at various hours of the day. Therefore those who fast should not be forbidden to eat several times.
Praeterea, electuaria quidam cibi sunt. Quae tamen a multis in diebus ieiunii post comestionem sumuntur. Ergo unitas comestionis non est de ratione ieiunii.   Objection 3: Further, digestives are a kind of food: and yet many take them on fasting days after eating. Therefore it is not essential to fasting to take only one meal.
Sed in contrarium est communis consuetudo populi Christiani.   On the contrary, stands the common custom of the Christian people.
Respondeo dicendum quod ieiunium ab Ecclesia instituitur ad concupiscentiam refrenandam, ita tamen quod natura salvetur. Ad hoc autem sufficere videtur unica comestio, per quam homo potest et naturae satisfacere, et tamen concupiscentiae aliquid detrahit, diminuendo comestionum vices. Et ideo Ecclesiae moderatione statutum est ut semel in die a ieiunantibus comedatur.   I answer that, Fasting is instituted by the Church in order to bridle concupiscence, yet so as to safeguard nature. Now only one meal is seemingly sufficient for this purpose, since thereby man is able to satisfy nature; and yet he withdraws something from concupiscence by minimizing the number of meals. Therefore it is appointed by the Church, in her moderation, that those who fast should take one meal in the day.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod quantitas cibi non potuit eadem omnibus taxari, propter diversas corporum complexiones, ex quibus contingit quod unus maiori, alter minori indiget cibo. Sed ut plurimum omnes possunt naturae satisfacere per unicam comestionem.   Reply to Objection 1: It was not possible to fix the same quantity of food for all, on account of the various bodily temperaments, the result being that one person needs more, and another less food: whereas, for the most part, all are able to satisfy nature by only one meal.
Ad secundum dicendum quod duplex est ieiunium. Unum quidem naturae quod requiritur ad Eucharistiae sumptionem. Et hoc solvitur per quemlibet potum, etiam aquae, post quem non licet Eucharistiam sumere. Est autem aliud ieiunium Ecclesiae, quod dicitur ieiunium ieiunantis. Et istud non solvitur nisi per ea quae Ecclesia interdicere intendit instituendo ieiunium. Non autem intendit Ecclesia interdicere abstinentiam potus, qui magis sumitur ad alterationem corporis et digestionem ciborum assumptorum quam ad nutritionem, licet aliquo modo nutriat. Et ideo licet pluries ieiunantibus bibere. Si autem quis immoderate potu utatur, potest peccare et meritum ieiunii perdere, sicut etiam si immoderate cibum in una comestione assumat.   Reply to Objection 2: Fasting is of two kinds [*Cf. Article [1], ad 3]. One is the natural fast, which is requisite for receiving the Eucharist. This is broken by any kind of drink, even of water, after which it is not lawful to receive the Eucharist. The fast of the Church is another kind and is called the "fasting of the faster," and this is not broken save by such things as the Church intended to forbid in instituting the fast. Now the Church does not intend to command abstinence from drink, for this is taken more for bodily refreshment, and digestion of the food consumed, although it nourishes somewhat. It is, however, possible to sin and lose the merit of fasting, by partaking of too much drink: as also by eating immoderately at one meal.
Ad tertium dicendum quod electuaria, etsi aliquo modo nutriant, non tamen principaliter assumuntur ad nutrimentum, sed ad digestionem ciborum. Unde non solvunt ieiunium, sicut nec aliarum medicinarum assumptio, nisi forte aliquis in fraudem electuaria in magna quantitate assumat per modum cibi.   Reply to Objection 3: Although digestives nourish somewhat they are not taken chiefly for nourishment, but for digestion. Hence one does not break one's fast by taking them or any other medicines, unless one were to take digestives, with a fraudulent intention, in great quantity and by way of food.


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Article: 7  [<< | >>]

Whether the ninth hour is suitably fixed for the faster's meal?

Ad septimum sic proceditur. Videtur quod hora nona non convenienter taxetur ad comedendum, his qui ieiunant. Status enim novi testamenti est perfectior quam status veteris testamenti. Sed in veteri testamento ieiunabant usque ad vesperam, dicitur enim Levit. XXIII, sabbatum est, affligetis animas vestras; et postea sequitur, a vespere usque ad vesperam celebrabitis sabbata vestra. Ergo multo magis in novo testamento ieiunium debet indici usque ad vesperam.   Objection 1: It would seem that the ninth hour is not suitably fixed for the faster's meal. For the state of the New Law is more perfect than the state of the Old Law. Now in the Old Testament they fasted until evening, for it is written (Lev. 23:32): "It is a sabbath . . . you shall afflict your souls," and then the text continues: "From evening until evening you shall celebrate your sabbaths." Much more therefore under the New Testament should the fast be ordered until the evening.
Praeterea, ieiunium ab Ecclesia institutum omnibus imponitur. Sed non omnes possunt determinate cognoscere horam nonam. Ergo videtur quod taxatio horae nonae non debeat cadere sub statuto ieiunii.   Objection 2: Further, the fast ordered by the Church is binding on all. But all are not able to know exactly the ninth hour. Therefore it seems that the fixing of the ninth hour should not form part of the commandment to fast.
Praeterea, ieiunium est actus virtutis abstinentiae, ut supra dictum est. Sed virtus moralis non eodem modo accipit medium quoad omnes, quia quod est multum uni, est parum alteri, ut dicitur in II Ethic. Ergo non debet ieiunantibus taxari hora nona.   Objection 3: Further, fasting is an act of the virtue of abstinence, as stated above (Article [2]). Now the mean of moral virtue does not apply in the same way to all, since what is much for one is little for another, as stated in Ethic. ii, 6. Therefore the ninth hour should not be fixed for those who fast.
Sed contra est quod Concilium Cabillonense dicit, in Quadragesima nullatenus credendi sunt ieiunare qui ante manducaverint quam vespertinum celebretur officium, quod quadragesimali tempore post nonam dicitur. Ergo usque ad nonam est ieiunandum.   On the contrary, The Council of Chalons [*The quotation is from the Capitularies (Cap. 39) of Theodulf, bishop of Orleans (760-821) and is said to be found in the Corpus Juris, Cap. Solent, dist. 1, De Consecratione] says: "During Lent those are by no means to be credited with fasting who eat before the celebration of the office of Vespers," which in the Lenten season is said after the ninth hour. Therefore we ought to fast until the ninth hour.
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut dictum est, ieiunium ordinatur ad deletionem et cohibitionem culpae. Unde oportet quod aliquid addat supra communem consuetudinem, ita tamen quod per hoc non multum natura gravetur. Est autem debita et communis consuetudo comedendi hominibus circa horam sextam, tum quia iam videtur esse completa digestio, nocturno tempore naturali calore interius revocato propter frigus noctis circumstans, et diffusio humoris per membra, cooperante ad hoc calore diei usque ad summum solis ascensum; tum etiam quia tunc praecipue natura corporis humani indiget iuvari contra exteriorem aeris calorem, ne humores interius adurantur. Et ideo, ut ieiunans aliquam afflictionem sentiat pro culpae satisfactione, conveniens hora comedendi taxatur ieiunantibus circa nonam.   I answer that, As stated above (Articles [1],3,5), fasting is directed to the deletion and prevention of sin. Hence it ought to add something to the common custom, yet so as not to be a heavy burden to nature. Now the right and common custom is for men to eat about the sixth hour: both because digestion is seemingly finished (the natural heat being withdrawn inwardly at night-time on account of the surrounding cold of the night), and the humor spread about through the limbs (to which result the heat of the day conduces until the sun has reached its zenith), and again because it is then chiefly that the nature of the human body needs assistance against the external heat that is in the air, lest the humors be parched within. Hence, in order that those who fast may feel some pain in satisfaction for their sins, the ninth hour is suitably fixed for their meal.
Convenit etiam ista hora mysterio passionis Christi, quae completa fuit hora nona, quando, inclinato capite, tradidit spiritum. Ieiunantes enim, dum suam carnem affligunt, passioni Christi conformantur, secundum illud Galat. V, qui Christi sunt, carnem suam crucifixerunt, cum vitiis et concupiscentiis.    Moreover, this hour agrees with the mystery of Christ's Passion, which was brought to a close at the ninth hour, when "bowing His head, He gave up the ghost" (Jn. 19:30): because those who fast by punishing their flesh, are conformed to the Passion of Christ, according to Gal. 5:24, "They that are Christ's, have crucified their flesh with the vices and concupiscences."
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod status veteris testamenti comparatur nocti, status vero novi testamenti diei, secundum illud Rom. XIII, nox praecessit, dies autem appropinquavit. Et ideo in veteri testamento ieiunabant usque ad noctem, non autem in novo testamento.   Reply to Objection 1: The state of the Old Testament is compared to the night, while the state of the New Testament is compared to the day, according to Rm. 13:12, "The night is passed and the day is at hand." Therefore in the Old Testament they fasted until night, but not in the New Testament.
Ad secundum dicendum quod ad ieiunium requiritur hora determinata non secundum subtilem examinationem, sed secundum grossam aestimationem, sufficit enim quod sit circa horam nonam. Et hoc de facili quilibet cognoscere potest.   Reply to Objection 2: Fasting requires a fixed hour based, not on a strict calculation, but on a rough estimate: for it suffices that it be about the ninth hour, and this is easy for anyone to ascertain.
Ad tertium dicendum quod modicum augmentum, vel etiam modicus defectus, non multum potest nocere. Non est autem magnum temporis spatium quod est ab hora sexta, in qua communiter homines comedere consueverunt, usque ad horam nonam, quae ieiunantibus determinatur. Et ideo talis taxatio temporis non multum potest alicui nocere, cuiuscumque conditionis existat. Vel, si forte propter infirmitatem vel aetatem aut aliquid huiusmodi, hoc eis in magnum gravamen cederet, esset cum eis in ieiunio dispensandum, vel ut aliquantulum praevenirent horam.   Reply to Objection 3: A little more or a little less cannot do much harm. Now it is not a long space of time from the sixth hour at which men for the most part are wont to eat, until the ninth hour, which is fixed for those who fast. Wherefore the fixing of such a time cannot do much harm to anyone, whatever his circumstances may be. If however this were to prove a heavy burden to a man on account of sickness, age, or some similar reason, he should be dispensed from fasting, or be allowed to forestall the hour by a little.


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Question: 147  [<< | >>]
Article: 8  [<< | >>]

Whether it is fitting that those who fast should be bidden to abstain from flesh meat, eggs, and milk foods?

Videtur quod inconvenienter ieiunantibus indicatur abstinentia a carnibus et ovis et lacticiniis. Dictum est enim supra quod ieiunium est institutum ad concupiscentias carnis refrenandas. Sed magis concupiscentiam provocat potus vini quam esus carnium, secundum illud Prov. XX, luxuriosa res est vinum; et Ephes. V, nolite inebriari vino, in quo est luxuria. Cum ergo non interdicatur ieiunantibus potus vini, videtur quod non debeat interdici esus carnium.   Objection 1: It would seem unfitting that those who fast should be bidden to abstain from flesh meat, eggs, and milk foods. For it has been stated above (Article [6]) that fasting was instituted as a curb on the concupiscence of the flesh. Now concupiscence is kindled by drinking wine more than by eating flesh; according to Prov. 20:1, "Wine is a luxurious thing," and Eph. 5:18, "Be not drunk with wine, wherein is luxury." Since then those who fast are not forbidden to drink wine, it seems that they should not be forbidden to eat flesh meat.
Praeterea, aliqui pisces ita delectabiliter comeduntur sicut quaedam animalium carnes. Sed concupiscentia est appetitus delectabilis, ut supra habitum est. Ergo in ieiunio, quod est institutum ad concupiscentiam refrenandam, sicut non interdicitur usus piscium, ita non debet interdici usus carnium.   Objection 2: Further, some fish are as delectable to eat as the flesh of certain animals. Now "concupiscence is desire of the delectable," as stated above (FS, Question [30], Article [1]). Therefore since fasting which was instituted in order to bridle concupiscence does not exclude the eating of fish, neither should it exclude the eating of flesh meat.
Praeterea, in quibusdam ieiuniorum diebus aliqui ovis et caseo utuntur. Ergo, pari ratione, in ieiunio quadragesimali talibus homo uti potest.   Objection 3: Further, on certain fasting days people make use of eggs and cheese. Therefore one can likewise make use of them during the Lenten fast.
Sed contra est communis fidelium consuetudo.   On the contrary, stands the common custom of the faithful.
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, ieiunium ab Ecclesia est institutum ad reprimendas concupiscentias carnis. Quae quidem sunt delectabilium secundum tactum, quae consistunt in cibis et venereis. Et ideo illos cibos Ecclesia ieiunantibus interdixit qui et in comedendo maxime habent delectationem, et iterum maxime hominem ad venerea provocant. Huiusmodi autem sunt carnes animalium in terra quiescentium et respirantium, et quae ex eis procedunt, sicut lacticinia ex gressibilibus, et ova ex avibus. Quia enim huiusmodi magis conformantur humano corpori, plus delectant et magis conferunt ad humani corporis nutrimentum, et sic ex eorum comestione plus superfluit ut vertatur in materiam seminis, cuius multiplicatio est maximum incitamentum luxuriae. Et ideo ab his cibis praecipue ieiunantibus Ecclesia statuit esse abstinendum.   I answer that, As stated above (Article [6]), fasting was instituted by the Church in order to bridle the concupiscences of the flesh, which regard pleasures of touch in connection with food and sex. Wherefore the Church forbade those who fast to partake of those foods which both afford most pleasure to the palate, and besides are a very great incentive to lust. Such are the flesh of animals that take their rest on the earth, and of those that breathe the air and their products, such as milk from those that walk on the earth, and eggs from birds. For, since such like animals are more like man in body, they afford greater pleasure as food, and greater nourishment to the human body, so that from their consumption there results a greater surplus available for seminal matter, which when abundant becomes a great incentive to lust. Hence the Church has bidden those who fast to abstain especially from these foods.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod ad actum generationis tria concurrunt, scilicet calor, spiritus et humor. Ad calorem quidem maxime cooperatur vinum, et alia calefacientia corpus; ad spiritus autem videntur cooperari inflativa; sed ad humorem maxime cooperatur usus carnium, ex quibus multum de alimento generatur. Alteratio autem caloris et multiplicatio spirituum cito transit, sed substantia humoris diu manet. Et ideo magis interdicitur ieiunantibus usus carnium quam vini, vel leguminum, quae sunt inflativa.   Reply to Objection 1: Three things concur in the act of procreation, namely, heat, spirit [*Cf. P. I., Q. 118, Article [1], ad 3], and humor. Wine and other things that heat the body conduce especially to heat: flatulent foods seemingly cooperate in the production of the vital spirit: but it is chiefly the use of flesh meat which is most productive of nourishment, that conduces to the production of humor. Now the alteration occasioned by heat, and the increase in vital spirits are of short duration, whereas the substance of the humor remains a long time. Hence those who fast are forbidden the use of flesh meat rather than of wine or vegetables which are flatulent foods.
Ad secundum dicendum quod Ecclesia, ieiunium instituens, intendit ad id quod communius accidit. Esus autem carnium est magis delectabilis communiter quam esus piscium, quamvis in quibusdam aliter se habeat. Et ideo Ecclesia magis ieiunantibus prohibuit esum carnium quam esum piscium.   Reply to Objection 2: In the institution of fasting, the Church takes account of the more common occurrences. Now, generally speaking, eating flesh meat affords more pleasure than eating fish, although this is not always the case. Hence the Church forbade those who fast to eat flesh meat, rather than to eat fish.
Ad tertium dicendum quod ova et lacticinia ieiunantibus interdicuntur inquantum sunt animalibus exorta carnes habentibus. Unde principalius interdicuntur quam ova vel lacticinia. Similiter etiam inter alia ieiunia, solemnius est quadragesimale ieiunium, tum quia observatur ad imitationem Christi; tum etiam quia per ipsum disponimur ad redemptionis nostrae mysteria devote celebranda. Et ideo in quolibet ieiunio interdicitur esus carnium, in ieiunio autem quadragesimali interdicuntur universaliter etiam ova et lacticinia. Circa quorum abstinentiam in aliis ieiuniis diversae consuetudines existunt apud diversos, quas quisque observare debet, secundum morem eorum inter quos conversatur. Unde Hieronymus dicit, de ieiuniis loquens, unaquaeque provincia abundet in suo sensu, et praecepta maiorum leges apostolicas arbitretur.   Reply to Objection 3: Eggs and milk foods are forbidden to those who fast, for as much as they originate from animals that provide us with flesh: wherefore the prohibition of flesh meat takes precedence of the prohibition of eggs and milk foods. Again the Lenten fast is the most solemn of all, both because it is kept in imitation of Christ, and because it disposes us to celebrate devoutly the mysteries of our redemption. For this reason the eating of flesh meat is forbidden in every fast, while the Lenten fast lays a general prohibition even on eggs and milk foods. As to the use of the latter things in other fasts the custom varies among different people, and each person is bound to conform to that custom which is in vogue with those among whom he is dwelling. Hence Jerome says [*Augustine, De Lib. Arb. iii, 18; cf. De Nat. et Grat. lxvii]: "Let each province keep to its own practice, and look upon the commands of the elders as though they were the laws of the apostles."

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