The Guéranger Blog

Welcome to the Gueranger Blog! You have stumbled across the notebook I use to record my thoughts as I read through Dom Prosper Gueranger's 15-volume set, The Liturgical Year. I do not have any special expertise in liturgy, but I have some general knowledge of Catholic theology and an enthusiasm for Gueranger's magnum opus. Think of it as the Liturgical Year fan site!

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Lent for Mothers

Canisius | 01 March, 2006 16:24

Now, there is one point the feminists have gotten right: history has been recorded from the point of view of the men, so it is often hard to know what life was like for the women. Unfortunately, the historians who have labored to fix this problem have done so with a polemical bent, so that their report is often difficult to trust.

Dom Gueranger records the fasting regulations of his day and of previous eras, which were much, much more rigorous than our current laws. But even on our current regulations, my family runs into a problem every year: if a woman is pregnant or breastfeeding then fasting is dangerous to the baby, but if a couple is open to life and follows traditional breastfeeding practices then the woman will (probably) be pregnant or breastfeeding every Lent for many, many years. What did women do, back in the day?

Others must be facing this riddle, so I'll jot down the thoughts we've had about it, but please--if anyone has a great answer to this, do stick it in the combox!

1. Food penances can be practiced either by limiting the quantity of the food or by limiting the tastiness of the food. Someone who cannot take part in the regular fast can still, for example, limit their diet to plain rice and beans.

2. Scheduled eating is more difficult than random grazing. Instead of getting a snack whenever she feels like it, a woman who can't join the fast might decide not to snack between meals; or if this is a problem for the baby (as it has been for ours), she could set definite times in the morning and afternoon for her snacks.

3. She can eat a pre-set amount of food. Experimentation will show what is needed to keep the baby's milk supply adequate, and she can reduce her intake to that level. It's actually harder in some ways to eat a little and stop than to eat nothing at all!


Comment Icon Fasting for mothers

Louis | 02/03/2006, 19:43

Throughout the Church's history, nursing and pregnant women have always been exempted from the Church's laws on fasting.

Since fasting is simply a means for overcoming concupiscence, I would recommend simply picking some other means to that end. While fasting is one of the best means, it is certainly not the only one.

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