By Mary DeTurris Poust
Growing up in a traditional Catholic household, where my mother in particular was very careful to keep Church rules and even incorporated a few rules of her own (Thanksgiving was a holy day of obligation for our family), I never thought twice about the fact that we did not count the Sundays of Lent when we decided what we were going to give up for the season.
When Sunday rolled around, we'd have the opportunity to eat sweets or eat in between meals or do whatever it was we had sacrificed all the other days of Lent. (Being Irish and Italian, we also took off on St. Patrick's Day and St. Joseph's Day.)
Then I met my husband, who looked at me as if I was insane when I explained this Lenten tradition to him. Take Sundays off? It didn't seem to be in keeping with the spirit of Lent, not to mention the rules.
But, as you know, if you add up the days of Lent, the big 4-0 does not include Sundays. Why? Because the Church views Sunday as a celebration of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus, not a day for fasting. Every Sunday is a mini-Easter, even during Lent. So, my family carried that resurrection theme into all of Sunday, not just the Mass portion. And to this day, I consider Sunday a day to break from the fast. When my children say they are going to give up sweets except on Sundays, I'm all for it. It makes Sunday special, as it should be.
How does it work at your house? Do you include Sundays in your Lenten fast? Inquiring Catholics minds want to know.