Friday, June 17, 2011

Do I Do Penance or Not?

All men should do penance – myself not least.

Of course, Fridays not being solemnities are appointed days of penance by Holy Mother Church; and, in Australia, there is no obligation to fulfil this by abstaining from fleshmeat except on Good Friday (and also on Ash Wednesday), but some proportionate penance ought be done in order to fulfil this obligation.

That said, while on Friday I normally avoid eating meat in order thus to do an acceptable, traditionally hallowed penance of abstinence from flesh, but sometimes instead I spend some time in prayer – for a long time, I tended to say the Penitential Psalms for this purpose – if for whatever reason meat appears on the menu.

Now, in the more particular of the present case, do I or do I not need to do Friday penance this Friday?  Because, in the Office I pray, to-day is Ember Friday in the Octave of Pentecost, and is a first-class feast; but, as I have no 1962 Mass to attend, if I did go to church to-day it would be just a Friday in Ordinary Time (horrid term!).

As it is, while walking down to town earlier I used my new iPhone (free advertisement for Apple, please note – and yes, I use Apple for all my computing needs) to read Matins and Lauds according to the Roman Rite via Divinum Officium, that excellent website. Perhaps I'll say a bit more...  Hmmm, perhaps a Missa sicca... (I remember myself and a seminarian friend, years ago, who wickedly emailed our long-suffering theology lecturer to invite her to a pretend Dry Mass, complete with elevation of a "relic", actually an animal-bone: don't worry, it was all in good fun.)

It seems to me that I do follow the Extraordinary Form, so does that suffice to prove I'm not bound by the law of Friday penance to-day?

1 comment:

Anagnostis said...

Whatever you do, do it "in spirit and in truth" or not at all. As I never tire of pointing out, it's perfectly possible to do shedloads of "penance" without ever broaching repentance - change of mind and heart - which is the one thing necessary.