IV Sententiae d. 15, q. 3
Concerning Fasting

utrum hujusmodi tempora debeant esse ad jejunium determinata, sicut ecclesia instituit.Article 3: Whether times such as these ought to be determined for fasting, as (those) instituted by the Church.
ad tertium sic proceditur. videtur quod hujusmodi tempora non debeant esse ad jejunium determinata, sicut ecclesia instituit.Sub-article 1: It would seem that such times ought not to be determined for fasting, as those instituted by the Church.
quia sicut jejunium est satisfactionis pars, ita eleemosyna. sed eleemosynarum tempus non est determinatum. ergo nec jejunii.Objection 1: For just as fasting is a part of reparation, so too is almsgiving. But almsgiving does not have a determined time. Therefore, neither does fasting.
praeterea, sicut legislator novi testamenti, scilicet christus, quadragesimam jejunavit; ita et legis veteris lator, scilicet moyses. sed populo veteris testamenti non indicebatur quadragesimale jejunium. ergo nec populo novi testamenti indici debet.Objection 2: Furthermore, just as the law maker of the New Testament, namely Christ, fasted for 40 days, so too did the law-bearer of the Old Testament, namely Moses. But the 40 day fast was not imposed upon the people of the Old Testament. Therefore neither ought it to be imposed upon the people of the New Testament.
praeterea, christus statim post baptismum legitur, matth. 4, jejunium in deserto inchoasse. si ergo nos in actibus nostris christo conformari debemus, statim post epiphaniam, quando baptismus christi celebratur, debemus quadragesimale jejunium inchoare.Objection 3: Furthermore, it is written at Matthew 4 that Christ, immediately after his baptism, began to fast in the desert. Therefore if we are to be conformed to Christ in our actions, we ought to begin the 40 day fast immediately after the Epiphany when the baptism of Christ is celebrated.
praeterea, in veteri testamento habebant jejunium quarti mensis, et quinti, et septimi et decimi, quae non erant distincta per quatuor anni tempora. ergo videtur quod nec nos per quatuor anni tempora nostra jejunia distinguere debeamus.Objection 4: Furthermore, in the Old Testament, they used to fast in the 4th, 5th, 7th and 10th month which were not distinguished according to the four seasons of the year. Thus, it would seem that we ought not to distinguish our fast according to the four seasons of the year.
praeterea, temporibus laetitiae jejunium non competit; unde et tempore paschali intermittitur jejunium vigiliae apostolorum philippi et jacobi, et tempore nativitatis, jejunium vigiliae beati joannis evangelistae. sed infra octavas pentecostes adhuc durat gaudium paschalis festivitatis. ergo tunc jejunium non erit observandum.Objection 5: Furthermore, in times of rejoicing, fasting is not appropriate. Hence, at the time of Easter, the fast of the vigil of the Apostles Philip and Jacob is interrupted, and at the time of the Nativity, the fast of the vigil of Blessed John the Evangelist (is also interrupted). But among the octaves of Pentecost, the joy of the Easter festivities still continue. Therefore, fasting ought not to be observed at that time.
praeterea, in sanctorum solemniis eorum gloriam recolimus, ad quam translati sunt. sed jejunium statui gloriae non competit: quia non esurient neque sitient amplius. ergo in vigiliis solemnitatum jejunium non competit.Objection 6: Furthermore, during the solemnity of the saints, we reflect on the glory to which they have been brought. But fasting is not appropriate to the state of glory since they neither hunger nor thirst any longer. Therefore, fasting ought not to be observed at that time.
ulterius. videtur quod in aliquo tempore jejunium sit interdictum,Sub-article 2: It would seem that fasting is forbidden at certain times.
secundum quod gregorius in 2 dialogorum, cap. 1, narrat quemdam sacerdotem divinitus missum beato benedicto dixisse: dies resurrectionis est: non licet tibi hodie abstinere. ergo videtur quod in solemnitatibus illicitum est jejunare.Objection 1: According to Gregory in the 2nd book of his Dialogues, chapter 1, he tells of a certain priest who was divinely sent to speak to a blessed and holy man: "This day is of the resurrection: it is not licit for you to abstain this day." Therefore, it would seem that it is illicit to fast on solemnities.
praeterea, in esdra dicitur: sanctus dies domini est, nolite contristari; et additur: comedite pinguia etc.. ergo videtur quod in diebus solemnibus non liceat jejunare.Objection 2: Furthermore, in the book of Ezra, it is said: "Holy is the day of the Lord, do not be sad." And it is added: "Eat rich foods" etc. Therefore, it would seem that on days of solemnity it is not licit to fast.
sed contra est quod honorius tertius in quadam decretali dicit, quod die natalis sexta feria venienti non sunt prohibendi qui propter devotionem voluerint jejunare.On the contrary: Is that which Honorius the 3rd says in his Decretals, that on the arriving of the 6th day of the Nativity, those who, on account of their devotion, wish to fast, are not to be prohibited (from doing so).
ulterius. videtur quod hora nona non debeat esse tempus determinatum ad manducandum in diebus jejunii. Sub-article 3: It would seem that the ninth hour ought not to be the time determined to eat during the days of fasting.
quia circumstantiae secundum conditionem personarum sunt determinandae. sed non sunt ejusdem conditionis quantum ad potentiam abstinendi omnes quibus jejunium indicitur. ergo non esset eis omnibus una hora determinanda.Objection 1: For the circumstances are to be determined according to the condition of the people (who are called to fast). But all those on whom fasting is imposed are not of the same condition as far as their capacity to abstain. Therefore, there should not be a determined hour for all.
praeterea, status novi testamenti est perfectior quam status veteris. sed in veteri testamento jejunabant usque ad vesperam. ergo et usque ad vesperam homo debet comestionem nunc differre in diebus jejunii.Objection 2: Furthermore, the state of the New Testament is more perfect than that of the Old Testament. But in the Old Testament they used to fast until vespers. Therefore, man now ought to defer food until vespers in the days of fasting.
sed contra est consuetudo.On the contrary, is the established custom (of the Church).
respondeo dicendum ad primam quaestionem, quod ad legislatorem pertinent ea quae sunt ad vitam humanam necessaria, lege ordinare qualiter congruentius fieri possunt; et ideo cum aliquod tempus sit alio magis jejunio congruum, convenienter ab ecclesia determinatum tempus est ad jejunia institutum.I respond to the 1st. question (sub-article 1) saying that it belongs to the legislator to order by law those things which are necessary to human life in whatever way they can be better used. Thus, when one time is more appropriate than another for fasting, the time is properly determined by the Church in the fasting that it has established.
ad primum ergo dicendum, quod eleemosynae ordinantur ad subveniendum defectibus aliorum; et ideo non potest eleemosynis tempus determinari, sicut nec defectibus quibus subvenire oportet. sed jejunium est institutum ad comprimendum concupiscentiam carnis, et satisfaciendum pro peccatis praeteritis; et quia jejunium concupiscentiam comprimit, etiam postquam factum est, secundum quod ejus effectus manet in jejunante, ideo potest jejunio tempus praefigi.Response to the first objection: Almsgiving is ordered to assisting the needs of others. Thus, a time for almsgiving cannot be determined, as if one should not come to the aid of those in need (in times outside of this determined time). But fasting is instituted to restrain the concupiscence of the flesh and to make reparation for sins already committed. And since fasting restrains concupiscence even after the deed has been done (inasmuch as its effect remains in the one fasting), therefore a time can be fixed with respect to fasting.
ad secundum dicendum, quod moyses fuit legislator non tamquam dominus legis, sed tamquam famulus; christus autem tamquam dominus; et ideo non inducebat lex vetus ad conformitatem moysi, sicut nova lex inducit ad conformitatem christi: quia etiam angelorum intentio, quia non sunt domini, sed servi, non est ut alios in seipsos reducant, sed in deum, ut dionysius dicit.Response to the second objection: Moses was a legislator, not the lord of the law but rather its servant, so to speak. Christ however is the Lord (of the law). Thus the Old Law did not use to draw one to conformity with Moses, as the New Law does with Christ. For the intention even of the angels is not to call others back to themselves, but rather to God, as Dionysius says (for the angels are not lords but servants).
ad tertium dicendum, quod christus non jejunavit quasi ipse jejunio indigeret, sed ut ad gratiam ejus suscipiendam exemplo sui jejunii nos praepararet; et ideo post baptismum suum, in quo plenitudo gratiae ipsius declarata est testimonio patris et spiritus sancti, et etiam joannis, decebat ut exemplum jejunii sui nobis proponeret. nobis autem competit jejunium, ut praeparemur ad suscipiendam gratiam ipsius; unde, quia sacramenta gratiae ejus praecipue proponuntur circa festum paschae, ideo immediate ante solemnitatem paschalem quadragesimale jejunium impletur; et etiam quia tempus veris, quod tunc incipit, maxime est concupiscentiae aptum; et quia significatur quod ad gloriam resurrectionis per tribulationes praesentis vitae pervenimus, sicut et christus per passionem.Response to the third objection: Christ did not fast as if He Himself stood in need of fasting, but so that He might offer to us by His fasting an example to be taken up for the sake of grace. Thus after His baptism in which the fullness of His own grace was declared in the testimony of the Father and of the Holy Spirit, and even of John, it was fitting that an example of His fasting be put before us. Fasting is suitable to us so that we might prepare to receive His own grace. Hence since the sacraments of His grace especially are established around the feast of Easter, thus immediately before the solemnity of Easter, the 40 day fast is implemented; and also since the time of one's youth is most prone to concupiscence does fasting then begin; and because it is indicated that we arrive at the glory of the resurrection through the tribulations of the present life, just as Christ did through his Passion.
ad quartum dicendum, quod secundum hieronymum, judaei habebant speciales causas quare illa jejunia observabant. in julio enim, qui est quartus mensis ab aprili, quem ipsi primum habent, jejunabant: quia illo mense septima die mensis moyses descendens de monte legis tabulas confregit propter peccatum vituli conflatilis, et eodem mense muri hierusalem a nabuchodonosor destructi sunt. in quinto autem mense, idest in augusto, propter peccatum murmuris ex verbis exploratorum orti: illo etiam mense templum incensum est a nabuchodonosor, et postea etiam a tito. in septimo autem mense propter interfectionem godoliae, sub quo reliquiae populi conservabantur, ut patet hieremiae 41. in decimo autem mense in memoriam mortuorum quos dominus in deserto percusserat. nos autem praeter jejunium quadragesimale, in quo omnium dierum quasi decimam solvimus, in singulis quadris anni, tres dies jejunii instituti sunt, qui quasi in primitias computentur, et ad expiandum peccata singularum quartarum.Response to the fourth objection: According to Jerome, the Jews used to have particular reasons why they used to observe that fast. They used to fast in July, which is the 4th month from April which they themselves placed first. For in that month on the 7th day, Moses, coming down from the mountain, broke the tablets of the law because of the sin of the molten calf, and in the same month the walls of Jerusalem were destroyed by Nabuchodonosor. In the 5th month, that is, in August, (they fasted) because of the sin of murmuring by reason of the speech born of having been tried (in the desert); also in that month, the temple was burned by Nabuchodonosor, and after by Titus as well. In the 7th month, (they fasted) because of the slaying of Godolias, under whom the rest of the people were preserved, as is clear from Jeremiah 41. In the 10th month, (they fasted) in memory of the dead whom the Lord had struck down in the desert. In addition to the 40 day fast, in which of all days we exempt nearly ten, three days of fast are instituted in specific quarters of the year, which are counted among the first fruits, as it were, and to atone for the sins of each quarter.
ad quintum dicendum, quod sicut dicit leo papa: post sanctae laetitiae dies, quos in honorem domini resurgentis et in caelum ascendentis exegimus, et post acceptum spiritus sancti donum, salubriter et necessario consuetudo ordinata est jejunii, ut si quis forte inter ipsa festivitatis gaudia negligens libertate et licentia immoderata aliqua praesumpsit, hoc abstinentiae censura castiget. tamen etiam est jejunium exultationis, quod illis qui spiritum sanctum acceperunt, competit: cum gaudio enim spirituali etiam afflictio corporalis se compatitur; unde non fit genuflexio, et alleluja cantatur; quod in aliis jejuniis non observatur.Response to the fifth objection: As Pope Leo states: "After the days of holy joy, which we require in honor of the resurrection of the Lord, and His ascension into heaven, and after having received the gift of the Holy Spirit, one is ordained healthfully and by the necessity of custom to fasting, so that if someone perhaps amidst the very joys of the festivity presumed something immoderate neglecting freedom and license, the censure of abstinence corrects this. However, there is also the fasting of exultation which belongs to those who have received the Holy Spirit. For the affliction of the body suffers together with the joy of spiritual things. Hence genuflection is not performed, and the alleluia is sung, which is not observed in the other forms of fasting."
ad sextum dicendum, quod in solemnitatibus praecipuis vigilias jejunamus, ut paratiores ad devotionem festi simus, et ut gaudium aeternum, quod per solemnitates temporales significatur, ad tribulationes praesentis vitae, quas sancti passi sunt, subsequi demonstretur.Response to the sixth objection: We fast during the vigils in these particular solemnities so that we might be more prepared for the devotion of the feast, and so that the eternal joy which is signified through temporal solemnities, will be shown to follow the tribulations of the present life, which the saint have suffered.
ad secundam quaestionem dicendum,
quod jejunium, quantum est de se, nullo tempore est prohibitum. unde, sicut dicit isidorus, sancti patres in deserto tempore paschali jejunabant, excepto die dominicae resurrectionis, in quo non videtur conveniens jejunare, eo quod tota ecclesia laetitiae festum agit. unde non est conveniens quod aliquis illo die operibus afflictionis intendat, quia turpis est omnis pars quae suo toti non congruit, ut dicit augustinus in lib. 3 confess.. sed per accidens potest esse jejunium alicujus in die festo illicitum, si adeo pertinaciter jejunium teneret, quod non crederet per devotionem festi utilitatem jejunii compensari posse.
I respond to the 2nd question (sub-article 2) saying that fasting, as far as it concerns itself, is prohibited at no time. Hence, as Isidore says, the holy fathers used to fast in the desert during the time of Easter, with the exception of the day of the Lord's resurrection, on which it did not seem suitable to fast, and on which the whole of the Church conducts a feast of joy. Hence it is not suitable that some intend on that day the work of affliction, since "Base is every part which is not congruent with its whole," as Augustine states in the 3rd book of his Confessions. However, accidentally, somebody's fast on a feast day can be illicit, if he holds the fast to be so pertinent that he would not believe through devotion to the feast to be able to be compensated for the goodness of the fast.
ad primum ergo dicendum, quod dies resurrectionis, ut dictum est, totus est laetitiae; unde et cantatur: haec dies quam fecit dominus, exultemus et laetemur in ea; et ideo in illa prae aliis non congruit tristitiae signa ostendere: et quia in singulis dominicis memoria resurrectionis agitur, ideo in diebus dominicis secundum communem consuetudinem ecclesiae jejunia intermittuntur.Response to the first objection: The day of resurrection, as was said, is wholly of joy. Whence it is sung "This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us exult and rejoice in it." Therefore, at that time, in comparison with others, it is not fitting to show signs of sadness. And since every Sunday the memory of the resurrection is recalled, therefore on Sundays, according to the general custom of the Church, fasting is prohibited.
ad secundum dicendum, quod quia illi in magna tristitia demersi erant propter tribulationes undique imminentes, ideo ab his quae tristitiam ingerere possunt, abstrahebantur, ut in spe divini auxilii gauderent.Response to the second objection: Since those in great sorrow were worthy of retribution because their tribulation was imminent on all sides, therefore they were separated from those the sorrow of which they were able to bear, so that they were made glad in the hope of divine help.
ad tertiam quaestionem dicendum, quod competens hora comedendi in diebus jejunii est hora nona; et haec est ab ecclesia instituta, et communiter observata: quia secundum communem cursum comedendi est hora sexta; quia cibus non debet apponi quousque natura circa cibum praecedentem occupata est. occupatur autem in cibo assumpto dupliciter. primo digerendo ipsum; et quoniam digestio fit per calorem, ideo illud tempus digestioni est congruum in quo calor naturalis ad interiora revocatur, scilicet propter subtractionem radiorum solis, et propter somnum, in quo intenduntur virtutes naturales. secundo cibum jam decoctum deducendo per membra, quibus debet assimilari; et ad hoc requiritur quod calor nutrimentum deducens usque ad extremas partes corporis evocetur: calor autem solis calorem naturalem ad exteriora evocat; et ideo quando completur solis ascensus (quod fit hora sexta, quia tunc est circa medium), tunc ejus opus completum est; et ideo tunc est tempus communiter sumendi cibum. et quia jejunium ecclesiae debet esse poenale et satisfactorium, ideo supra hoc aliquid additur; non autem tantum quod penitus humor cibi assumpti exsiccetur, aut virtus naturalis debilitetur; unde partito residuo tempore, hora nona occurrit, in qua cibus secundum ecclesiae statutum in diebus jejunii sumendus est.I respond to the 3rd question (sub-article 3) saying that the fitting hour for eating during the days of fasting is at the ninth hour. This has been instituted by the Church and is generally observed. Now, according to the common way of eating, it is the sixth hour (at which people usually take their main meal), for food ought not to be taken until such time as nature has used up food previously taken. One uses up food already taken in two ways. First, by digesting it. And since digestion is accomplished by heat, the time of digestion is fitting in which the natural heat is recalled into the interior (regions of the body), namely because of the withdrawal of the sun's rays, and on account of sleep during which the natural powers become stronger. Second, by leading food already prepared through one's members by which it should be assimilated. For this, it is required that heat calls forth nutrition, leading it to the extreme parts of the body. But the heat of the sun calls forth natural heat to the exterior members. Thus, when the sun has completed its ascent (which comes about at the 6th hour, at which time it is at its zenith), its work has been completed. This, then, is the time commonly to take food. And since the fast of the Church ought to be penal and reparative, something beyond this is thus added. However not to such an extent that the humor is wholly dried up by the food taken, nor the natural power weakened. Hence having divided the remaining time, the 9th hour is established in which food is to be taken according to the statutes of the Church on fasting days.
ad primum ergo dicendum, quod legislator ponens legem communem, attendit ea quae in pluribus accidunt: sed adaptationem ad singulos relinquit illis qui constituuntur legis dispensatores.Response to the first objection: The legislator, establishing the common law, attends to those things which happen for the most part. Adaptation to particular events he leaves to those who are appointed as those who specifically apply the law.
ad secundum dicendum, quod nos nostro jejunio conformamur novo homini, qui per passionem suam nos a vetustate et tenebris revocavit; et ideo illo tempore jejunium primum solvimus, quando christus passionem suam finivit, scilicet hora nona. sed ante hanc renovationem competebat vespertinum tempus jejunantium comestioni, ad significandum quod per cibum veteris hominis in tenebras peccati et mortis dejecti erant, a quibus non eruebantur, etiam post tribulationes praesentis vitae; quia in morte ad limbum descendebant, qui erat tenebrosus locus.Response to the second objection: We, in our fasting, are conformed to the new man (i.e., Christ), who through His passion has recalled us from old times and shadows. Thus, at that time, we are first released from fasting when Christ finished His passion, namely at the 9th hour. But before this restoration, the evening time of fasting was appropriate to taking food, so as to signify that through the food of the old man (i.e., Adam) they were cast down into the shadows of sin and death, by which they were not embarrassed, even after the tribulations of the present life; for they were descending in death to Limbo which was the place of shadows.

© Stephen Loughlin
(sjl1@desales.edu)



The Aquinas Translation Project
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