Feasting and fasting is such an important part of our lives as Catholics. We fast during Lent and make sacrifices on Fridays throughout the year, and we feast on holy days from January until December—Christmas, Easter, Holy Days of Obligation, and more!
But feasting and celebrating doesn’t mean breaking the bank with extravagant meals or dining out or expensive purchases. And you wouldn’t want to feast so much that you end up with a hangover or stomachache after celebrating — that definitely means you overdid it.
So, how do you approach feasting with prudence and simplicity?
First, make a list of the days that you want to feast and fast this year, and then mark them on your calendar.
Some of those are easy, because most of us have the same obligations on those days: Fridays, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, etc. But some can be more personal. Write down a list of special feast days to you. For example, on what day were you baptized? Is there a saint who is special to you? When is the feast day of your Confirmation saint?
Then, decide how to celebrate. Here are a few ideas …
—Indulge in one special treat on a feast day. Maybe that’s a pint of ice cream. Maybe that’s steak instead of the usual chicken for dinner. Maybe that’s a nice cocktail.
—Change up your routine. Maybe you celebrate by sleeping in on that day, or watching a special TV show you’ve been wanting to watch, or going on a walk in your favorite park in the evening.
—Make room for free time on that day. Do a few extra to do items or chores the day before a feast so that you can relax a little more on the day you are celebrating.
—Invite someone over to celebrate with you. Then you can each provide a small treat and celebrate together.
—Set a festive mood. Use your nicer dishes to eat dinner, play some beautiful music, light some candles, decorate with some flowers or balloons.
—Read a little bit about the feast you’re celebrating. If it’s a saint, look him or her up. If it’s your Baptism day, write a note to your godparents, or look at pictures of your baptism.
A note about the first and third points above …
if you realize that you often indulge in small treats or put off to-do items for no reason, then it may be hard to see small treats or extra free time as feasting or celebrating. The challenge then lies in reorienting some of your habits. Next time you’re tempted to buy a treat just because, or to binge watch that new show, don’t let yourself. Save that experience for a special feast day and use it as a way to celebrate! Living simply is budget-friendly, and can help your faith life tremendously. The less we rely on things or treats to provide a daily pick-me-up, the more freedom we have to rely on and turn to God.
If you focus on living simply all year long (eating economically, buying only what you need, not eating a daily dessert or drinking a daily soda or alcohol), then the little things will mean a whole lot more. Plus, sharing a meal with a friend, doing some research to learn more about the feast, and setting a festive mood will help make the days more memorable in the long run. In all of these ways, you can easily and truly celebrate the beautiful feast days of our year—without breaking the bank.
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