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IV Sententiae d. 15, q.

3
Concerning Fasting
utrum hujusmodi tempora debeant esse ad Article 3: Whether times such as these ought to be
jejunium determinata, sicut ecclesia
determined for fasting, as (those) instituted by the
instituit.
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


Objection 5: Furthermore, in times of rejoicing,
non competit; unde et tempore paschali
fasting is not appropriate. Hence, at the time of
intermittitur jejunium vigiliae apostolorum Easter, the fast of the vigil of the Apostles Philip
philippi et jacobi, et tempore nativitatis,
and Jacob is interrupted, and at the time of the
jejunium vigiliae beati joannis
Nativity, the fast of the vigil of Blessed John the
evangelistae. sed infra octavas pentecostes Evangelist (is also interrupted). But among the
adhuc durat gaudium paschalis festivitatis. octaves of Pentecost, the joy of the Easter festivities
ergo tunc jejunium non erit observandum. still continue. Therefore, fasting ought not to be
observed at that time.
praeterea, in sanctorum solemniis eorum
gloriam recolimus, ad quam translati sunt.

Objection 6: Furthermore, during the solemnity of


the saints, we reflect on the glory to which they

sed jejunium statui gloriae non competit:


quia non esurient neque sitient amplius.
ergo in vigiliis solemnitatum jejunium non
competit.

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 Sub-article 3: It would seem that the ninth hour
esse tempus determinatum ad
ought not to be the time determined to eat during
manducandum in diebus jejunii.
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

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.

institutum.
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

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

descendens de monte legis tabulas


mountain, broke the tablets of the law because of
confregit propter peccatum vituli conflatilis, the sin of the molten calf, and in the same month
et eodem mense muri hierusalem a
the walls of Jerusalem were destroyed by
nabuchodonosor destructi sunt. in quinto
Nabuchodonosor. In the 5th month, that is, in
autem mense, idest in augusto, propter
August, (they fasted) because of the sin of
peccatum murmuris ex verbis exploratorum murmuring by reason of the speech born of having
orti: illo etiam mense templum incensum est been tried (in the desert); also in that month, the
a nabuchodonosor, et postea etiam a tito. in temple was burned by Nabuchodonosor, and after
septimo autem mense propter
by Titus as well. In the 7th month, (they fasted)
interfectionem godoliae, sub quo reliquiae because of the slaying of Godolias, under whom
populi conservabantur, ut patet hieremiae the rest of the people were preserved, as is clear
41. in decimo autem mense in memoriam from Jeremiah 41. In the 10th month, (they fasted) in
mortuorum quos dominus in deserto
memory of the dead whom the Lord had struck
percusserat. nos autem praeter jejunium
down in the desert. In addition to the 40 day fast, in
quadragesimale, in quo omnium dierum
which of all days we exempt nearly ten, three days
quasi decimam solvimus, in singulis
of fast are instituted in specific quarters of the year,
quadris anni, tres dies jejunii instituti sunt, which are counted among the first fruits, as it were,
qui quasi in primitias computentur, et ad
and to atone for the sins of each quarter.
expiandum
singularum
quartarum.
ad quintum peccata
dicendum,
quod sicut
dicit leo Response to the fifth objection: As Pope Leo states:
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.

"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

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

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.
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.

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 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.

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 tertiam quaestionem dicendum, quod


I respond to the 3rd question (sub-article 3) saying
competens hora comedendi in diebus
that the fitting hour for eating during the days of
jejunii est hora nona; et haec est ab
fasting is at the ninth hour. This has been instituted
ecclesia instituta, et communiter observata: by the Church and is generally observed. Now,
quia secundum communem cursum
according to the common way of eating, it is the
comedendi est hora sexta; quia cibus non sixth hour (at which people usually take their main
debet apponi quousque natura circa cibum meal), for food ought not to be taken until such time
praecedentem occupata est. occupatur
as nature has used up food previously taken. One
autem in cibo assumpto dupliciter. primo
uses up food already taken in two ways. First, by
digerendo ipsum; et quoniam digestio fit per digesting it. And since digestion is accomplished by
calorem, ideo illud tempus digestioni est
heat, the time of digestion is fitting in which the
congruum in quo calor naturalis ad interiora natural heat is recalled into the interior (regions of
revocatur, scilicet propter subtractionem
the body), namely because of the withdrawal of the
radiorum solis, et propter somnum, in quo sun's rays, and on account of sleep during which
intenduntur virtutes naturales. secundo
the natural powers become stronger. Second, by
cibum jam decoctum deducendo per
leading food already prepared through one's
membra, quibus debet assimilari; et ad hoc members by which it should be assimilated. For
requiritur quod calor nutrimentum deducens this, it is required that heat calls forth nutrition,
usque ad extremas partes corporis
leading it to the extreme parts of the body. But the
evocetur: calor autem solis calorem
heat of the sun calls forth natural heat to the exterior
naturalem ad exteriora evocat; et ideo
members. Thus, when the sun has completed its

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.
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.

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.
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 Response to the second objection: We, in our
jejunio conformamur novo homini, qui per fasting, are conformed to the new man (i.e., Christ),
passionem suam nos a vetustate et
who through His passion has recalled us from old
tenebris revocavit; et ideo illo tempore
times and shadows. Thus, at that time, we are first
jejunium primum solvimus, quando christus released from fasting when Christ finished His
passionem suam finivit, scilicet hora nona. passion, namely at the 9th hour. But before this
sed ante hanc renovationem competebat
restoration, the evening time of fasting was
vespertinum tempus jejunantium
appropriate to taking food, so as to signify that
comestioni, ad significandum quod per
through the food of the old man (i.e., Adam) they
cibum veteris hominis in tenebras peccati et were cast down into the shadows of sin and death,
mortis dejecti erant, a quibus non
by which they were not embarrassed, even after the
eruebantur, etiam post tribulationes
tribulations of the present life; for they were
praesentis vitae; quia in morte ad limbum descending in death to Limbo which was the place
descendebant, qui erat tenebrosus locus. of shadows.

Stephen Loughlin
(sjl1@desales.edu)

The Aquinas Translation Project


(http://www4.desales.edu/~philtheo/loughlin/ATP/index.html)