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A number of years ago the Church changed the rules regarding fasting and abstinence and made them easier. There were, at the time, more people with dispensations not to abide strictly by the rules than people who were abiding by them! Someone said the old fasting rules died the death of a thousand dispensations. I do not know what their excuses were for requesting dispensations, but I can imagine that many were legitimate, and others, not necessarily so.

What about in our day? Do you make excuses for things in the faith? Do you skip Sunday Mass just because you are tired (which is not a legitimate excuse for missing Mass, and likely constitutes a grave sin!). What about holy days of obligation? Do you attend them as you are supposed to? Or, do you say "I'm just too busy" (which is also likely a grave sin).

Do you know that the Church suggests that you plan ahead for Holy Days of Obligation (what an idea!). We do it for vacations, but for some reason people appear to think that is just too much to plan ahead for attending Mass a few extra days during the year (we are really only talking about five days here in these USA!). Get a calendar; look ahead; take the day off. You know that obedience to God is more important than your vacation time -- act like it!

How about the Precept of the Church to abstain from work on Sunday AND Holy Days of Obligation? Do you just go ahead and work and then attend Mass (maybe)? This is what the law of the Church says. Do not think that it does not matter. It must be treated just like a Sunday obligation. We are called to set aside these days in our year to acknowledge that we are not the ones in control of our lives -- God is, and He leads us through the Church. To disobey the rules about Holy Days shows that we do not really know Who is in charge.

We must live out our faith in all aspects, especially in the Mass. And we need to encourage our brothers and sisters who fail in this; not with malice or contempt, but with love, for we should all realize we too can fall. Make sure that you are not cutting any corners when it comes to being a part of the Sacrifice of the Mass. Be with Jesus.


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