Tuesday, March 18 – A Day of Fast and Abstinence

March 17th, 2014 by Gabriel McAuliffe

For Carmelites of the Teresian Observance, Wednesday, March 19 is the Solemnity of St. Joseph.  On Tuesday, March 18, we honor his place on the Carmelite calendar with a day of fast and abstinence.

From the Provinicial Statutes (rev. July 2, 2011):

1. Fast and abstinence:

a) In addition to the days of fasting and abstinence proper to the Church in the United States and in response to the encouragement of our Bishops “to prepare for each Church festival by a day of particular self-denial, penitential prayer and fasting” and to our Carmelite traditions, our members, unless excused by reason of illness or age, will fast on the vigils of the following feast days:

1. Our Blessed Lady of Mount Carmel (July 16)

2. Solemnity of St. Joseph (March 19)

3. Our Holy Mother St. Teresa of Jesus (October 15)

4. Our Holy Father St. John of the Cross (December 14)

5. The Prophet Elijah (July 20)

6. St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face (October 1)

7. All the Saints of the Order (November 14)

b) For sufficient reason, the above special fast days may be anticipated. Anticipation should never involve fasting on Sundays or Holy Days [cf. Canon Law 1249-1253].


We also honor St. Joseph in a special way by his example as a righteous man, being the foster father of our Lord.  He has a special place for us, as St. Teresa was very close to him in prayer.

From the Revised OCDS Constitutions of 2014:

31 – a) In the Teresian Carmel love of Mary, Mother and Queen, is united with love of her spouse Saint Joseph. The Father also gave him, “a just man” (Mt 1:19), guardianship of his Son Jesus Christ in the mystery of the Incarnation.

Following the example of St. Teresa, members can find in St. Joseph a role model for a life of humble adoration and prayerful communion with Jesus, as well as a master of prayer and silence.  Patron of the interior life, he is an example of faith and of being “constantly attentive to God, open to the signs of God’s presence and receptive to God’s plans.”  Being a chaste and faithful spouse, he is the model of a father solicitous in care of the family, and of a responsible laborer who considers his work as an “expression of love.”

In communion with the Church and the Order, who venerate him as their “provident Protector,” members of the Secular Order find in Saint Joseph an incomparable protector to whom they can entrust the hopes, the struggles and the work of every day.

Posted in Carmelite Spirituality

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