BY FATHER CLEM HILL
In the first and second centuries, the fast before Easter was compulsory.
The whole community kept a 40-hour fast on the Friday and Saturday before Easter Sunday when no food or drink was taken whatsoever.
It was seen as emblematic of one’s membership of the Church and the best formative way of ecclesial preparation for the profound experience of grace in the revelation of the Easter Mystery, the Pascha.
The third century saw an extending of this period of preparation to what we now call “Holy Week”.
When fasting was compulsory by law