Breaking Lenten Fasts

I love that people are willing to give something up for Lent.  This post is not about the reasons we give things up for Lent or even if it is something we ought to do.  Rather this post is about how we respond to the Sunday's in Lent.

Many people know, but in case you are unaware of it, Lent is traditionally understood as being 40 days long.  The truth is that the season of Lent is 46 days long.  There are 6 Sundays in Lent which are not counted in the "40 days".  The reason for not counting Sundays in Lent is that every Sunday is a "little Easter", regardless of the season.  As a "little Easter" it is not in the tradition of the Church that Christians fast or obtain on Sunday.  And so, in Lent Christians are encouraged to fast for 40 days in Lent, but we do not teach people that Sundays are days where we break the fast and partake in what we are giving up.

Many people I have encountered this Lent season tell me they are giving up things from chocolate to junk food to alcohol.  When I see some of these people on Sunday I ask how the fast is going.  Usually everyone is doing well.  Then I ask if they have broken the fast on Sunday as we do not fast on Easter or the little Easters each year in remembrance/celebration of Resurrection.  To which I hear an odd responses.

"Oh, I know I should break my fast but if I did then I am not sure I would be able to begin the fast again on Monday."  Or "It is just easer to stay with the fast than to break it in Sundays."  Or "Yea, I know, but I am also giving up chocolate for Lent for God but also to loose weight."

I want to raise the question that if we are unwilling to break the fast out of fear we would not be strong enough to begin again, or out of convenience or out of a personal desire then are we fasting in Lent for ourselves of for God?