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Thursday, August 2, 2012
The History of no meat on Fridays in Lent
Catholics have been abstaining from meat on Fridays for centuries. These days though, many people seem to ignore the Canon law of abstaining and fasting. Why? They just don’t think it’s important.
These people don’t feel that eating meat is a great sacrifice. They probably don’t eat meat many days out of the year, so why is it such a big deal on Fridays during Lent?
What these people don’t realize is that it’s not simply abstaining from meat; it’s more about the meaning behind it.
Abstaining from meat and fasting on Fridays causes you to slow down in your normal routine. It forces you to think about why you’ve made this change in your life temporarily. It causes you to think about Jesus and all that He did for us.
How Meatless Fridays Started
At the Last Supper, Jesus told his disciples they must fast for one day after He is gone. The church adopted this as an honor to Jesus. As a way to say, you told your disciples to do it and so you must have thought it was important.
Some Catholics may remember that the church used to require Catholics to not eat anything on Fridays. However, they eased up on these laws and announced that Catholics could now eat one meal or two small meals to equal one main meal with the exclusion of meat.
During Lent, we want to remember the Passion of Jesus, when he was crucified. For that reason, we don’t want to hurt mammals and fowl. When eating meat, it’s considered that you are eating the flesh and organs of them. We want to preserve life in all mammals during this time.
This is why it is okay to eat fish on Fridays. Fish are not mammals so they are okay.
However, always remember that you should not indulge in it, like many do at a Catholic Fish Fry. Fish is simply just a replacement for meat.
Eating Fish and Giving Thanks
Even though it’s quite easy to not eat meat on Fridays and it makes it even easier with the ability to eat fish, many people don’t like to be restricted. For those Fridays that Catholics can’t eat meat, many will feel the pain of wanting meat greater than any other day.
As the old saying goes, you want something you can’t have. This is why not eating meat on Fridays is a good thing for some Catholics. It does force them to reflect on why they have to fight the temptation to eat meat on this day. It causes them to say, “Thank goodness I don’t have to do this the whole year.” It helps them realize that they should really thank God for all that they have in life, including the ability to eat meat whenever they want.
So when Friday rolls around again, think about this. You’re sacrificing meat because it’s something you normally eat and want on that day. You can’t have meat that day because of your faith in God. It’s all about what God has given us and what Jesus did for us. Take time out of your day to realize this and then treasure what you have outside of the Lenten season. It will bring back the meaning behind meatless Fridays for you.