why do you not eat meat on fridays in lent
You know you are in a Catholic townPwhen,PonlyPduring Lent, every single restaurant advertises one item on their menu: fish! I have even noticed how major fast-food chains point out on their fliers the date of Ash Wednesday! Suddenly everyone cares about the liturgical seasons of the Church! So why is it that the Church instructs Catholics to abstain from meat on Fridays (as well as Ash Wednesday and Good Friday), but gives the thumbs-up Pfor Catholics to eat fish? Sounds fishy to me! First of all we must ask the question, why Friday? The
Catholic peoples from time immemorial have set apart Friday for special penitential observance by which they gladly suffer with Christ that they may one day be glorified with Him. This is the heart of the tradition of abstinence from meat on Friday where that tradition has been observed in the holy Catholic Church. Since it is believed Jesus Christ suffered and died on the cross on a Friday, Christians from the very beginning have set aside that day to unite their sufferings to Jesus. PThis led the Church to recognize every Friday as a Good Friday where ChristiansPcan remember Christ s passion by offering up a specific type of penance. For much of the Church s history meat was singled out as a worthy sacrifice on account of its association with feasts and celebrations. In most ancient cultures meat was considered a delicacy and the fattened calf was not slaughtered unless there was something to celebrate. Since Fridays were thought of as a day of penance and mortification, eating meat on a Friday to celebrate the death of Christ didn t seem right.
P(As an aside, when Saint Patrick s Day falls on a Friday during Lent, as it is considered a solemnity for many Irish Catholics. ) Read more:P But why is fish not considered meat? According to the, the laws of the Church classify the abstinence from land animals. Abstinence laws consider that meat comes only from animals such as chickens, cows, sheep or pigs all of which live on land. Birds are also considered meat. Fish, on the other hand, are not in that same classification. Fish are a different category of animal. P Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles (cold-blooded animals) and shellfish are permitted. In Latin the word used to describe what kind of meat is not permitted on Fridays isP carnis,P and specifically relates to animal flesh Pand never included fish as part of the definition. Additionally, fish in these cultures was not considered a celebratory meal and was more of a penance to eat. Our current culture is much different asPmeat is generally considered the cheaper option on the menu andPno longer has the cultural connection to celebrations. This is why many people are confused about the regulations, especially those who love to eat fish and do not consider it a penance. In the end, the Church s intention is to encourage the faithful to offer up a sacrifice to God that comes from the heart and unites one s suffering to that of Christ on the cross. Meat is given as the very basic penance, while the purpose of the regulation should always be kept in mind.
For example, it does not necessarily give a person the license to eat a lobster dinner every Friday in Lent. The whole point is to make a sacrifice that draws a person closer to Christ, who out of love for us made the ultimate sacrifice a person can make. Just for fun: here is a to show youPwhat not to cook during those Fridays of Lent Catholics abstain from flesh meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and the Fridays in Lent. Abstinence is one of our oldest Christian traditions. From the first century, the day of the crucifixion has been traditionally observed as a day of abstaining from flesh meat ( black fast ) to honor Christ who sacrificed his flesh on a Friday, according to The Catholic Source Book. Written up as law Up until 1966, church law prohibited meat on all Fridays throughout the entire year. The new law was promulgated in 1983 in the revised Code of Canon Law, which states: Abstinence [is] to be observed on Ash Wednesday and on the Friday of the Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ (Canon 1251). All persons who have completed their fourteenth year are bound by the law of abstinence (Canon 1252). The U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops extended this law to include all Fridays in Lent. Since Jesus sacrificed his flesh for us on Good Friday, we refrain from eating flesh meat in his honor on Fridays. Flesh meat included the meat of mammals and poultry, and the main foods that come under this heading are beef and pork, chicken and turkey. While flesh is prohibited, the non-flesh products of these animals are not (like milk, cheese, butter and eggs).
Fish do not belong to the flesh meat category. The Latin word for meat, caro, from which we get English words like carnivore and carnivorous, applies strictly to flesh meat and has never been understood to include fish. Furthermore, in former times, flesh meat was more expensive, eaten only occasionally and associated with feasting and rejoicing; whereas fish was cheap, eaten more often and not associated with celebrations. Abstinence is a form of penance. Penance expresses sorrow and contrition for our wrongdoing, indicates our intension to turn away from sin and turn back to God, and makes reparation for our sins. It helps to cancel the debt and pay the penalties incurred by our transgressions. Abstinence is a form of asceticism, the practice of self-denial to grow in holiness. Jesus asks his disciples to deny themselves and take up their cross (Matthew 16:24). Abstinence is a sober way to practice simplicity and austerity, to deny the cravings of our bodies to honor Jesus who practiced the ultimate form of self-denial when he gave his body for us on the cross. Thus, to give up flesh meat on Fridays, only to feast on lobster tail or Alaskan king crab, is to defeat the ascetical purpose of abstinence. Less is more! There are countless options for simple Friday meatless dinners: pancakes, waffles, soup and rolls, chipped tuna on toast, macaroni and cheese, fried egg sandwiches, grilled cheese sandwiches, cheese pizza and, of course, fish.
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