A Goal for Lent

Lent starts March 6 this year. It’s a time for abstinence, prayer and penance, among other things, which is why we’ve got rules about Fridays and fish.

Following “fish” rules to the letter, I could splurge on lobster thermidor each Friday. I won’t. The household can’t afford it, for one thing. For another, gourmet dining isn’t what Lent is about.

I’ll talk about fish, fasting and my goals for Lent. Briefly.


Some calendars in my part of the world have Ash Wednesday and Lenten Fridays marked with a “fish” icon.

They’re fasting days, the ‘short rations’ sort.

That’s one full meal and two other meals that don’t add up to a full meal. Also no meat other than “fish.”

What “fish” means depends on context.

When I’ve got my ‘science’ cap on, fish are gill-bearing aquatic craniate animals. Wearing my ‘Catholic’ cap, fish are the scientific sort plus ectothermic land animals and shellfish.

That doesn’t make lobster thermidor a good choice for Lenten Fridays.

The cognac, sherry, wine or whatever isn’t the problem. Or the cheese.1

The problem is that it’s a luxury food, not what someone’s likely to eat when they’re cutting back on pleasures. Maybe somebody eats lobster thermidore, oysters Rockefeller and Acadian crawfish étouffée when money’s tight, or as penance. Most of us, not so much.

The Cajun crawfish might have been simple food, before restaurateurs got hold of it. And that’s another topic.


My age and health make me exempt from Lent’s dietary restrictions. But ignoring Lent isn’t an option. Not a good one.

It’s a season for prayer, reading the Bible, almsgiving and exercising self-control. More so than usual.2

I figure doing ‘all of the above’ the right way is a good idea, too. Our Lord talked about that in Matthew 6:58, 821 and Mark 12:4144.

As “right” as I can manage, at any rate. And that’s yet another topic.

One more thing about fasting and making sense. I’ve said this before. Often.

Gloominess is not next to Godliness. Hope is a virtue. Wanting happiness is part of being human. It’s a good idea, when we’re doing it right. So is seeing this world as basically good. (Genesis 1:31; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 27, 1718, 1817)


My short-term Lenten goals include finding new-to-me prayers. At the moment, I’m figuring out what I’m looking for; and that’s yet again another topic.

My long-term goal during Lent and every season should be seeking, knowing and loving God; and spending eternity with our Lord. (Catechism, 1, 540, 10231029, 1095)

Meanwhile, it’s like Philippians 2:12 says: I’m ‘working out my salvation.’ Not that I could work or pray my way into Heaven.

And that’s — you guessed it — more topics:

1 Lent, rules and fish:

2 Lent, mostly:

About Brian H. Gill

I was born in 1951. I'm a husband, father and grandfather. One of the kids graduated from college in December, 2008, and is helping her husband run businesses and raise my granddaughter; another is a cartoonist and artist; #3 daughter is a writer; my son is developing a digital game with #3 and #1 daughters. I'm also a writer and artist.
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2 Responses to A Goal for Lent

  1. irishbrigid says:

    Missing capitalization or maybe missing word: “long-term goal during Lent and every season”

    The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

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