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.
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.
It’s a season for prayer, reading the Bible, almsgiving and exercising self-control. More so than usual.2
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)
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:
- “Skydiving and Lent”
(February 11, 2018)
- “Choosing Light or Darkness”
(March 11, 2018)
- “Lent: Not Doing Too Much”
(February 18, 2018)
- “Oatmeal For Lent”
(February 26, 2017)
- “The Virtue Trap”
(October 23, 2016)
- Lent 2019 (March 6 – April 21)