Lent/Abstaining Question

This is probably going to seem like a silly question to most of you, but I promise it is an honest question. Here goes…

My husband abstains from meat on Friday’s year round. So I, a non-catholic, do the same. Somewhat out of support, somewhat just because it is most convenient. (Why fix separate meals, just so I can have a steak?) So this year, I decided to go ahead and include the fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday as well. Partly to see what it was like (maybe it would help me in my Christian walk) and partly in support of my husband.
Recently, I have been thinking… If I am going to do this, shouldn’t I be getting something out of it. Not that it should be about me, but maybe I should get some kind of spiritual growth from it. Unfortunately I’m not sure how to go about that. Basically, no meat on Friday’s has just become routine. We do it year round, it is not a big deal. Tuna sandwiches for lunch and Fish for dinner. I like both, so it isn’t a big deal to have to eat them. (Maybe occasionally if a friend invites us over for dinner, I might wish I could have that burger, but usually it isn’t a burden whatsoever) So I guess my question is. What am I suppose to get out of abstaining? Should I be internalizing something? I don’t really feel like I am going out of my way, so there is no real sacrifice on my part. So I am not sure how abstaining is helping me. Or what the reason is behind it. Obviously, I am doing something wrong, so can you guys help me correct it. Maybe I am misunderstanding the reasoning. I just feel like there should be somekind of inner thought process, prayer… something to go with the lack of meat. Any thoughts, suggestion, or criticisms would be most helpful.

Thanks,

RyanL’s Wife

I know there are others who will be able to answer better than I so I will defer to them…

I do want to say, I commend you for helping your husband and family by abstaining with them…It helps to have the support of ones family…

BTW, why not join with our Lenten Retreat …on line. You could participate to the extent you feel possible…

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=101168

I’m no expert at all, but typically if you abstain from something you enjoy, or fasting it helps you meditate on the idea of sacrfice, and the sacrifice that Christ gave for us.

During Lent I try to fast more often, and everytime I feel a hunger pang I say a little prayer. It helps me focus on Christs sacrifice.

OT: although yesterday I had to break the fast, a bunch of co-workers bugged me to go get Chinese for lunch, I said no but they wouldn’t really relent, I didn’t want to tell them i was fasting because of:

Matt. 6:16,17,18 - “when you fast, do not put on gloomy face…to be seen fasting by men, but
when you fast wash your face, so that you may not be seen fasting by men, but by your
Father who is in secret.”

So I didn’t want to tell them I was fasting, and they seemed offended so I broke my fast, I’m not really sure what the right thing to do was in that situation.

But to me fasting/abstaining helps me take focus off the constant meism, and focus on higher things. I’m not sure if this was what you were looking for but that’s my take on it.

It doesn’t just have to be meat, you can not so much give up something, but start doing something you normally wouldn’t. I read the Bible and the Catechism instead of T.V. during etc…

Thank you Aimee for your response, I will definitely consider following the link you provided.

Mike, thank you as well for your insight…

[quote=Mike_D30]I’m no expert at all, but typically if you abstain from something you enjoy, or fasting it helps you meditate on the idea of sacrfice, and the sacrifice that Christ gave for us.

During Lent I try to fast more often, and everytime I feel a hunger pang I say a little prayer. It helps me focus on Christs sacrifice.

But to me fasting/abstaining helps me take focus off the constant meism, and focus on higher things. I’m not sure if this was what you were looking for but that’s my take on it.

It doesn’t just have to be meat, you can not so much give up something, but start doing something you normally wouldn’t. I read the Bible and the Catechism instead of T.V. during etc…
[/quote]

What you said puts it more into perspective, but I am still missing something. I understand the giving up something you like or adding something in. I guess my main thing is the no meat on Friday thing. As a said, for me it has become so routine, that it isn’t a sacrifice. In fact, it goes unnoticed at times. I feel like there is something more to it that I am missing. Should I be focusing on the fact that I am not eating meat and from there meditate on Christ’s sacrifice or what. I guess I just don’t get it. Sorry. (You would think this would be a simple thing… I am just not getting it)

Anyway, thanks for your input.

RyanL’s Wife

[quote=RyanL’s Wife]nderstand the giving up something you like or adding something in. I guess my main thing is the no meat on Friday thing. As a said, for me it has become so routine, that it isn’t a sacrifice. In fact, it goes unnoticed at times. I feel like there is something more to it that I am missing. Should I be focusing on the fact that I am not eating meat and from there meditate on Christ’s sacrifice or what. I guess I just don’t get it. Sorry. (You would think this would be a simple thing… I am just not getting it)

Anyway, thanks for your input.

RyanL’s Wife
[/quote]

This is why the Bishop’s in the US have given us the option of doing a different penance for all Fridays of the year except during Lent. If the “no meat on Fridays” isn’t helping to remind you of the suffering Jesus did on the Cross for us then feel free to give up something that will or do something that will help you remember (read a portion of the Gospels on the Passion of Christ on Fridays if that will help you better).

This is why I stopped being so diligent about “no meat on Fridays” for my family. I wanted to make the times of Lent and no meat more meaningful, although I do work at no meat the rest of the years Fridays. When I have meat on a non-Lenten Friday I include an extra prayer before I eat - this helps me to focus on Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross.

I hope this helps you to better understand this :slight_smile:

Brenda

I am curious as to how amphibians fall within the gudelines for lent. I am an executive chef at a country club and for tonight’s dinner i am offering a fish fry(standard) and frog legs. Since they are not beef or meat, but not fish either, I was wondering if it is acceptable. Please note that I do not participate in lent, but want to educate myself as well as the members that have asked me this question. Please respond

[quote=mike lorah]I am curious as to how amphibians fall within the gudelines for lent. I am an executive chef at a country club and for tonight’s dinner i am offering a fish fry(standard) and frog legs. Since they are not beef or meat, but not fish either, I was wondering if it is acceptable. Please note that I do not participate in lent, but want to educate myself as well as the members that have asked me this question. Please respond
[/quote]

I search the forums for amphibians and found this for you…
forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=1055262&postcount=14

So, it looks like frogs are in.:slight_smile:

Catholics tend to see physical actions as an aid to or a form of prayer. (I think it was St. Augustine who said that he who sings “prays twice,” meaning that the action of singing was in itself a prayer.) So fasting or abstaining from meat when offered up to God as a sacrifice becomes a prayer.

Simply because a person happens to like tuna and doesn’t mind eating it on Friday does not devalue from the prayer because you are making the choice to avoid meat on a certain day for the purpose of honoring God.

Perhaps it will help to attain spiritual comfort from your Lenten and Friday sacrifices to offer a little prayer to God when you choose to do them. For example, “Father, please accept my choice to fast/abstain from meat today as a gift to you in thanksgiving for all that your Son did for me on the cross.” But please know that even if you do not feel spiritual comfort from your choice to abstain and/or to fast does not mean that your sacrifices do not have spiritual value. Just like any prayer can have spiritual value independent of whether or not a person feels an emotional lift for having said it, sacrifices can have spiritual value whether or not you receive from God an emotional consolation for having offered them.

Hope this helps! God bless.

Thanks!:slight_smile:

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