If you’re like me, you find meat tasty.
Here in Texas, we love our steaks, burgers, and BBQ. If you haven’t seen the popular HEB commercial, it shows that most Texans would have a cookout every meal if we could. It isn’t far from the truth.
Let’s talk a little more about this thing we call abstinence on Fridays.
Does Everyone have to give up meat on Friday or is optional?
Now that it’s Lent, all Catholics over the age of 14 and under 60 are obligated to abstain from meat that comes from warm blooded animals such as beef, chicken, and pork. This seems to be pretty common knowledge, except for the the chicken that can confuse some people because it’s white meat. It still spends its time out of water. Alligator is approved with other seafood though.
So what about premium seafood like lobster and other luxuries?
Each Friday we take time to remember the sacrifice of our Lord on the cross. Lent is a deeper jump into the mystery of His death for our sins, and that naturally leads us into a time of sacrifice, simplicity, and penance.
There is no official rule or canon law binding us to eat only simple meals, but it would probably not be in the spirit of Lent to eat too much or too fancy on a Friday.
What about Friday outside of Lent?
In the tradition of the Church, we are to abstain from meat on all Fridays throughout the year, unless they are a major feast day, solemnity, or within the celebration of an octave (like Easter or Christmas). This means we could eat meat on Friday if the Solemnity of the Annunciation falls on a Friday.
Outside of Lent the obligation of penance and sacrifice is not lifted, but the council of bishops has given us the option of how to apply it in our lives. You could give up meat on Friday, but you are also free to make another sacrifice such as fasting or other penance.
Lent is not meant to be easy. Remember the sacrifice that Jesus made for us.
Don’t worry, you’re not in this alone.