Why do we give up meat during Lent?
Question from on 05-01-2007:
Why is it that we give up eating meat on Friday's during Lent. Why meat and why Friday's? Thank you for your help.
Answer by Fr. Brighenti on 05-02-2007:
Meat was always considered a luxury until recent times. Fish was considered plentiful, cheap and at times a sacrifice to eat. Today, it appears just the opposite with all the health conscience people concern about red meat.
Yet, it is the principal that is important. Catholics must discipline themselves during lent by fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and abstaining from meat on Ash Wednesday and all the fridays during lent.
The idea is to discipline the body. We are in control of ourselves and not a created thing or person. Discipline is a foreign word in today's pop culture. By disciplining ourselves in simple things we can discipline our minds and bodies in other ways, such as custody of the eyes--what we watch on TV, movies, internet etc.
When we discipline ourselves we are creating space for higher things of the spiritual life. Our Blessed Savior fasted for 40 days in the dessert. While we are not asked to perform such a rigorous spiritual task nevertheless the simple practice of controling the lower passions through discipline will ultimately enhance one's spiritual life.