Re: Why do Catholics eat fish on Fridays and during lent?

<J30988V5C@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
Why do Catholics eat fish on Fridays and during lent?
I was told they are not supposed to eat meat. Well, fish IS meat.
It's surely not fruit, vegetable, or grain. But my point is how this
all began.

In the first century, Jews fasted on Mondays and Thursdays. The original
Christians were all Jewish and were used to the fasting as a spiritual
discipline. They moved the fast days to Wednesdays and Fridays, because
Judas engineered Jesus' arrest on a Wednesday and Jesus was crucified on a
Friday. Most often that fast took the form of avoiding meat in the diet. In
those days, meat was a luxury food. You either had to buy it in a market or
you had to own enough land to keep cattle. On the other hand, anyone could
grow vegetables or forage for them, and anyone could catch a fish in a lake
or a stream. You could buy better fish and vegetables, but the point is that
you could eat without money if you were poor. So meat was rich people's food
and fish was poor people's food. That is why the most common form of fasting
was to omit meat and eat fish.

Nothing in the Bible absolutely requires us to fast. However, when Jesus
discusses fasting in Matthew 6, He clearly assumes we have a discipline of
fasting as part of our spirituality. He does not say, "If you should happen
to choose the option of fasting," He says, "When you fast"

Until the Second Vatican Council, Catholics were required to abstain from
meat every Friday, as a form of penance in honor of the death of Jesus
Christ on the Cross on Good Friday. Since Catholics are normally allowed to
eat meat, this prohibition is very different from the dietary laws of the
Old Testament or of other religions (such as Islam) today.

In the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 10:9-16), St. Peter has a vision in which
God reveals that Christians can eat any food. So, when we abstain, it's not
because the food is impure; we're voluntarily giving up something good, for
our spiritual benefit.

If you would like to make abstinence a bigger part of your spiritual
discipline, a good place to start is to abstain from meat on all Fridays of
the year. During Lent, you might consider following the traditional rules
for Lenten abstinence, which include eating meat at only one meal per day
(in addition to strict abstinence on Ash Wednesday and Fridays).


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