True or False? As Catholics we should abstain from eating meat on Fridays. I know a lot of people hear this and think this is an older tradition that no one really follows anymore. Or this is only required during Lent. However, the Bishops of England and Wales, to reunite people with their faith, are reminding people in their diocese to abstain from meat on Fridays. From their press release:
The Bishops also wish to remind us that every Friday is set aside as a special day of penitence, as it is the day of the suffering and death of the Lord. They believe it is important that all the faithful again be united in a common, identifiable act of Friday penance because they recognise that the virtue of penitence is best acquired as part of a common resolve and common witness.
Demonstrating outward signs of our faith is something lost in modern society. Many people go through the entire day without a saying a single prayer or having any thoughts about God. We tend to live our day in a religious neutral zone of neither separating ourselves completely from God through mortal sin but not really making much effort to further our relationship with Him. Basically God has become like that Facebook friend we mostly ignore but have not de-friended. We just aren’t interested in sharing our life with Him. The bishops remind us that there are many simple things we can do to make our relationship with God a more integral part of our lives.
The bishops’ words remind me of the Second Joyful Mystery of the rosary. Remember, in the Bible immediately after the Annunciation, Mary travels to visit her cousin Elizabeth. After receiving such a tremendous gift from God the first thing Mary does is goes out and shares that joy with others. Mary shows us that when you receive God’s grace the best thing to do is go out and share it with others. Similarly, the bishops want us to live our faith publicly and share the joy of Jesus’ love with everyone. When we weave little reminders of our faith into our daily routine, whether it be fasting, abstaining from meat on Fridays, or praying more regularly, we forge a more intimate relationship with God which will burn much brighter for all the world to see.
Let us pray for the resolve to live our faith publicly by consciously performing outward signs that remind us of God’s presence. We should also pray for those who are persecuted for living their faith. May they draw strength from the Holy Spirit to continue living as God calls them. And finally, we should remember when we pray the Second Joyful Mystery all of those who have left the faith for whatever reason. May our outward signs of the greatness of God’s loving grace bring them back to the Church’s welcoming arms.
Do you have any simple things people can add to their daily routine to remind them of their faith? Please leave a comment below.
- The Second Joyful Mystery (rosarymeds.com)
- Archbishop Chaput promises sacrifice to ‘renew this great church’ (catholicnewsagency.com)
- No Cross Too Heavy with God’s Love (rosarymeds.com)