Friday, February 24, 2012

Fish Fry

Today is the first Friday of Lent and thus the requirement to abstain from meat.  When I was a child Catholics had to abstain from meat on all Fridays, not just Lent.  Today the requirement of abstaining from meat has been changed to only Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent.  So it is easier - right?    Well, it depends on who you talk to - some people miss the old days and wish that all Fridays were meat free - others (particularly those who do not like fish) wish the rule would just go away.  In between is where the majority of people fit in.  They neither love nor hate fish but are willing to comply with Lenten regulations because they know that it is for their spiritual benefit that they observe, along with the rest of the Catholic community, Lenten regulations which are designed to help the faithful improve their spiritual lives.

Lent comes partially from old English Lente which means springtime.  The modern day more accepted definition of Lent is a period of penitential preparation for the celebration of Easter. It is easy to see the connection between Lent and Spring as typically Lent is observed as Winter passes and Springs begins.  As a period of penitential reflection on one's spiritual life it is easy to connect Springtime with newly plowed fields and signs of growth manifested by tiny green plants in black soil with the spiritual growth that we seek in Lent.

In this Springtime we pause and look at the signs of new life in the fields and meadows and in that time of pausing - we also reflect and look into the garden of our hearts and look for signs of new life in each one of ourselves.  In this period of Lent - we strip away the frivolous and unnecessary - we deprive ourselves of the freedoms which we enjoy daily, without thought, and we follow the regulations prescribed by our Holy Church.  We stop doing what comes so easily and we start doing that, which to some, is a painful burden.  We look at ourselves and our lives - what we have or have not accomplished in the past year since last Easter and we ask God Almighty to work the miracles that He does in our lives - so that by this Easter we may be properly disposed to celebrate Christ's resurrection and our gift of life in Him - the One who loves us more than we can ever imagine.  

Jesus invites us to the banquet of Life - to celebrate all that He has to offer us - to drink of the wine of Salvation and to dine with Him - and eat fish.

Deacon Dale