Few Days back one of my friend just saw me eating fish, and he was shocked to see me eating it. Though he didnt tell me anything at that time, his facial expression revealed a lot to me. Sometime later, when I inquired about it to him, he told me, one of his friend who is a Christian, doesnt eat meat or fish during the whole lenten season, but you do, so I was just shocked about it.This struck my mind. Was this lenten season all about? Not eating meat or fish for 40 days is whats called Lenten season.
Dont the ladies and gents who want to maintain their zero figures or well built figures, do the same, longer than 40 days. So are they also celebrating lenten season.
When I was a child, my thinking and the way I was thought was quite similar. The 40 days before Easter, we are not supposed to eat meat and fish. And as a “Very Good Boy”, I did follow it, not knowing why, or for what. Even the priest during the Sunday service used to announce the same.
Days and years passed, my so called reasoning increased, and I got to know the exact meaning of Lenten Season, the fasting, the abstinence and so on. I understood what it means to observe the lenten season, and now that it had re-sparked in my mind, I thought this would be the best time to share my some thoughts on these.
What I share, I dont ask anyone to believe nor follow. These are my thoughts and my understandings, and anyone is free to comment, oppose it.
First of let me clear this, every one knows the word Fasting but what about abstinence?
The Code of Canon Law in Catechism of the Catholic Church prescribes (Canons 1250-1252):
Can. 1250: The penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.
Can. 1251: Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
Can. 1252: The law of abstinence binds those who have completed their fourteenth year. The law of fasting binds those who have attained their majority, until the beginning of their sixtieth year. Pastors of souls and parents are to ensure that even those who by reason of their age are not bound by the law of fasting and abstinence, are taught the true meaning of penance.
So simple word, fasting is not eating, but abstinence means avoid doing something you like the most.
Understanding this, I figured out some things, that apply to me a lot.
My friend had questioned me, why do I eat fish or meat in the Lenten Season, tomorrow someone else might question another, so here is the answer.
Not eating fish or meat the whole Lenten Season is our will or wish, but eating it on all Friday is a must.
Some avoid eating all 40 days and some others avoid eating fish and meat. Different people, different understanding.
But the main point is,
Are we keeping our heart, mind and soul clean and pure to receive Jesus, for him to dwell in us, everyday of our life?
Are we leading a life pleasing to God?
Are our fastings or abstinence’s for human exposure or to gain popularity or its a secret known only to you and God?
Are we doing God’s work, to spread the good news or just doing work for our personal fame and pleasure?
This Lenten season I have committed somethings to God, which my God and I know, but surely would need your prayers for me to stick on to it.
Have a peaceful, blessed lenten season, so that you get ready to receive our Savior this Easter 🙂