As Catholics, most of us probably observe the mandated fasting days of Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Hopefully we observe the Fridays of Lent as days of abstinence. Many of us don’t even realize that every Friday is a day of penance, but there it is, in Canon Law:
1. 1250 The penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.
You don’t HAVE to give up meat each Friday during the year though. You can abstain from a number of other things as well. We usually do meat just because it is easier to keep track of. But, there are days when we know we are going to friend’s house who will be BBQing or that we have to eat the many luscious steaks we ALWAYS have in the fridge before the leftovers go bad. So, it’s great to have a backup plan for when Fridays get meaty.
Here are my go-to abstaining choices for days when I am carnivorous.
© Vankad / Dollar Photo Club
- Social media – the world will still turn
- Put focus on not being sarcastic, negative or down-putting
- No shopping or spending money
- Drink only water. No coffee, alcohol, etc.
- Eliminate sweets or your favorite food
- Use only non-secular TV and music – or give up TV and music all together
- Add an extra prayer time to your day
- Go for a prayer walk by yourself or with family
- No snacking between meals
- Give away something or purge an area of your house
- Don’t wear makeup – it’s not like you’re ugly
- Read a spiritual book – maybe a chapter every Friday?
- Attend daily Mass that day
- Pray a family Rosary
- Go to confession
- Go to bed an hour early or get up an hour early to pray
- Forgo condiments…mmmm ranch
- Take a cold shower
- Park in furthest spot and only use the stairs
- No carbs. I said it.
- Pray about what is standing in the way of you and a relationship with God – go with that. Always go with that.
Remember: whatever small sacrifice you make on Friday, it should be meaningful to you, and it should hurt just a little bit. Give until it hurts, baby.