Wednesday, February 24, 2010

THE MEAT OF THE MATTER

In my hometown are the best hamburgers in the world. Hodge’s serves the biggest, tastiest, sloppiest burgers I have every had the pleasure of consuming. Yet we make sure that we only go there occasionally. They are so good we do not want to become too used to them. We want them to remain a treat. So about once every other month when we our bodies are jonesing (sp?) for the delicious taste of a miracle burger we make the trip down to the neighborhood tavern and sink our teeth into a slice of heaven between hamburger buns no matter what the special might be.

They are also big enough to feed a small village in a third world county.

Now suppose you were invited along. I have been telling you about these hamburgers and you were eagerly looking forward to it. But when we got there they said, “Sorry, we are out of meat. But don’t worry, we still have all of the other fixings!” Would you still want one? There is still the fresh bun, the secret sauce, fresh tomatoes, thick onions, spunky pickles, and the cool toothpicks with the curly cues on the top!

Not interested? Neither am I.

But let’s suppose that we went but they were out of lettuce or tomatoes, or onions. Well, that would be perfectly fine. I doubt that I would notice much after the first bite. In fact I know many people who eat their hamburgers sans buns, which one would suppose is an essential element of a hamburger. But without meat there just is no point.

Meat is the center of most of our diets unless you are a vegetarian. Have you ever tried to not eat meat going out to eat? Especially if you do not like fish there is something like two items on every menu that you can eat and most of the time it is a salad please hold the pepperoni. Drill the meat out of our diet it is like taking the meat out of the hamburger – wait – it is taking the meat out of the hamburger.

It’s like taking the cars out of Nascar. There is still the stadium, the crowd, the vending food, the track, the RVs, everything but the cars. Some of the zing is taken out of it.

Okay, now THAT is why the Church asks us to practice a common discipline, a common penance, during lent. NOT because the fish union went to a pope and said that they needed help getting people to eat their slimy offerings. “Please make Catholics not eat meat on Fridays so that we can improve our bottom line!” If that were the case the pope would have said, “Eat fish on Fridays!”

We do not eat fish on Fridays. We abstain from meat. The reason so many Catholics eat fish on Fridays is that when we feast we feast, and when we fast we cheat. “They didn’t say we couldn’t eat fish so let’s eat that!” And Holy Mother Church rolls her eyes and says, “Fine, eat fish instead.”

Except for me. Pass the cheese and bean burritos please.


Here is a decent article on meatless Fridays.

12 comments:

Adoro said...

"When we feast we feast, when we fast, we cheat." No truer words were ever spoken!

MJ said...

Then there are people like me who look forward to Fridays in Lent because I love seafood and every restaurant has more seafood dishes on their menu. So during Lent I have to try harder to fast and not be a glutton!!! Yum!!!

Matt W said...

Don't forget the muskrat! Better say a special prayer that I don't cook on a Friday in Lent.

Anonymous said...

Now that "vegetarian" has become an established cuisine, many savory dishes exist that have no meat, nor even fish. What does one do who has developed a taste for such healthy fare as kidney beans, yogurt, cheese and "good bread?" I abstain from meat on Fridays throughout the year. More of a problem than skipping the meat is the inconvenience of trying to find decent non-meat fast food when I must travel on a Friday.

Tex said...

Father,

If I truly keep holy the Lord's day in my heart, and I miss Mass, am I still able to recieve communion or would this actually be a sin and should skip?

Anonymous said...

I am proud to say that I am never conscious of a craving for meet. Except on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and the Fridays of Lent.

Rob said...

LIke Anonymous, I am a vegetarian, too (except on Sundays) so the regular lenten rules are not such a big deal. It's the additional, self-imposed fast from liquor that kills me!

eulogos said...

If you were Orthodox you couldn't eat the cheese either. And not just Friday!
We Catholics are wusses when it comes to fasting. Me too. In a Byzantine Catholic parish now, so no meat Wednesday and Friday. That really isnt' much trouble. But the whole eastern fast, I am not ready for.

Susan Peterson

Anonymous said...

dear Father---did you HAVE to mention hodges---you see thats whats wrong with the Catholic Church----toeture, torture,and more torture---and i thought the inquisition was over---now back to the subject of fasting and abst.--i am here to report this idea has really caught on with many insane Protestants as well--i was out to lunch and chatting with my server--my goal no invisible persons---when it became clear their plan for Lent made mine look pitiful--i was completely unhinged---thinking oh no no NOOOOO this isn't right--we can't allow Protestants to suffer more than Catholics---suffering is our thing--now i can say this because i'm an x-prot.--and a fairly recent convert--and i'm sorry to say that suffering wasn't on my religous radar---i was busy contemplating Glory soi say its time for Prot's to get off of our turf, get back to the Ressurection--and leave the Passion to the Catholics--the longest and best sufferer's of the world....seriously though, i did not know about this meat--fish thing---thank you Father--and p.s. pass those yummy beans---n.

Adoro said...

Tex ~ Since Fr. V. hasn't answered...it's not possible to keep the Lord's Day only in your heart. If you can't be bothered to go to Mass, then you are choosing love of something other than God. It is a mortal sin to intentionally skip Mass. Period. (This excludes legit reasons such as illness.)

So you're asking the wrong question: what is it that you prefer to going to Mass? And does that thing REALLY give you more joy than in being in the very presence of God, of having the experience of BEING THERE when heaven is torn open during the liturgy, and the Sacrifice of Calvary is made present to you?

Instead of focusing on obligation and the least you can do, why not actually focus on what GOD has done for you and that you are going there to show HIM how much you love and adore HIM?

(And lest you think I'm some holier-than-thou jerk, I'm not. I used to ask the same questions, and then refused to listen to the answers. I was as stubborn as they come.)

mherzog said...

Here is a good video on meat: http://meat.org

Anonymous said...

I know I'm a little late, but I have to say I don't eat fish, and for the 10 years since I've been Catholic, I have not eaten meat on Fridays! In fact, tonight is a feast of cheese enchiladas, refried beans, and Mexican Rice. On occasion, we have bean burritos(black bns, rice, salsa verde, lettuce, cheese, toms, jalapenos, guacamole). I taught the cradle Catholic I married that there is more to life than fish sticks!