Sunday, 11 September 2011
By This You Shall Know Them...
Now it is compulsory. It isn't necessary to eat fish, and it's true that it isn't a major hardship to forego meat on one day a week, but that isn't the point. All Catholics will now be carrying out the same activity on a Friday, as a reminder that Our Lord died for us on a Friday. It's a reminder to ourselves, as much as to those around us. It is a reclaiming of our Catholic heritage, and a reaffirmation of Catholic identity.
It does take a bit of getting used to - when I first started observing Friday abstinence it seemed to be impossible - I always found myself tucking into that bacon sandwich at break time, only to recall halfway through that it was actually Friday. Eventually I got the hang of it, though up until now there has been that temptation to substitute another penance instead because it was allowed.
We might want to consider reintroducing some other Catholic practices - such as bowing one's head at the name of Jesus, crossing oneself as one passes a Catholic Church, and saying Grace before meals (especially when eating out.)
I'm sure that there are many more Catholic practices which used to be common. Suggestions in the combox please!