>Fish Eaters – What’s up with that?

>Ok, so here we are in Lent, officially in the first week of Lent (because even though half of last week was Lent, beginning with Ash Wednesday, those days aren’t counted in the “weeks” but they are counted in the days.  Yeah, it messes me up too.)  Anyhow….. so we’ve already had two official days of abstinence and one of fasting.  

So, what’s the diff? Abstinence, fasting, no meat….but fish, isn’t fish meat?  
Join the club, you aren’t the only one.
In fact, I am a what they call a “Cradle Catholic;” by which I mean, raised Catholic from birth.  And even I still have to scratch my head and think hard on the specifics of the days sometimes.  {Although, admittedly, lately that’s been more because of the softening of my mind and loss of brain cells due to this blasted middle age.}  

But folks always ask about the fish.  Specifically, “What’s up with the Friday Fish?”

Ya got your fish fries, your fish sandwiches, tuna fish in every way you can dream it up.
Personally, I prefer the veggie route…but that’s just me maybe.  Anthony, my little man, he will vote for the cheese pizza, every time.  But I digress.

Anyhow, so what IS up with the whole “fish” thing?
Well lots.
The rudimentary part is we abstain, we Catholics, from meat on Fridays.
It’s a small mortification.
Some have speculated on why we do it.
But as with most things in the Church, there is always real history and tradition behind what we do today.  For a good article on the history and reasoning behind this, go here, it’s an article written by my real world in person I just hugged her at Mass yesterday morning gal pal, Sonja.  She’s brilliant and writes lovely intellectual pieces that explain so much about the church (as opposed to my stream of consciousness blather).  So read, you’ll learn.  You’ll be glad you did.

So, we fast and abstain in order to experience the spirit of this penitential season of Lent.  We make small (measly, really) sacrifices in order to train our bodily selves to look beyond our lives here, moment to moment.  We offer that small suffering to Christ, in thanksgiving for all he went through for us.  It is a small teeny tiny parallel to Christ’s forty days of prayer in the desert.  We are in the desert, during Lent. We try to train our minds, bodies and hearts to turn to what is actually real and important.  And it’s not the hamburgers…or the fish sandwiches.

So, yeah, we don’t eat meat on Fridays.  Mostly during Lent, though some try to observe this throughout the year.  And it may sound like no big deal.  But I’ll tell ya, maybe it’s because I have the self discipline of a four year old….but when I KNOW I can’t have meat, all of a sudden I am craving a big ol’ steak, or bacon, or a chicken sandwich. It’s as if I was thrown back to the caveman era, before the world knew the  wonders of spinach salad with goat cheese, or hummus, or a good caprese salad.  And I sulk a bit.  I mope around and suddenly can’t find anything to eat. Because I am an infant.  And so, Fridays are tough.  But I guess that it how they are supposed to be.