Fasting: Meatless Days

For centuries the Christian Church has asked Christians to refrain from eating meat on Friday as a fasting discipline to support remembering the death of Christ.  This has been a controversial, but meaningful practice, that has especially been highlighted in Lent.  I mean, even McDonald’s offers Lenten specials on their fish fillet each Friday during Lent. 

When I was head of campus ministry I had a group of students approach me about having a sympathy fast during Ramadan

in support of our Muslim students.  I said I had no problem with that, except for the fact that it didn’t feel very honest.  The students asked me to explain and I said, if we cannot follow our own practice of fasting during Lent it seems rather dishonest to join in Ramadan.  I suggested that we follow our own practice with integrity and allow our Muslim sisters and brother to follow their piety as well.  Much better to be authentic.

Now, we have the Meatless Mondays movement http://www.meatlessmonday.com/. 

Why we have to have a different day than Friday I do not know but at least the concept is catching on.  The meatless Mondays movement is secular, and I have no problem with that, but it does challenge those of us who are Christian to maybe get into step with our own tradition.  Therefore, I practice meatless Friday’s.

The practice of Friday began in observance of the death of Christ on a Friday.  I stand in solidarity with my Christian sisters and brothers around the world in declaring this to be a fast day.  I might add Monday as well, but, for now, my meatless days are on Friday.

Now, why do this at all.  Fasting is a way of preparing our bodies to live in devotion and piety with reverence to Christ.  There is no magic in avoiding meat, but, there is a symbolism that gives us strength and hope.  And, fasting gives us a sense of solidarity with the poor and hungry.

So, whether Friday, Monday or whenever, the challenge is before us to have meatless days.  How about two meatless days per week?  May God bless your fast.

Related Posts