FRIDAY FISH EATERS

1 03 2011

For many years, the Catholics were called Friday Fish Eaters.  However, no one was required to eat fish.  It is just that we were not supposed to eat meat on that day.   It was a form of penance to God for all the evils of the world.  And a remembrance for the death on the cross of Jesus Christ on that Friday so long ago.  It was a very good thing for the Church to recommend this penance.  

 In my case, however, the not eating meat was a big deal.  Half of my family was allergic to milk so we couldn’t rely on cheese like a lot of people could.  I live in an area where there is very little fish.  Those frozen fish at the grocery store at that time were almost all breading and no fish.  With all those hungry kids, it was almost impossible to fill them up on Fridays.  I finally settled on having lots of bread, a salad, and several packages of no meat spaghetti sauce over lots and lots of spaghetti.  That was the only meal I found that would allow me to get the dishes washed before they started coming into the kitchen ready to eat again.    

When the Church did away with the No Meat Fridays, a lot of people made remarks like ‘that wasn’t important anyway.’   Or the people had been taken advantage of for many years, etc.  

But as with anything else, times change and people change.  The Church has tried over the years to recognize the individual intellect of its people.  And since people had evolved to being quite a lot more independent and even more intelligent, the Church said it still recommended the penance of no meat on Fridays, but now, the people could decide their own penance.  So, we are all told to do something in the way of penance on Fridays in remembrance of the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross, but we can now choose to do what we would like to do for our own individual penance.  Lots of people still do without meat on Fridays. Others do other kinds of penance such as giving up a habit or doing a chore they do not want to do, or helping someone else, or attending Mass on that day.  Whatever is a penance to the individual is what that individual should do.  And this is usually done by the individual without any fanfare or notice by anyone else.  Which is the way it is supposed to be done.

There have been other changes in the Church over the last hundred years.  Some are highly publicized.  Others are barely mentioned.  But the one I like the best of all is the re-emphasis on the Adoration of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament.  This used to be done in what was called 40 Hour Devotions where the parishioners came during a 40 Hour period to worship Christ in the exposed Blessed Sacrament.  Over time, this had almost died out.  There was very little devotion to the exposed Blessed Sacrament.  This Devotion is gradually being started up in more and more parishes all over the world.  And I, for one, am so glad to see it.  

Jesus should be adored.  He should be worshipped constantly.  He should be the center of all the universe.  It is time.  It is really past time for all this.  Visit Jesus in the nearest Catholic Church when and if you can find the time.  It is well worth your few minutes.  There is peace there.  There is hope there.  Because  Jesus is there.

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