Why Do We Give Up Meat?


I have a question for you. Why is it we give up meat on Ash Wednesday and on Fridays during lent?? I seem to remember being told one time, but I'm not exactly sure. Thanks and may God bless you!


Andrew Osucha
Grad. Student @ U. of Alabama


Dear Andrew,

Thanks for the good question. Actually, every Friday of the year (unless it falls on a major feastday like Christmas) is a day of penance. If a person does not abstain from meat, they should do some other act of self-abnegation or discipline. The reason for Friday being a day of voluntary sacrifice is because it was the day Jesus suffered & died for us on the cross. The Fridays of Lent have a special significance because of the forty days of preparation for Holy Week which is the season of Lent. We imitate Jesus' fasting for forty days in the desert, so besides not eating meat on those Fridays a person should abtain from some other favorite food. (I give an example of my mom in this Sunday's homily.)

Fasting is limiting ones food consumption to the point of experiencing hunger, a common enough reality in our world, but something we Americans are not too used to, except for dieters. Ash Wednesday, the opening day of Lent, and Good Friday, April 21 this year, are the two prescribed days of fast (as well as abstinence from meat) but within prudent limits fasting is a beneficial practice both for ones spirit and body.

God bless,

Fr. Phil Bloom

Proposal for Meatless Fridays

From the Archives (Ash Wednesday homilies):

Two Cheers for Catholic Guilt (2010)
Don't Waste This Crisis
When You Give Alms
Back to the Basics
Dealing With Guilt
Exercise of Holy Desire

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C