You know, there really aren’t that many Fridays in Lent, so you would think not eating meat for us Catholics would be no big deal. But every year there are people asking things like, “Can I order a pepperoni pizza at midnight?” I remember being in college, a Catholic college mind you, and at midnight some guys ripping into a can of meat ravioli. The crazy thing is no one should ever be craving canned meat ravioli in the first place!
Here’s what is happening: You actually have to think today about what you are eating. Normal days go by and most of us eat without a lot of thought. We eat what is at home, whatever we brought to work that was easily accessible in the fridge, or we pick something off a menu which is, of course, dictated to us by where we ended up for lunch, a place that often someone else from our office or a friend chose. The everyday stewardship characteristic that we are looking at this week in light of the Sunday readings is being mindful. Without being mindful, we can’t pause to give real thanks, make a real choice, and think about what we are actually doing.
You crave a hamburger, or whatever meat you can’t have, because it actually has entered your mind that on this day it is forbidden. A month ago you had fish and chips and thought nothing of that ground beef patty. But today, it seems different.
Imagine then how so many of us spend our whole lives not being mindful and taking in all that is around us that God has given as gift. Today, and every Friday of Lent (and for some of us every Friday of the year,) is a gift from God. Today is a gift because you will be asked to not only sacrifice a little, but you will be asked to STOP, THINK, LISTEN, & PRAY. Today, take the time to really say that grace before your meals. Refrain from trying to break a record by saying a one sentence prayer of grace in the shortest time ever. Today, really think about what you are eating, and how it will nourish your body, and how others will have nothing to eat. Some never have the choice to abstain from meat, because they have no access to food. Today, give real thanks for what God has done for you and pray to draw ever closer to Him.
And then, do all of those things again tomorrow. Just do it while eating a delicious hamburger.