Over at Mary’s Aggies.
I have started to read the linked post. It is very informative, but I have a question. They say that fasting if for all people between 14 and 60, that is clear. But I am not clear about abstinence from meat at the indicated times. Is is obligatory for everyone no matter what age they are? I am asking mostly because I would like to know if someone asks me, because I have made a habit for many years to abstain from meat on Fridays. However, there is a problem: some of my favourite foods include… fish! as well as rice with beans, and pasta with tomato sauce and cheese. Therefore it is not much of a sacrifice for me, although it can be inconvenient sometimes. It is more of a symbolic thing for me. Is it still useful, in a spiritual way? Plus the Mega Post mentions the reason that fish is allowed is because it used to be the food that the poor could eat, since they could always eat fish but meat was often too expensive. However in many richer countries now, this is no longer the case; at the store, fish is sometimes even more expensive than meat, and it certainly is in some of the restaurants in my neighbourhood. Should another kind of abstinence be suggested nowadays, or is fish part of the Tradition?
Sorry, I should have written “… since (the poor) could always catch their own fish…”
Fish is traditional, not required. The idea is to deny yourself. A vegetarian, for example, would need to choose something other than meat to give up.
The Church’s suggestion fits well enough with most cultures, I think, not because “we must eat fish”, but because it points to the self-denial of something the rich can afford, substituting something that the poor have to settle for all the time. The correct understanding of the discipline of self-denial solves the problem. At least, that is how it’s always struck me.
I like the tradition of fish, though, because of ICHTHYS, and its link to the Eucharist: we eat the body of Our Lord: the ICHTHYS fish.
ICHTHYS: That is a good point; I never thought of it. Thank you.