Meatless Fridays

You’ve heard of meatless Mondays, I’m sure. An invention of the Vegan/Vegetarian groups in the US, meatless Mondays is encouraged as a way of saving the lives of food animals, saving a little money, helping the environment and improving our health. These are all very good reasons. As a former vegetarian and sometimes Vegan, I loved the idea of saving animals who are raised in deplorable conditions and hated the environmental damage caused by CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations).

But eventually, while I still believe these issues are important and need to be addressed, I lost my activist zealĀ  and went back to eating meat. Honestly, it’s too hard to be vegetarian, especially if you like to eat out weekly as my husband and I do, and I lost my taste for Vegetarian foods. Most meatless recipes are too exotic/spicy for my taste. I love a veggie pizza or burger and the only burritos I’ll eat are bean with cheese and rice, but you can’t eat those all the time. Plus I got tired of saying “no” all the time. I began to feel a real sense of deprivation and for a diet that’s supposed to improve your health, that’s not good.

But, swap the word “penance” for “deprivation” and you’ve got something worthwhile. It’s a sin to abuse animals for our pleasure. It’s a sin to abuse our planet’s environment for our pleasure. And so, for the animals and for the planet God created and that we humans cannot survive without, I’ll abstain from meat on Fridays as an act of penance.

I will also abstain in remembrance of Christ’s suffering on the cross. And in solidarity with the poor who, too often, go to bed hungry at night. And, of course, for my own sins of which there are too many.

It’s not enough, I know. One little old lady giving up meat one day of the week isn’t going to change a thing.

But, it’s a start.



Going Beyond

I’ve been reading Bishop Robert Barron’s Letter to a Suffering Church these last two days, and as always with the good Bishop, it has given me much to think about. If you are like me and you’ve been struggling with your faith in the church after the McCarrick and Pennsylvania revelations, then click on the link above and order your free copy ASAP. It’s well worth the $5.95 in shipping costs.

It’s a short read at just over 100 pages, and an easy read, but if you’re like me, it won’t necessarily be a quick read. There are plenty of points in his letter that you’ll want to mull and pray over. Yesterday I came across a tidbit that I had to write down because it struck me as somewhat profound.

In the chapter Why Should We Stay? the Bishop writes about how Jesus’s teachings are meant to, in some cases radically, change us. Bishop Barron then refers to Mark 1:15 in which Jesus says we should “repent.” However, the original word “metanoiete” that is most often translated as repent literally means “go beyond the mind you have.”

Think about that for a minute. Let it roll around in your brain and work it’s way into your heart.

Go beyond the mind you have.

The mind formed by your childhood experiences and lessons. The mind influenced by secular media and culture, by politics, by teachers and professors, by friends and family. The mind influenced by your biological urges for pleasure: sex, food, comfort, love, acceptance. The mind influenced by our consumer culture’s belief that being rich, famous and powerful are the only goals worth pursuing.

When Jesus says metanoiete he’s not just telling us to recite our sins and ask for forgiveness. He’s telling us to go beyond this world where are minds are firmly entrenched and enter into a better world. His world. His mind. His life.

So much meaning packed into one little word.

Go beyond the mind you have.