Sacrifice of Flesh

by | Mar 18, 2024 | Church, Society, Teachings

Catholics abstain from meat on Fridays to honor the sacrifice of Christ’s flesh.

Whether you are a cradle or convert Catholic, it can be hard to remember abstaining from meat on Fridays. To some people, it’s a weird “quirk” of Catholics. Understandably, most of us choose to quietly keep our practice and not advertise our abstinence.

But why do we have this universal penance?

On Good Friday, Jesus sacrificed His flesh for us all. He was scourged, crowned with thorns, burdened with a cross, and nailed to it. His flesh was torn and broken for our sins.

Though the meat production process is far less horrific, animals are still slain for our nourishment. Their death sustains our life. Christ’s death renewed our spiritual life lost by sin.

We honor Jesus’ sacrifice of flesh by denying ourselves the benefits of animal flesh. On Fridays, we pay the small price of losing animal meat. It should remind us we could have lost everything without Christ’s sacrifice. This abstinence is also a small way to join our suffering to the ultimate sacrifice He made on the cross.

Abstaining from meat on Friday is not a strange quirk or an inconvenience. It is a beautiful union with Christ honoring His death and our life. Should the necessity arise to eat meat (such as being served food at a dinner party with no alternatives) another penance must be substituted. We can also maintain a penitential attitude, such as declining drinks other than water. Whatever can be done should be practiced to honor the Lord’s sacrifice.

While Lent is a mandatory time of abstinence from meat, we are highly encouraged to maintain penance year around. It makes Christmas, Easter, and solemnities that much more special!

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Michelle C. Martin

Michelle graduated from Texas Tech University with her husband, Joshua, in May 2021 and married him in June on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She has a degree in Communication Studies and has loved growing in knowledge of healthy and authentic relationships during her time in college and adulthood. Michelle and Joshua currently reside in Lubbock, TX where he works as an architect and she loves life as a stay-at-home wife and mother to their children, Peter and Cecilia.

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