Why must we abstain from meat
on Fridays during Lent?
During biblical times, meat was considered a food of rejoicing, because it was not always available and because its protein was an important food for good health and strength. Remember that when the Prodigal Son returned to his father, the father killed the fatted calf to throw a party and celebrate his son’s return from death.
During Lent, the Church asks us to fast as a spiritual discipline of self-denial, on Fridays, because that is the day of our Lord’s death, and it recommends that we abstain from eating meat — the food of rejoicing — in mourning for Jesus because of the pain and death he had to endure for our sake.
Such a fast is very scriptural. The book of Daniel states, “In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia . . . ‘I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over'” (Daniel 10:1-3).
© 2007 by Terry A. Modica
See also the Lenten materials published by Catholic Digital Resources.