Friday Night – Party or Penance?

Friday means pizza, drinks, the start to the weekend!  We all love Fridays!  Even our school blasts music from the loud speakers at the end of the day.  It feels great.  But traditionally, Fridays have been a day of sacrifice.   It is the day on which our Lord hung on the cross and died for our sins.  Before Vatican II, all Catholics were supposed to abstain from meat on every Friday of the year as a way of doing penance and remembering the sacrifice of Christ.  Even today, we are asked to make some small act.  How today, can I keep vigil in my heart, even while I celebrate with the rest of our culture the end of the work week?  St. Thomas More (who was beheaded for opposing King Henry VIII’s divorce), used to wear a hair shirt underneath his decorated rich garments to the parties at which he was served fine food.  Other saints up and down the ages have put little rocks in their shoes to remind them of the suffering Christ and their desire to offer up their own lives to him.

I don’t own a hair shirt and pebbles don’t fit in flip flops very well but maybe I can do something similar.  Part my hair on the other side, chew no gum, clean the toilet, stand with better posture.  What can you do today, even as you play, to whisper to Our Lord, “I love you”, “I remember you”, “your sacrifice saved me”, “I am with you”?

Fat Tuesday’s Lenten Preparation

In my house, lingering over dessert together brings a good opportunity to prepare as a family for Lent which begins the next day.  We focus on the categories of prayer, fasting and alms giving.  Each person picks something individual for prayer and fasting but our alms giving is usually communal.  Then we also try to do something in the prayer category as a family around mealtime or bedtime.  Here are some ideas:

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