Fonticulus Fides

Friday, February 27, 2004

Just not what Lent is supposed to be about...

Yesterday, I heard a radio commercial for a local seafood place that went something like this: "Don't let Lent get you down! Come to Midwest Seafood this Friday and indulge your tastebuds in fresh lobster, crablegs and all your other favorites..."

Okay, so maybe the owners of Midwest Seafood aren't Catholic or Lutheran or one of the other Christian denominations that observe Lent. But really! The point of giving up meat on Fridays isn't to feast, it's to fast.

Now I have to admit, pretty much any form of seafood seems celebratory for me, because I love it so much. And we pray a dear price for it out here in Nebraska, being so far from the ocean and all. A hamburger is far more of a humble meal than shrimp pizza or fish and chips, and only one-third the price.

When the practice of giving up meat and subbing in fish began, fish was "everyman's" food, and beef, pork, mutton and the like were luxuries. Because if you wanted to eat a steak or beef roast, you had to buy a calf, give it a home, feed it, make sure it had clean water, etc., butcher it, and then feast like crazy because there was no form of refrigeration to preserve any excess. Beef was rich man's food. But if you wanted to eat fish, you just went fishing.

Now it's the reverse -- at least it is here in the U.S. Huge cattle farms and factory-style processing centers make beef super cheap. Meanwhile, our lakes, rivers and oceans have seen the perils of modern technology and many are so polluted, you can't just cast a line and hope to catch a fish safe to eat...or catch a fish at all for that matter. So in most cases, fish and seafood have become the luxury items.

Canned tuna, now that is a penance as far as I'm concerned. And with it on special now for 33 cents per 6 oz. can, it's actually cheaper than beef for the moment. Though not by much.

Ever since we started observing Lent, I've struggled with the temptation to indulge in things like shrimp, scallops, lobster and so forth each Friday. And I have failed more than once. This year, it'll be easier to avoid because we're just scratching by financially. No way I can afford shrimp, etc., even on sale. But still, I pray that I'll be able to maintain the right attitude about Lent as I meditate on the Lord's sacrifice for our sake.

May this be a meaningful and spiritually productive day for you...



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