Lenten Season 2018: Why Do Catholics Abstain from Meat?

The Lenten Season has officially begun, and for many Christians, especially Catholics, it is the period of fasting.

With Ash Wednesday finally happening on the same day with Valentine's Day this year, the Lenten Season, also known as Lent Season or simply Lent, has officially started. While this religious period is meant to remember the sacrifices and death of Jesus, it is also a time for many to reflect on their sins and strengthen their Christian faith.

One of the most common practices during the Lenten Season is for the Catholic faithfuls to go on fasting. While Catholics between the age of 14 and 59 are allowed to have one full meal and two half meals on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all the Fridays of Lent, they are encouraged to abstain from eating meat during those days.

Abstaining from meat on all Fridays of Lent is a reminder for Catholics that Jesus gave up His body, His human form flesh, on a Friday. Hence, for many Catholics, abstaining from meat is a way to foster a greater communion with Jesus Christ.

Another reason why Catholics abstain from eating meat on certain days within the Lenten Season is that meat is associated with feasts and celebrations. As Lent should be a period of solemn sacrifice, Catholics believe that staying away from meat is one way of not getting into a celebratory mood.

While Catholics are required to go on fasting on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all Fridays of Lent, things were a lot stricter centuries ago. However, with the blessing of Pope Paul VI, the rule became more lenient in 1966, allowing Catholics to eat meat on Wednesdays and Saturdays within the Lenten Season.

However, it is not only meat that Catholics give up during the Lenten Season. According to a report, many Americans last year said that they would give up chocolate, soda, swearing, shopping and social media. For many non-Catholic Christians, giving up things for Lent will help them identify their addictions and emotional dependencies.


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