Friday, March 02, 2007

Lenten Abstinence

Is it just me or practicing Catholics in Manila are getting fewer these days?

This is the second Friday of lent and the second time i noticed a lot of people eat meat, from grilled pork to burgers to fried chicken. Where are all the people that lined up during Ash Wednesday to get their foreheads marked with a cross? It seems they all have disappeared. It's either they are ignorant of church law, or that they just don't care. What worries me more is when these two possibilities are enforced when pastors stresses to the flock that abstinence of meat is no longer necessary, but abstinence to sin is.

How can one triumph over temptation and sin when one has not yet mastered over his will, mind and body? The whole exercise of abstaining from meat is for one to master self control, by giving up meat dishes every Friday for a far more greater purpose. Remember Jesus, who spent his forty days and nights fasting in the desert, has won over temptation. Yes, it is true that He won because He is God, but don't forget that He showed us the way how to succeed in winning over temptation and sin, through sacrifice and self control.

Fasting and abstinence from meat is our tradition as Catholics. It is a treasure that is rich in teaching. Let us not put it aside by replacing it with worldly philosophies and interpretations of how to fast and abstain. It is our Catholic Faith, let us live it.

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