Lenten candlelight dinner in poor taste
Dale Parker | Monday, March 29, 2010
I’m writing in to express my disappointment with the dining halls’ decision to have a candlelight dinner on March 26 (Friday in Passiontide and the Commemoration of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary).
The Church imposes the discipline of forbidding meat on Fridays as a penance, not as something chic that Catholics get to do. Ideally Friday abstinence should be augmented by prayer, fasting, almsgiving and above all a spirit of sacrifice; to that end, for centuries (and up until the 1960s) fasting was required not just on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday but on every day (except Sundays) of Lent. This prepared the Christian faithful to more fully appreciate the season of Easter, when fasting ceased and feasting with the risen Bridegroom commenced.
Given this, the idea of a “Lenten buffet” on a Friday in Lent, wherein one could indulge in such things as swordfish steak, is in terribly poor taste. Symptomatic of this poor taste was the placing of the cross and crown of thorns above the dessert table — the two symbols that should most exhort us to the sacrifice of self.
The Church’s liturgical calendar operates in cycles that reflect the spiritual life; one must fast before one feasts, just as one must endure the struggles of earthly life before entering the blessed joy of Heaven. Feasting during Lent only serves to extinguish the blessed joy that comes with the Solemnity of all solemnities, Easter.