But why? It’s a celebration! A Feast! Our Savior is Resurrected!
Check out the Code of Canon Law for a second.
(OK, more than a second.)
Canon 1250: All Fridays through the year and the time of Lent are penitential days and times throughout the entire Church.
Canon 1251: Abstinence from eating meat or another food according to the prescriptions of the conference of bishops is to be observed on Fridays throughout the year unless they are solemnities; abstinence and fast are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and on the Friday of the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
So here are the strategies I use to keep Fridays penitential.
1. Avoid meat and going out on Fridays.
This used to be SO EASY when I was dating. Friday nights are now date nights (typically). Going out, regardless of what I’m eating, just doesn’t seem penitential at all. I mean, someone brings the food to me!
If I do end up going out on a Friday night (or for lunch), I try to get a simple, cheap meal. A salad. No soda or drink. Just water.
It’s nice to enjoy the company, instead of the meal (not that salads are bad!).
And of course, no meat. I really got into the no-meat Fridays last year, and I love it. It’s nice to know that I just don’t eat meat on Fridays, and I don’t have to think of something to abstain from instead.
If I stay home, I like to make a simple meal, and eat it without distractions… meaning, no reading, no cell phone while I’m eating. Just a simple meal at my dining room table.
2. Spend some extra time in prayer on Fridays, particularly at 3 p.m.
After Divine Mercy Sunday (the Sunday after Resurrection Sunday), I like to re-add a chaplet to my day around 3 p.m. I can’t do it every day, and I can’t even do it every Friday… but I try extra hard on Fridays to at least say the Divine Mercy prayer at 3 p.m. This helps me remember, every Friday, that Christ died for MY sins.
If you don’t have time for the prayer, don’t have it memorized, just say “Jesus, I trust in you!” Go for three times. 🙂
3. Go to daily Mass.
I already try to go as often as possible. I’m lucky that my work schedule and the Mass schedule at my local parish works out.
Starting a Friday morning with a Mass just makes the whole day go better (and really this works for any day).
4. Can’t make it to Mass? Liturgy of the Hours!
Yes, the Divine Office. Say it. Say the morning prayers, say the vespers. Say them all. Say what you can.
They’re online, I think there are apps for smartphones. I don’t know. This is something I want to start doing this Easter season (and ordinary time!).
I don’t go to Mass on Thursday mornings… my parish only has Liturgy of the Word with Communion. So I usually sleep in (if I can), and spend some time enjoying a cup of coffee before I go to work.
So I plan to start saying the Divine Office on Thursdays. Well, I want to try.
5. Examination of conscience.
I do the examen from the Jesuits every night, but Fridays are a great day to review the past week and see what keeps popping up.
Lust? Greed? Worry? Fear? Am I getting hit with the same sins? Have I done what I planned to do to avoid those sins? To work on them? Fridays are a great review day, and new plans can start on Saturday.
For example, I’ve been feeling very fearful about my financial situation the past few weeks. I got hit with double electric bills after moving, and the money was just a little bit short.
But of course, God provided… through my mom. She gave me some cash when I helped her with her taxes, and I was able to buy some groceries. Praise God.
So while I know I still need to budget my money, I know that God isn’t going to leave me starving. It will work out, if I use my money wisely.
I recently started tithing a full 10 percent, and the first paycheck, it really hit me, but I can already see the blessings coming back to me. God provides.
Those are just some of the ways I do… or plan to make sure every Friday is a penitential Friday.