There's not a lot of Catholic ritual that I follow. I haven't gone to a mass in a really long time. And I'd be hard pressed to tell you what the Holy Days of Obligation are. But one thing I do pretty much every year to this day is avoid eating meat on Fridays during Lent.
I'm not overly strict about it. I mean... last Friday I was out to lunch with my financial advisor, and she ordered all these appetizers as our lunch (totally the kind of meal I love), and one of the appetizers was meatballs in marinara sauce. She offered me some - she knows I'm not vegetarian - so I said yes. Basically, I didn't want to make her feel uncomfortable, so I ate one. But every other Friday of Lent this year I've avoided meat at lunchtime and had veggie pizzas and the like.
I think that, at some point, I started doing this just to see if I could make it. Could I figure out a way to avoid meat on Friday without causing problems with my place in the world around me? Could I find interesting things to eat that were meat-free?
I knew I could find meat-free things. Long before meatless meals were a big thing, my mom was cooking one or two meatless meals for dinner every week. So that was easy.
Finding ways to succeed at that when I wasn't at home - and without making anyone else feel uncomfortable - that was a bigger issue. After all (and I guess I have to thank the horrible edit for this viewpoint), when you fast you're supposed to do it so no one knows you're doing it. So grimacing your way through a meatless meal kinda misses the point.
So we're now at the end of Lent, and I've done... okay. I've eaten mostly meatless on most Fridays. And I think I managed it all without making anyone else uncomfortable.
Hmm... Something in that makes me think of my post from Wednesday. Wouldn't it be nice if everyone tried to deal with their religious choices without imposing them on those around them? Interesting idea...