The Fellowship of Life
Over 14 centuries, abstinence from meat was integral to Lenten observance. It is therefore worth considering the benefits of the traditional fast, in terms of contemporary relevance to prayer, contemplation and charity.
Throughout the year, our liturgy extols every conceivable virtue, most emphatically love, peace, mercy, justice and salvation.
Yet, we continually condemn countless innocents to a slaughterhouse fate in order to satiate worldly tastes. There exists no doctrinal obligation for every Catholic to await Our Lord's return before abattoir killings raise ethical qualms.
Indeed, the penitential season can afford a chance to reflect on an area of our lives which traditional theology has taken for granted.
The CTS Companion to Lent observes that: "Lent has us praying for the clarity to see what's wrong and begin to put it right. Fasting clears the deck and simplifies, frees and shows what a just world would be like."
If only for a brief period, let us realise that slaughter cannot be reconciled with love nor grace with bloodletting. Through prayer and penance, it becomes possible for the Holy Spirit to enter our lives and transform the world, in ways which we may have yet to consider.
For further information, please visit www.veg4lent.org or write to Christian Vegetarian Association (UK), Foresta, Pines Road, Liphook, Hampshire, GU30 7PL.
Return to Lenten letters (2001-04)
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