Have I mentioned that our family observes the traditional Friday Fast throughout the year? Abstaining from meat for one day a week has been more that just a practicality, though it has been easier to apply than the "substitution of other penitential practices" which doesn't always happen. The "meatless" day provides a day-long reminder of what we have gained through our Lord's sacrifice. Every meal requires thoughtful reflection and preparation. Peanut butter instead of ham. Tuna (not lobster!) instead of roast beef.
No meat on Friday. Simple. No. Meat. On. Friday.
There are so many creative and outstanding recipes to assist those who wish to abstain from meat on occasion. I've decided to skip "creative"; our Friday meals are always the same (cue dramatic music): The Soup Of Suffering.
What is The Soup Of Suffering? Well, for our family it is their very favorite soup. Mom's homemade Loaded Potato Soup. Without the "load". This particular soup is very popular with all my friends and family...dripping with cheese, sour cream, crispy crumbled bacon, green onions or chives--choose your topping--we have it! And fresh baked herb bread. Are you hungry yet?
Minus all the toppings...it's just potato soup. Good. Filling. Boring.
When my son, Joseph, expressed (as only a grumpy, hungry child can!) just how much he missed the bacon with this soup, it was a very good time to talk about suffering and sacrifice--giving up bacon is really a small sacrifice, a very little suffering.
The Soup Of Suffering. One family's version of sacrifice.
Which brings us to last night's dinner.
So...what happens when mom (who remains on auto-pilot most of the day) puts crumbled bacon and cheese on your potato soup? Well, then, it's time for the "substitution of other penitential practices." The children come to the table and observe the lovely repast before them:
Zachary: "Is that bacon on the soup?"
Michael: "It's Friday!"
Joseph: "I can't eat that, Mom!"
Max: "It's Friday? Ah, man!"
Abi and Rylee: "Eeewww yuck! We hate potato soup! It's white!" (so is vanilla ice cream and sugar, but no aversion to those!)
"OK, guys...let's see...we'll pray the rosary and add a few extra prayers...eat up!"
Michael: "I can't do that, Mom. I'd rather not have the bacon."
Joseph: "I want to keep Friday holy."
These are exact quotes. So...bowls of unadorned soup were quickly substituted.
Now we know who the real teachers are...