Jesus. Christ. God. Son. Savior.

June 25, 2008

So… it’s after Lent and this question most definately won’t come up for another year…. but we had a great speaker at Newman Club in the Spring, and I wanted to write it down before I forget. Its also possible I’ll mess up what he said, but oh well, it’s worth a shot!


As always with these posts I’m not trying to be aggressive or anything, I’m simply trying to help others (as well as myself) understand the Catholic faith Tradition, and seek to promote understanding and respect. And since I get questions all the time, and answer pretty inadequately, I try to come back with more complete answers.


So, Why do Catholics eat fish on fridays in Lent?


Common answers might be:

  • Because the church tells me too.
  • It’s something else to sacrifice.
  • I don’t know, but I do it anyway.


But, lets take a deeper look into this.


Christ came to earth as a human. The word for this is the “Incarnation” The root of this word, carn, is the latin word for BOTH flesh and meat. During the prepatory time of Lent, we try to deny the flesh and seek God more fully. Therefore, by abstaining from meat on fridays, we are denying the flesh as Christ did in His death and resurrection.


Then, why do we eat fish instead?


Ichthus is the Greek word for fish. It is an acronym, formed from the initial letters of the Greek words Ièsous Christos Theou ‘Uios Sotèr, which means: Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.


  Ièsous                              Jesus


  Christos                           Christ


  Theou                              God


  Uios                                  Son


  Sotèr                                Savior


The Ichthus sign was used as a “secret” form of communication between the persecuted believers of the early church. The symbol was often drawn with the foot in the sand to help Christians identify each other.


So, while we are denying the flesh or “carn” by abstaining from meat on fridays during lent, we eat fish to symbolize our acceptance of “Jesus Christ, God, Son, Savior”


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