To my Saturday reflection "Lenten Fridays 1" I received an email from a friend who said in response to my comment that we are invited on Fridays during Lent to abstain from eating meat: "We are invited? I thought it was a law?".
The first reading this morning at liturgy was from the 19th chapter of Leviticus. As I listened, I heard an invitation from the Lord through Moses to "Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy". The imperative to respond positively to this invitation is great. The Lord does not force us (under penalty of the law) nor threaten us (with fire and damnation), but rather invites and encourages us of our own free will to accept the offer He extends to LIVE, by being one with Him and to be "holy as the Lord our God is holy". Leviticus then goes on to lay out the law, not as the conditions but as a vehicle for enfleshing the life of the Spirit within our lives. Following the law is a visible sign of our acceptance of the invitation to embrace the love of God in our lives. The law is given because He reminds us "I am the LORD". If we accept him, then His law is a grace to embrace and follow.
Yes, my friend, Friday Lenten abstinence is a law for the Catholic faithful, but it is also an invitation to embrace the sacrifice of Christ and journey toward that holiness that is His desire for us.
On this Monday, March 14th, my sister, Jane (my only sibling) and I celebrate the 5th birthday of her puppy, Sammy (Samuel Leonard Stoviak). Sammy, a cute little Shiatsu, is a loving friend and companion. He is a joy to our hearts. Happy Birthday Sammy!