Growing up Catholic, eating fish on Fridays was a staple. Local parishes offered fish frys so regularly that asking what was for dinner on Fridays was superfluous. The abstinence from meat on Fridays of Lent prescribed by the Catholic Church is a reminder to make a small sacrifice during Lent to commemorate and unite ourselves to the sacrifice Christ made on the Cross on Good Friday. It reminds us that even from its beginnings life requires sacrifice to be fruitful.
Sadly, no one in the US will be at a fish fry today. The coronavirus has swept away public gatherings, so we must observe our Lenten abstinence in isolation. Yet, as I anticipate my fish dinner tonight, I feel a sense of comfort in knowing that there are millions of other Catholics sharing my tradition, my small sacrifice.
Life during this pandemic has turned upside down. So many things that so many of us enjoyed and cherished have been suspended. It feels hard to keep hope. But sometimes it’s the little reminders, like fish on Fridays, that tell us that this is not the end of the story. We are on this Lenten journey together toward Easter, and Easter will indeed remain long after the virus has run its course. Let us find comfort in our Lenten practices, even as we sacrifice together.