Eggs on toast. Admittedly I will be eating well this evening as I am meeting someone for dinner tonight in London; but he is a Catholic and so we will both be celebrating the re-introduction of Friday abstinence by having fish. God bless Bishop Conry who seems to have played no small part in persuading his brother Bishops to take this initiative. Here is an extract from his Pastoral Letter for Advent last year:
Next week, Monday 15 November, I am going to Leeds for a meeting of the Bishops’ Conference. I hope that we will discuss the possibility of restoring the old Friday Fast Day. This was one of the most obvious signs of Catholic identity, apart from going to Mass. It determined the diet in places like prison and hospital, and was something that Catholics were instinctively conscious of: we knew that we couldn’t have meat like everybody else that day, and it was a source of a sort of pride – it marked us out as different.
Today we are perhaps less willing to be marked out, in case we are marked out as not just different, but ‘odd’. And that is what we had been told, and began to believe. But the Pope’s visit has said to us that this is not ‘odd’, but that it’s actually important. A few years ago I suggested that we might take up another of those old Catholic practices, grace before meals, if we had lost the habit of it. It’s not difficult, doesn’t take much time, but it’s a gentle reminder.
There are all sorts of small ways in which we quietly show to the world that we believe in Christ, and that we want to welcome Christ back into a world that has either largely forgotten him or never really heard of him. Pop into the church when you are passing, so that people can see it. Put a crucifix in the window. If you are at work or with friends and people ask you what you did at the weekend, mention the fact that you went to Church. But make sure it’s true. And we can also show ourselves, by praying a little more often, and spending time reflecting on the bible.