Spiritual Discipline

Notice how devoting yourself to fasting and prayer winds up concentrating your mind on what to eat:

Here are some meatless Friday suggestions:

Cheese Quesadillas. In the unforgettable words of Napoleon Dynamite’s grandmother, “Just fix your self a dang QuesaDILLA.” Our family is all about the quesadilla on Friday. Cheap. Easy. Kids love them. Make big ones and use a pizza cutter to cut them up into slices for everybody. Add some sour cream and hot sauce for the parents, maybe some chips and home-made guacamole. You’ve got a great meal.

Nachos. A variation on quesadillas. My wife Joy gets cookie sheets out, covers them with chips and grated cheese and then puts them in the oven. Bring them out and put them in front of the kids and watch them disappear. Super cheap and kids love it. For adults, add sour cream, salsa, chives, guacamole, etc. You can also add refried beans – but make sure you get the kind without animal fat/lard since this would violate the Friday meatless rule.

Pizza. Cheese pizza for the kiddos. Margarita pizza for the parents. Perfect.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich and Tomato Soup. This is a nice simple meal and surprisingly our kids love it. You dip the grilled cheese in the soup. Comfort food. For parents, add some pesto to your grilled cheese sandwich. Also, adults like mixing up the cheeses – try different kinds.

Pasta and Marina. Fast. Easy. Children love. It costs next to nothing.

Fettuccine Alfredo. Another meatless meal that most people like. Very filling. Lots of energy.

Mac and Cheese. A good option for kids – especially when mom and dad are leaving on a date. Meatless. Inexpensive.

Vegetable Lasagna. This may not be a winner with the kids, but adults like it. It’s a lot of work to prepare, though.

Egg Salad Sandwich. My wife and I really like egg salad sandwiches with tomato and lettuce.

Tuna Salad Sandwich. Honestly, this can get old, but you change it up additions like cucumbers, olives, or even curry powder. You can get tuna sandwiches at Subway on Fridays.

Fish and Chips. My go to Friday meal, especially if at a restaurant.

Salmon. During the year, when we want a nice Friday meal, we go for salmon. Healthy. Lean. Not hard to prepare. I grill it on a cedar plank. Fantastic. This is a nice option if you have friends coming over for dinner on a Friday night, but don’t want to bore them with mac and cheese. You can also mix the grilled salmon with greens, fruits, and nuts for a beautiful salad.

Cheese Enchiladas and Chips and Salsa. This is the number one Marshall Friday meal. Joy makes it and everybody loves it. Very filling. Not very expensive. The hard part is heating all the corn tortillas in oil. It takes a little more time, but it’s worth it. My nine year old twin daughters made this meal one Friday night while my wife was away from start the finish (but I had to wash the dishes!).

Need to eat out on a Friday? My favorite option is a Bento Box lunch at a Sushi restaurant.

My least favorite Friday option? Well, the McFish Sandwich and frozen fish-sticks are my least favorite. The children like fish-sticks, but when I discover that they are for dinner, I inwardly groan. Nothing says “penance” like fish-sticks.

Imagine if you believed that conversion was a life-long process, not just 40 days a year:

Q 88. Of how many parts does the true conversion of man consist?
A: Of two parts; of the mortification of the old, and the quickening of the new man.

Q 89. What is the mortification of the old man?
A: It is a sincere sorrow of heart, that we have provoked God by our sins; and more and more to hate and flee from them.

Q 90. What is the quickening of the new man?
A: It is a sincere joy of heart in God, through Christ, and with love and delight to live according to the will of God in all good works.

17 thoughts on “Spiritual Discipline

  1. Even though our immortal souls will be always playing important roles somewhere forever, a covenant of works promises time off purgatory for Spirit-controlled eating.

    Ernest Becker—We have desire for more life—not just delaying death today, but clearing the bar of mortality entirely— By creating and following diets, humans engage in immortality rituals, and rituals must be performed socially. Clean eating rarely, if ever, occurs in secret.

    If you haven’t taken up a role in some goal-oriented movement looking for progress in sanctification or been praised publicly for self-denial , have you been truly cleansed?


    Cheetos in a can
    KFC Double Down Sandwich
    Wendy’s chocolate Frosty
    oatmeal cookies
    Cinnamon Life cereal with whole milk
    BBQ sauce with anything
    Cookies & Cream ice cream
    A large sack of Five Guys fries
    Talenti’s pumpkin pie gelato
    Cannolis with extra marscapone
    bagels with cream cheese
    Triple chocolate fudge cake
    Kraft Mac ‘n’ Cheese Family box
    A tub of queso with warm tortillas
    Fluffernutter milkshakes
    Several tubes of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls
    Hot Krispy Kremes
    Bacon bacon and more bacon
    Chocolate chip cookies
    Pancakes all you can eat with extra butter


  2. True Dat! However, in fairness NAPARC types have their share of extracurricular/extra biblical “spiritual disciplines.”


  3. “Imagine if you believed that conversion was a life-long process, not just 40 days a year:”

    No need to imagine.
    2015: The way of perfection passes by way of the Cross. There is no holiness without renunciation and spiritual battle. Spiritual progress entails the ascesis and mortification that gradually lead to living in the peace and joy of the Beatitudes: He who climbs never stops going from beginning to beginning, through beginnings that have no end. He never stops desiring what he already knows
    1428 Christ’s call to conversion continues to resound in the lives of Christians. This second conversion is an uninterrupted task for the whole Church who, “clasping sinners to her bosom, [is] at once holy and always in need of purification, [and] follows constantly the path of penance and renewal.” This endeavor of conversion is not just a human work. It is the movement of a “contrite heart,” drawn and moved by grace to respond to the merciful love of God who loved us first.
    1430 Jesus’ call to conversion and penance, like that of the prophets before him, does not aim first at outward works, “sackcloth and ashes,” fasting and mortification, but at the conversion of the heart, interior conversion. Without this, such penances remain sterile and false; however, interior conversion urges expression in visible signs, gestures and works of penance.
    1431 Interior repentance is a radical reorientation of our whole life, a return, a conversion to God with all our heart, an end of sin, a turning away from evil, with repugnance toward the evil actions we have committed. At the same time it entails the desire and resolution to change one’s life, with hope in God’s mercy and trust in the help of his grace. This conversion of heart is accompanied by a salutary pain and sadness which the Fathers called animi cruciatus (affliction of spirit) and compunctio cordis (repentance of heart).
    1432 The human heart is heavy and hardened. God must give man a new heart. Conversion is first of all a work of the grace of God who makes our hearts return to him: “Restore us to thyself, O LORD, that we may be restored!” God gives us the strength to begin anew. It is in discovering the greatness of God’s love that our heart is shaken by the horror and weight of sin and begins to fear offending God by sin and being separated from him. The human heart is converted by looking upon him whom our sins have pierced: Let us fix our eyes on Christ’s blood and understand how precious it is to his Father, for, poured out for our salvation it has brought to the whole world the grace of repentance.
    1433 Since Easter, the Holy Spirit has proved “the world wrong about sin,” i.e., proved that the world has not believed in him whom the Father has sent. But this same Spirit who brings sin to light is also the Consoler who gives the human heart grace for repentance and conversion.
    1434 The interior penance of the Christian can be expressed in many and various ways. Scripture and the Fathers insist above all on three forms, fasting, prayer, and almsgiving,which express conversion in relation to oneself, to God, and to others. Alongside the radical purification brought about by Baptism or martyrdom they cite as means of obtaining forgiveness of sins: effort at reconciliation with one’s neighbor, tears of repentance, concern for the salvation of one’s neighbor, the intercession of the saints, and the practice of charity “which covers a multitude of sins.”
    1435 Conversion is accomplished in daily life by gestures of reconciliation, concern for the poor, the exercise and defense of justice and right,by the admission of faults to one’s brethren, fraternal correction, revision of life, examination of conscience, spiritual direction, acceptance of suffering, endurance of persecution for the sake of righteousness. Taking up one’s cross each day and following Jesus is the surest way of penance.
    1436 Eucharist and Penance. Daily conversion and penance find their source and nourishment in the Eucharist, for in it is made present the sacrifice of Christ which has reconciled us with God. Through the Eucharist those who live from the life of Christ are fed and strengthened. “It is a remedy to free us from our daily faults and to preserve us from mortal sins.”
    1437 Reading Sacred Scripture, praying the Liturgy of the Hours and the Our Father – every sincere act of worship or devotion revives the spirit of conversion and repentance within us and contributes to the forgiveness of our sins.
    1438 The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent, and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church’s penitential practice. These times are particularly appropriate for spiritual exercises, penitential liturgies, pilgrimages as signs of penance, voluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, and fraternal sharing (charitable and missionary works).

    Pope Benedict: “anyone who encounters this extraordinary and fascinating book, still widely read today, soon realizes how Augustine’s conversion was not sudden nor fully accomplished at the beginning, but which can be defined rather as a true and proper journey that remains a model for each one of us…. But there is a last step to Augustine’s journey, a third conversion, that brought him every day of his life to ask God for pardon. Initially, he thought that once he was baptized, in the life of communion with Christ, in the sacraments, in the Eucharistic celebration, he would attain the life proposed in the Sermon on the Mount: the perfection donated by Baptism and reconfirmed in the Eucharist. During the last part of his life he understood that what he had concluded at the beginning about the Sermon on the Mount — that is, now that we are Christians, we live this ideal permanently — was mistaken.
    Only Christ himself truly and completely accomplishes the Sermon on the Mount. We always need to be washed by Christ, who washes our feet, and be renewed by him. We need permanent conversion. Until the end we need this humility that recognizes that we are sinners journeying along, until the Lord gives us his hand definitively and introduces us into eternal life. It was in this final attitude of humility, lived day after day, that Augustine died.”

    Francis: “Baptism is linked to our faith in the remission of sins. The Sacrament of Penance or Confession is, indeed, like a ‘second Baptism’, which always refers to the first to consolidate or renew it. In this sense, the day of our Baptism is the beginning of a path of conversion which lasts throughout our lives, and which is continually supported by the Sacrament of Penance”


  4. 1438 The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent, and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church’s penitential practice. These times are particularly appropriate for spiritual exercises, penitential liturgies, pilgrimages as signs of penance, voluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, and fraternal sharing (charitable and missionary works).

    Are you positing Christians don’t keep the return of Christ or God’s divine plan in mind the whole year because Advent and Christmas only happens once a year? Or they don’t keep the resurrection in mind because Easter is only once a year? Good Friday is also once a year – yet I see crosses and crucifixes in churches all year.


  5. See?

    One of the longest-running and most successful sandwiches at McDonald’s is the Filet-O-Fish. But it wasn’t always on the menu. It was created by an entrepreneurial Catholic who had a big problem and won a legendary wager.

    The story goes back to 1962. Lou Groen had opened up the first McDonald’s franchise in Cincinnati, Ohio, but wasn’t able to make a profit. He quickly pieced together why: His restaurant was located in a Catholic neighborhood (Groen himself was also Catholic), Catholics didn’t eat meat on Fridays (all year round, at the time), and McDonald’s only served entrées with meat.

    He quickly got to work on a solution. He created a special batter, made his own tarter sauce, and put it together into a new kind of fish sandwich.

    But since he was franchising, he couldn’t start selling it on his own. So he took his new creation to McDonald’s headquarters and showed it to Ray Kroc, the CEO of the company.

    Kroc wasn’t sold on Groen’s sandwich right away. Part of the reason was that Kroc had been working on his own meatless sandwich: it was like a normal burger but had a slice of pineapple instead of meat, and he called it the Hula Burger.

    Kroc made Groen a wager: they would make Groen’s fish sandwich and Kroc’s Hula Burger available for one Friday at one location, and whichever one sold more would be added to the national menu.

    “Friday came and the word came out. I won hands down,” Groen later recalled. “I sold 350 fish sandwiches that day. Ray never did tell me how his sandwich did.”

    And the rest is history: Groen’s fish sandwich was added to the national menu as the Filet-O-Fish and has been there ever since.


  6. Darryl,

    I can’t stand all those stores that sell christmas books, music, films, trees, decorations, etc. during december. It’s beyond the pale.


  7. Now I’m hungry for a fish sandwich but I can’t because it’s friday and I must resist signs of solidarity or relapse. I blame everybody.


  8. Are all Catholic converts this buffoonish?

    No. Just most.

    Taylor Marshall is fast becoming the new Patrick Madrid. Complete with self-serving portraits.

    I wonder if he will be taking pictures of himself wearing a hair shirt? Or hugging the pope? We can only hope.


  9. Chris Gehrz defends pietists doing Lent:

    it’s also entirely possible to practice, say, the imposition of ashes, or to read a corporate confession of faith (as we also did last Wednesday), in a pietistic, non-formal way — such that the external action both assists and evinces inner transformation. For example, another of Rosenius’ marks of the Pietist was that “he knows his sins with remorse and fear, and he has genuinely undergone the process of laying aside these sins.” I don’t think it’s beyond the limits of the Pietist imagination to see that Lenten disciplines can assist us in knowing and laying aside our sins.

    Isn’t that an argument for receiving ashes 365 days a year? I thought Pietists would especially be wary of certain spiritual practices designated for only certain times during the year.


  10. Dr. Hart,

    I also notice how devoting oneself to a particular day of the week can make an idol out of the do’s and dont’s we focus on for that day. Hence putting the emphasis on our personal piety. Whereas, devoting oneself to the Lord of the Sabbath brings a better Christward focus and gratitude.


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