So I was struck as Lent began this past Ash Wednesday at the profound effect Lent has on businesses. Catholics, no matter how often then attend mass or follow church teaching to the letter, seem to observe the Lenten fast from meat. This observance has a big impact on the culture and on businesses.
As a culture that is extremely secularized and completely it seems to a post-modernistic, post religious culture it is very interesting to see how businesses adapt and plan around Lent. So what causes this sudden shift around Lent to offer fish specials, fish sandwiches, fish fries and other forms of seafood specials? Because as a Church we come together as the Body of Christ (whether all of them realize it or not) and have a deep impact on business and culture.
Now I am not sure how it is in other areas but in Steubenville when I drive down Sunset Boulevard there are Lenten specials advertised everywhere. From all the fast food restaurants to Kroger’s to Damon's and many of the restaurants all of them have some kind of deal for Lent. So as a Church we have the power to impact businesses and their operation.
United we are strong and our statement on the culture could be even stronger but we seemingly abdicate this strength with a relativism. As a Church if we were united with one voice we could move mountains. Jesus tells us that all it takes is faith. “He said to them, "Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, `Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you." (Matthew 17:20)
Our ability to impact culture and business is notable and proven if we can be a united as one voice. However our voice now is fractured by a culture that we are allowing to divide us. United we stand and divided we fall; we must unite behind the Truth, behind Jesus Christ and His Church on earth.
So this Lent as part of your Lenten practice/penance seek to have an impact on the culture. While Jesus tells us that when we are fasting we should look normal, we also need to be a witness. Now I am not saying to go around with our faces and clothes dirty but I am saying we must go around and seek to make a difference in others by being authentically Catholic. By demonstrating the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity we can effect serious change on a culture that is sorely in need of a rejuvenation of virtue. If we can start to show others the joy we have from our ability to sacrifice and serve then we can begin to effect radical change, we can be the witness that Christ called us to be.
Be Courageous, Be Authentic, Be Catholic and have a deep impact this Lent.