To bean or not to bean?

That is the question that we faced on Friday.  We had to travel over two hours each way to a family funeral.  Upon arriving at home, we would be due at our Little Flowers Girls Club meeting.  Now, I’d already been to a funeral on a Friday in Lent, many years ago, and we were told that it was customary for the priest to give a dispensation on the Lenten fasting to the mourners.  Honestly, though, this happened well before I was genuinely practicing my faith, so I was not giving much thought to the whys or the hows (is this  just for the funeral meal or for the entire day?) of the dispensation.  The funeral we went to on Friday was not a Catholic one, per se, so I couldn’t grab the priest and ask for a 30-second spiritual direction session, either.

Before we left, I told First Shift of Kids that, because we were celebrating the hope that someone is in heaven with the resurrected Jesus, we could feel comfortable eating meat at the luncheon.  The funny thing was that, beyond the cup of cream of chicken soup we were served, there wasn’t any meat on the buffet that looked any more delicious than the stuffed flounder.

Dinner, however, was going to be a different story.  I would be wiped out by that hour of the day. Perhaps I should have gotten something into the slow cooker before leaving, but I overslept, to the point where we even had to grab breakfast at a drive-through (bagels with cream cheese rather than bacon sandwiches).  Dinner?  We ended up going out for pizza.

Why am I telling you all of this?  I just wanted to come clean:  there are times when we’re on the road or sucked dry by the family schedule that getting meatless meals for our family is really, reallly hard.  There have been times when Mr. M and I have said, “Isn’t it some special feast or something today?  Mary Magdalen?  Sure!  Hot dogs it is!”  Is that right of us to do?  Is it fulfilling my promise as a lay Dominican to surrender the meatless thing some Fridays and offer up some alternative penance?

Short answer:  I don’t know.  I wish I did.  If you’re struggling with these things some Fridays, let me know.  Make me feel a little less lonely.


About Erin McCole Cupp
Erin McCole Cupp is a wife, mother, and lay Dominican who lives with her family of vertebrates somewhere out in the middle of Nowhere, Pennsylvania. Her short writing has appeared in Canticle Magazine, The Catholic Standard and Times, Parents, The Philadelphia City Paper, The White Shoe Irregular, Outer Darkness Magazine, and the newsletter of her children’s playgroup. She is a contributor to and has been a guest blogger for the Catholic Writers Guild. Her other professional experiences include acting, costuming, youth ministry, international scholar advising, and waiting tables. When Erin is not writing, cooking or parenting, she can be found reading, singing a bit too loudly, sewing for people she loves, gardening in spite of herself, or dragging loved ones to visitors centers at tourist spots around the country. Find out more about her novels and other projects at .

2 Responses to To bean or not to bean?

  1. Ugh. I do this too and sometimes one (or some) of my kids will say “but, it’s Friday.” I justify it by saying we can perform an act of charity, like no sibling fighting, or trying to be more patient with my kids/husband. That’s acceptable, isn’t it? I hope so. I’m sure there’s many of us who struggle with this.

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