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Beef or Chicken

How meat can teach us about guarding against temptation.

As we come out of the Lenten season into the Easter season, a few friends of mine were a little more excited than most to be eating their Easter ham! These friends had made the choice to give up meat for ALL of Lent, not just on Fridays! That would be such a hard sacrifice for me. I really like eating meat. I eat it at almost every meal. And when a nutritionist put me on a high protein meal plan a year ago, my meat consumption grew!

When these friends had a scientific question about meat a few weeks ago, I was surprised to realize that I had no idea of the answer. I shouldn’t have been that surprised, though; there are plenty of areas of science I have yet to study.

Their question was: “Why does beef only have to be seared, but chicken has to be cooked all the way through?”

Basically, why is it safe to eat some un-cooked meats, but not others? Once I realized I didn’t know the answer, my inquisitive brain just had to know! So I went and typed it into Google, and read a few articles, and here is what I found.

The difference is the density of the meat. The meat of a cow is much denser than that of a chicken or other farm animal that we eat. To refresh you from 4th grade science class, density is the measurement of how much mass is in a certain amount of volume. If there are more particles in the same size jar, it’s denser. If there are the same number of particles in two different sized jars, the smaller jar is denser.

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Beef is denser than chicken. In the diagrams above, you can see more open space in the less dense diagrams; this means that more things can travel in between the particles.
In the same way, with meat, bacteria can more easily travel in and through less-dense meats such as chicken and pork. That means there can be bacteria in any part of the meat.

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But when it comes to the denser, tougher meat of beef, it is too tightly packed, so the bacteria can’t penetrate. Thus, the only part of beef where bacteria might be is on the surface. So we still need to cook the surface, but that’s it (unless you prefer the taste of more well-done steaks).

The world is kind of crazy right now, so it is understandable that many of us have been distracted and let our prayer lives go to the back burner. Maybe we still pray before meals, but feel we can’t manage much more. I know some days that’s all I can muster. When this becomes our mindset, it is much easier for the devil and his little temptations to enter into our hearts and minds.

This is exactly the time when we need to STRENGTHEN our prayer life.

Think about it this way: if I pray one prayer in my 24-hour day, there is an abundance of extra time/space for temptation to penetrate. But if I increase the density of prayer in my day, it is harder for temptation to get in.

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Just as with the beef that is dense and yet still needs a quick sear, when prayer fills our day, we still have to actively fight off temptation, but it will be easier to prevent it from gaining a foothold and penetrating more deeply into our lives. The temptation will still be there and still trying to get in, but a quick little sear, such as a quick extra prayer to St. Michael, will help keep that temptation out. That easier ability to fight the devil and the temptations plaguing us all only happens when we fill our days with more and more prayer, more time with God.

I encourage you to find a little extra time to pray each day this week, more than you usually do. Also, find time each day to pray the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. He is there to help defend us in battle. Let us use this resource. Pray it with me now.

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil; May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

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