Monday, September 22, 2008

Upcoming Ember Days

Wednesday, Friday and Saturday of this week are the traditional autumn Ember Days. This is a tradition of fasting (now voluntary) before the 4 changes of the seasons in the year to focus on God through His creation.

Traditionally, during each quarterly period of Ember Days, the faithful were called on to focus on a different virtue and repent of a vice as the reason for their fasting. Blessed Jacopo de Voragine, in the 13th century told of the focus of each Ember Day period. Here are some of his thoughts on the Ember Days that occur in Autumn.

In harvest (we ought to fast) to repress the drought of pride...because...in this time the fruits be gathered and we should render to God the fruits of good works. In harvest we (also) fast to refrain melancholy. In September...we fast to the end...that the earth of coldness and the darkness of ignorance...be attempered to us... and that we be ripe by attemperance. We fast to make amends for all that we have failed in all these four times.
So the Michaelmas Embertide (the Ember Days following the Feast of the Holy Cross in September before the Feast of St. Michael) are to focus on thanking God for the gift of the harvest, to make amends for all our sin, and to fast from pride and from melencholy.

I think it is a good idea, at this harvest time, before our the annual "holiday season" overtakes us, to stop and thank God for all His blessings, and to pray especially for the strength to overcome our tendancy towards pride (and melancholy as the days grow shorter) and to focus our spiritual energies towards having an appropriately godly focus to our upcoming months of feasting.

Let us thank God for his rich blessings!

An Ember Day Haiku

I feel the coolness
in the quiet harvest night
and offer thanks

4 comments:

Angie said...

I had never heard of these days. Although I am not able to fast in the sense of food, I can fast in other ways and express my thanks to Our Lord.
Thank you for sharing this information!

Dymphna (4HisChurch) said...

You're welcome! I only became aware of the existence of Ember days recently myself.

cubfan1426 said...

I think I remember a reference to Ember Days (or was that the Ember's Resturant in O.C. LOL). I'd like to learn more about this.

I don't always understand Haiku poetry but the one here I like a lot and I understand.

Great Post!!

Dymphna (4HisChurch) said...

Thanks, cubfan! I remember the Ember's! Is it still there?

Glad u enjoy my haiku!

Dymphna's favorite quotes


"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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