September 18, 2010

Ember Days: Sept. 22, 24 and 25

In the liturgical calendar of the Western Christian churches, Ember days are four separate sets of three days within the same week—specifically, the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday—roughly equidistant in the circuit of the year, that were formerly set aside for fasting and prayer. These days were considered especially suitable for the ordination of clergy. The Ember Days are known in Latin as the quattuor anni tempora (the "four seasons of the year"), or formerly as the jejunia quattuor temporum ("fasts of the four seasons").  These times are spent fasting and partially abstaining (voluntary since the new Code of Canon Law) in penance and with the intentions of thanking God for the gifts He gives us in nature and beseeching Him for the discipline to use them in moderation. The fasts are rooted in Old Testament practices of fasting four times a year.

These quarterly periods take place around the beginnings of the four natural seasons. The first of these four times comes in Winter, after the the Feast of St. Lucy; the second comes in Spring, the week after Ash Wednesday; the third comes in Summer, after Pentecost Sunday; and the last comes in Autumn, after Holy Cross Day. Their dates can be remembered by this old mnemonic:

Sant Crux, Lucia, Cineres, Charismata Dia
Ut sit in angaria quarta sequens feria.


Which means:
Holy Cross, Lucy, Ash Wednesday, Pentecost,
are when the quarter holidays follow.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Join the Mailing List
Enter your name and email address below:
Name:
Email:
Subscribe Unsubscribe
Email list to receive updates specific to the Latin Mass in the Worcester diocese. When you subscribe, you will receive a link to confirm. Click on the link (if it doesn't open, copy and paste it into your browser and open it from there). You are then on the Latin Mass email list. (There is no need to sign up for a password unless you want to sign up for other services).