Rogation Days

There is a pious Catholic practice I recently became aware of, even though it is over a millennia old. It is the service of the “Rogation Days,” which takes place annually on the Feast of St. Mark (the Gospel writer) on April 25th, and on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday preceding Ascension Thursday. I missed the April 25th observance this year.

It is normally done in a church, but is rare nowadays as it was dropped from the Liturgical calendar in 1970; it is now only practiced in those parishes that celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Mass an its accompanying calendar (and even then, I’m not sure how common it is…)

From the “Catholic Rural Life Prayer Book,”

The word “rogation” comes from the Latin word “rogare” meaning “to ask.”
The three Rogation Days are over 1,500 years old. They began in the fifth
century at Vienne, France, when, in the year 470, there had been crop
failures–due to earthquakes and bad weather–with resulting great food
scarcity and destitution. St. Mamertus, bishop of Vienne, ordered a triduum
of prayer and penance on the three days preceding the Ascension. The clergy
and the people made penitential processions calling upon God to help and
asking the intercession of His saints.

The purpose of the Rogation Days’ service is to implore the mercy of God
that He may keep us from all evils of soul and body, and give to the plants
of the field an increase. In the spring, when the fields are becoming green
and there is promise of a good harvest–but also the possibility of
destruction through frost, hail, or rainstorms–the prayers and processions
are a reminder to feeble man to turn with humility and confidence to the
Giver of all good. For, it is not the earth alone which brings forth fruit,
and not alone the busy hand of man on which the increase depends; but it is
God who gives the increase.”

The words I emboldened give you an idea as to why I’m making it known to you. Although as a pious practice it traditionally is a fixture in rural communities, I think it can be applied for people in addiction recovery. It’s a stretch, but “to implore the mercy of God that He may keep us from all evils of soul and body” is a worthwhile use of this devotion for us alcoholics. The parts referring to “growing things” is… well, I frequently suggest that readers “go outside to get outside” of yourself. Outdoors is where you can meet and get to know God through the study and observance of His works. (The best place is, of course inside a church, at Mass or in front of te Blessed Sacrament) but being amongst His creation is good, too.

I am not sure exactly how the Rogation Days can be practiced at home if they aren’t observed in a parish near you; I do have a copy of the “Rural Life Prayer Book” and am going to just prayerfully read the section on the Rogation Days and go from there, adapting as best I can. You can obtain a print copy for yourself here: Catholic Rural Life Store or download it free from EWTN here: EWTN Document Library

I’d suggest buying it fro the CRL site, it supports a good cause and you can find things easier with a print copy 😉 .

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

2 Comments

  1. I recently learned of these days as well. The Church has lost a lot of customs, that I personally believe, in these days of Radical Islam, need to be resurrected. If we continue to look back at local traditions and customs we might have most of the world’s problems solved with extra, more persistent prayers…

    • I agree, Jeffrey! I am committed to saying the Rosary more now. I say it daily, sometmes more than once, but may even “up the ante,” so to speak!

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