Tomorrow, Friday and Saturday constitute the Ember Days of Lent. I mentioned them last year or the one before, as a weapon in the spiritual warfare for these times. Ember Days are like mini-Lents situated four times throughout the year. The first one begins right after Ash Wednesday, perhaps as a means of ‘strengthening’ the penitent for the Lenten journey. You know how it is, Lent begins, we’re all pious and devout and intent on having the ‘best Lent ever’ and dont’cha know it, one week in and we’ve already given up what we’re giving up!
“Ember days (corruption from Lat. Quatuor Tempora, four times) are the days at the beginning of the seasons ordered by the Church as days of fast and abstinence. They were definitely arranged and prescribed for the entire Church by Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085) for the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after 13 December (S. Lucia), after Ash Wednesday, after Whitsunday, and after 14 September (Exaltation of the Cross). The purpose of their introduction, besides the general one intended by all prayer and fasting, was to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy.”
From the blog of the FSSP:
What are the dates of Ember Days? They have fluctuated throughout history. The upcoming Ember Days of Lent were not originally linked to the first week of Lent but to the first week in March. Francis Mershman in the Catholic Encyclopedia (1908) affirms: “They were definitely arranged and prescribed for the entire Church by Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085) for the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after 13 December (S. Lucia), after Ash Wednesday, after Whitsunday, and after 14 September (Exaltation of the Cross).” This was expressed in the old English rhyme:
Fasting days and Emberings be
Lent, Whitsun, Holyrood, and Lucie.
Or even a shorter mnemonic: Lenty, Penty, Crucy, Lucy.
Courtesy: FSSP Missive: Ember Days of Lent
The next Ember Days are the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday after Pentecost.
I hope your Lent is going well; unlike some years, I will not be blogging daily. I do hope you are using a nice Catholic daily devotional to help you with Lent. If not, frequent meditations on the Passion of Christ are always fruitful. Stations of the Cross booklets are alway great to use, including mine! Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics.
Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics" and "The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts" (Thank you!!)