Ember Days: fasting and abstinence

As a spiritual response to the sex abuse scandal, many Bishops are calling for the observance of an old tradional Catholic practice known as “Ember Days.” In this time of spiritual warfare, I urge you to heed their call.

From the Catholic Encyclopedia on New Advent:
“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.”

This year they are September 19, 21, 22. When they arrive on the calendar again in December, God willing I will post about them.

You can fast and abstain from food (dietary and medical needs permitting) in a manner similar to your Lenten practices, or you can fast and abstain from certain things. Perhaps spend the day not watching secular television, or refraining from Internet use. The opportunities and choices are numerous. Don’t forget to offer up to God prayers of gratitude for His blessings.

Fasting and abstinence strengthens us for the Battle.

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!!)


  1. Your posts on spiritual warfare tell just what we need to do in these difficult times.. Thanks for reminding us.

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