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REMINDER: Lenten Ember Days start TODAY, Wed. March 12 March 12, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Basics, Christendom, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Latin Mass, Liturgical Year, mortification, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.

The Ember Days associated with Lent start today.  All three days (Wed, Fri, Sat) are days of partial fast and partial abstinence, with Ember Friday being a day of full abstinence and partial fast.

A partial fast means you can eat one full meal, and two smaller meals that don’t equal the full meal.  A day of partial abstinence means you can eat meat at the main meal, but not at the other meals.

You can play around with the details as you see fit, provided you meet these minimum requirements. If you are strong into mortification, you might make all three days days of total abstinence, or  you might only eat one meal.  It’s whatever you feel you can do without endangering your health.

From Dom Prosper Gueranger’s Liturgical Year, a little more about the Lenten Ember Days:

The fast of today is prescribed by a double law: it is Lent, and it is Ember Wednesday. It is the same with the Friday gregory7-4and Saturday of this week.  There are two principal objects for the Ember days of this period of the year: the first is to offer up to God the season of spring, and, by fasting and prayer, to draw down His blessing upon it; the second is, to ask Him to enrich with His choicest graces the priests and sacred ministers who are to receive their Ordination this Saturday.  Let us, therefore, have a great respect for these three days; and let those who violate, upon them, the laws of fasting or abstinence, know that they commit a twofold sin. [A few things – Dom Gueranger refers to the law in effect at his time, roughly 1860s-70s.  The Ember Day fasts are no longer binding on conscience (but highly recommended).  I’m also not certain whether ordinations still occur on this First Saturday in Lent.]

Up to the eleventh century, the Ember Days of spring were kept in the first week of March; and those of summer, in the second week of June. It was St. Gregory VII who fixed them as we now have them; that is, the Ember Days of spring in the first week of Lent, and those of summer in Whitsunweek…….

[Here begins an exposition on the Lessons from the Mass of Wednesday in Ember Week]….Moses moses-from-mt-sinai-radiant2and Elias fast for forty days and forty nights, because God bids them to come near to Him. Man must purify himself, he must unburden himself, in some measure at least, of the body which weighs with Him who is the Spirit. And yet the vision of God granted to these two holy personages was very imperfect; they felt that God was near them, but they beheld not His Glory.  But when the fullness of time came, God manifested Himself in the flesh: and man saw, and heard, and touched Him. We, indeed, are not of the number of those favored ones who lived with Jesus, the Word of Life: but in the Holy Eucharist He allows us to do more than see Him: HE enters into our breasts, He is our Food. The humblest member of the Church possesses God more fully than either Moses on Sinai, or Elias on Horeb.  We cannot, therefore, be surprised that the Church, in order to fit us for this favor at the Easter solemnity, bids us go through a preparation of forty days, though its severity is not to be compared with the rigid fast which Moses and Elias had to observe as the condition of receiving what God promised them.

sinai peq





1. Lynne - March 12, 2014

I totally forgot! Thank you so much… This set always surprises me and I don’t know why, they’re always the week after Ash Wednesday, right?

skeinster - March 12, 2014

Yes! Saw this in the missal Monday night, and then promptly forgot it.
So thanks, as well.

tantamergo - March 12, 2014

Yes, first full week of Lent, or first “official” week.

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