Sunday, December 11, 2011

Yverybody Ymber!

The 1962 Roman Missal* says this about "ember days":
At the beginning of the four seasons of the Ecclesiastical Year, the Ember Days have been instituted by the Church to thank God for blessings obtained during the past year and to implore further graces for the new season. Their importance in the Church was formerly very great. They are fixed on the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday: after the First Sunday of Lent for Spring, after Whitsunday for Summer, after the Feast of the Elevation of the Cross (14th September) for Autumn, and after the Third Sunday of Advent for Winter. They are intended also to consecrate to God the various seasons in nature, and to prepare by penance those who are about to be ordained. Ordinations generally take place on the Ember Days. The faithful ought to pray on these days for good priests. The Ember Days were once fast days of obligation.

The three days are special to Christians: Wednesdays commemorate the day Jesus was betrayed, Fridays are remembered as the day of his Crucifixion and Death and Saturdays are to remind us of his being in the tomb. Each, as you can see, has a somber meaning. As the definition above says, there are two reasons for Ember Days:

"Oh thank goodness Jesus is here. We were waiting for that chalice!"
1. Consecrate to God the various seasons in nature: The word "ember" comes from the Middle English "ymber" which means "circuit". The sun's circuit around the earth brings about changes in nature ("seasons"). The ember days are placed close to the changing of the seasons. Like this week, we have the Ember Days for winter and winter begins next week. Soooo close!

2. Prepare by penance those who are about to be ordained: Not much of this is practiced anymore. When I was ordained I don't remember much of a penitential time unless helping my dad pave a walkway so the guests could make it the post-ordination party on the patio is a penance.

However, there is something that is still very much needed: THE FAITHFUL OUGHT TO PRAY ON THESE DAYS FOR GOOD  PRIESTS. We need not only those who can do the mechanics of ministry but good PASTORS.

So, maybe as an Ember Week penance, pull out the rosary or take a few moments of your day to pray.
1. Pray for our Seminarians.
2. Pray for our Directors of Seminarians and Vocations: Frs. Anthony Qyuet, Matthew Simmons and Lenin Vargas
3. Pray for our bishop to encourage men to serve as diocesan priests.
4. Pray for those of us who are already priests to be good ones! Some of you may even pray that I can be gooder!

*still valid theology..and pretty good too!