14 March 2011

Reminder: Spring Ember Days

fall this week on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.  You can read more on the Ember Days in your Treasury of Daily Prayer, p. 21.  What?  You don't HAVE a copy of the Treasury?  Well, Lent is a great time to get one for you and each member of the family to encourage faithful and regular Bible reading, prayer, and meditation.  Cannot recommend it highly enough.  You can buy one here.


Pastor Hemmer said...

How does the fast change on Lenten Ember days?

William Weedon said...

You know, Pr. Hemmer, I can't for the life of me figure out how they'd be observed differently if one were already observing a daily Lenten fast. If one weren't observing the Lenten fast each day but only on select days, say Fridays, it would obviously extend to the Wednesday and Saturday. Any others have thoughts on that?

Dcn. Muehlenbruch said...

The Ember Days have always been observed as times when Holy Orders were conferred. Historically, fasting and vigil were a part of the preparation of the candidates upon whom orders were to be conferred.

It was also the custom that Vigils were (are) to be celebrated (observed) wearing violet vestments. From this we may conclude that they were also observed as a time of fasting, no matter in which quarter of the year during which they occurred.

Jesse said...

This might be a silly question and a little off topic here but I purchased a copy of Starck's Prayer Book a few weeks ago. Do you have any tips on how laypeople can get the most out of it?

Thank you.

William Weedon said...


The key to successful use of Starck's is small chunks. I'd suggest using it once a day - either at morning or at evening prayer (the daily prayers). Maybe offering the seasonal prayer (Lent right now) once a week. Also using one of the precommunion prayers before coming to the Sacrament. It takes a while to learn the riches in the book, and it can be overwhelming at first. Ease into it. Savor, rather than attempt to swallow down too much at first. I hope that makes some sense.

Past Elder said...

Ember Days are fast days. That means only one full meal a day, and two partial meals with no meat. On Friday, Lent or not, abstinence from meat is also observed, as prior to Vatican II this was year round.

The connexion with ordination is ancient but not original to Ember Days. They are an adaptation of the feriae of pagan Rome, and have no Eastern church counterpart. Those were three in number, and a fourth was added to complete a set of one for each season. Both the fourth feria and the association with ordination comes from Pope Gelasius (492-496).

Since our worship has adapted the form of the novus ordo so widely in recent times, maybe we should also note that Ember Days were abolished as days of fast or abstinence in 1966 by Paul VI.

Btw, the old Embers restaurant chain is gone too, whose slogan was "Remember the Embers"