On the Catholic Priesthood

Wednesday September 18, 2019

Ember Days: Fall Wednesday Sept. 18

Let us, therefore, revive Embers days!
Let us again pray, fast, and abstain for more faithful priests!


  "The Observance of ember-days is of great antiquity in the Church. Their connection with the ordination of the ministers of religion renders them particularly worthy the regard of the faithful. We cannot be too deeply impressed with the blessing granted a people, whose priests are according to Godʼs own heart. To obtain such, no humiliation should be deemed too great; no supplication should be neglected. Whilst therefore we thank God for the fruits of the earth, and humble ourselves for the sins we have committed, we should beg God to supply his Church with worthy pastors."
St. Vincentʼs Manual, 1854

Ember days are:

Wednesday: the day Christ was betrayed (Fast and half-abstinence)
Friday: Christ was crucified (Fast and abstinence)
and Saturday: the day Christ was entombed. (Fast and half-abstinence)

These fasts were instituted to sanctify each season of the year, and thus obtain the favors of God, especially His mercy. They were also established to obtain the blessing of the Almighty on the fruits of the land. In spring we pray for fertility; in summer, for preservation of the crops; in autumn, for a good harvest; and in winter we offer up our grateful thanksgiving for the blessings received.

  The Church, too, wishes us to pray for those who are to be ordained priests on these days, that they may obtain the graces necessary to fulfill all their obligations, and the virtues that adorn their sacred calling. “And when they had ordained for them priests in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, in Whom they believed.” (Acts xiv.22.)

  As alms generally accompany fasting and prayer, a donation toward the education of priests for the foreign mission would be in keeping with the spirit of the Church on these occasions. We ought also to pray for vocations, especially for the foreign missions. “The harvest is great, but the laborers few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He send laborers into the vineyard.” (Matt. ix. 37,38.).

  These days should also remind us of asking ourselves how we stand with regard to God. If there be anything troubling our conscience, we ought to set it right, and then make good resolutions for the coming quarter. Thus, keeping ourselves always ready for the final summons, death will be disarmed of its terrors, and the close of life will be marked with a beautiful serenity.

“And grant us, while by fasts we strive
This mortal body to control,
To fast from all the food of ins,
And so to purify the soul.”

Source: Curé d'Ars Prayer Group

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