But just the same as last time, I got up this morning and found a post-it note stuck to the microwave, left by husband:
Observing the Ember Days:
Wednesday and Saturday ember days: fasting, with two smaller meals and one normal sized meal, like a Friday in Lent, but meat allowed at one meal only.
Friday ember days: just like a Friday in Lent, with two smaller meals and one normal sized meal, and no meat.There's a Latin saying that helps us remember when the ember days fall, but I'm pretty sure my version is not quite right. Latin endings are probably botched. If you know it, please let me know.
Post crucem, post lucem, post cinis, post ignem.
Post crucem: after the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
Post lucem: after the feast of St. Lucy
Post cinis: after Ash Wednesday
Post ignem: after Pentecost
More here from the St. John Cantius website.
From the Catholic Encyclopedia:
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. [Click on link at top for more.]From Wikipedia:
In the liturgical calendar of the Western Christian churches, Ember days are four separate sets of three days within the same week—specifically, the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday—roughly equidistant in the circuit of the year, that were formerly set aside for fasting and prayer. These days set apart for special prayer and fasting were considered especially suitable for the ordination of clergy. The Ember Days were known in the medieval church as quatuor tempora (the "four seasons"), or jejunia quatuor temporum ("fasts of the four seasons").
The Ember Weeks—the weeks in which the Ember Days occur—are the week between the third and fourth Sundays of Advent, between the first and second Sundays of Lent, the week between Pentecost and Trinity Sunday, and the calendar week after Holy Cross Day (September 14) (the liturgical Third Week of September).
Prior to the reforms instituted by the Second Vatican Council, the Roman Catholic Church mandated fasting (only one full meal per day plus two partial, meatless meals) on all Ember Days (which meant both fasting and abstinence from meat on Ember Fridays), and the faithful were encouraged (though not required) to receive the sacrament of penance whenever possible. On February 17, 1966, Pope Paul VI's decree Paenitemini excluded the Ember Days as days of fast and abstinence for Roman Catholics.
The revision of the liturgical calendar in 1969 laid down the following rules for Ember Days and Rogation days:
In order to adapt the rogation and ember days to various regions and the different needs of the people, the conferences of bishops should arrange the time and plan of their celebration.Consequently, the competent authority should lay down norms, in view of local conditions, on extending such celebrations over one or several days and on repeating them during the year.On each day of these celebrations the Mass should be one of the votive Masses for various needs and occasions that is best suited to the intentions of the petitioners.
They may appear in some calendars as "days of prayer for peace."