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Blog Post - September 25th

Ember Days of Autumn| Daily Meditation| Quote by S. Padre Pio| Divine Mercy Reflection

The Ember Days - Days of Fasting, Prayer and Thanksgiving within the Four Seasons

All the days of the earth, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, night and day, shall not cease. Genesis 8:22

The Ember Days

From The Golden Legend, Volume 1; compiled by Jacobus de Voragine (1230-1299), Archbishop of Genoa, 1275

The fasting of the Quatretemps, called in English Ember days, the Pope Calixtus ordained them. And this fast is kept four times in the year, and for divers reasons. For the first time, which is in March, is hot and moist. The second, in summer, is hot and dry. The third, in harvest, is cold and dry. The fourth in winter is cold and moist. Then let us fast in March which is printemps for to repress the heat of the flesh boiling, and to quench luxury or to temper it. In summer we ought to fast to the end that we chastise the burning and ardour of avarice. In harvest for to repress the drought of pride, and in winter for to chastise the coldness of untruth and of malice.

The second reason why we fast four times; for these fastings here begin in March in the first week of the Lent, to the end that vices wax dry in us, for they may not all be quenched; or because that we cast them away, and the boughs and herbs of virtues may grow in us. And in summer also, in the Whitsun week, for then cometh the Holy Ghost, and therefore we ought to be fervent and esprised in the love of the Holy Ghost. They be fasted also in September tofore Michaelmas, and these be the third fastings, because that in this time the fruits be gathered and we should render to God the fruits of good works. In December they be also, and they be the fourth fastings, and in this time the herbs die, and we ought to be mortified to the world.

The third reason is for to ensue the Jews. For the Jews fasted four times in the year, that is to wit, tofore Easter, tofore Whitsunside, tofore the setting of the tabernacle in the temple in September, and tofore the dedication of the temple in December.

The fourth reason is because the man is composed of four elements touching the body, and of three virtues or powers in his soul: that is to wit, the understanding, the will, and the mind. To this then that this fasting may attemper in us four times in the year, at each time we fast three days, to the end that the number of four may be reported to the body, and the number of three to the soul. These be the reasons of Master [John] Beleth.

The fifth reason, as saith John Damascenus: in March and in printemps the blood groweth and augmenteth, and in summer coler, in September melancholy, and in winter phlegm. Then we fast in March for to attemper and depress the blood of concupiscence disordinate, for sanguine of his nature is full of fleshly concupiscence. In summer we fast because that coler should be lessened and refrained, of which cometh wrath. And then is he full naturally of ire. In harvest we fast for to refrain melancholy. The melancholious man naturally is cold, covetous and heavy. In winter we fast for to daunt and to make feeble the phlegm of lightness and forgetting, for such is he that is phlegmatic.

The sixth reason is for the printemps is likened to the air, the summer to fire, harvest to the earth, and the winter to water. Then we fast in March to the end that the air of pride be attempered to us. In summer the fire of concupiscence and of avarice. In September the earth of coldness and of the darkness of ignorance. In winter the water of lightness and inconstancy.

The seventh reason is because that March is reported to infancy, summer to youth, September to steadfast age and virtuous, and winter to ancienty or old age. We fast then in March that we may be in the infancy of innocency. In summer for to be young by virtue and constancy. In harvest that we may be ripe by attemperance. In winter that we may be ancient and old by prudence and honest life, or at least that we may be satisfied to God of that which in these four seasons we have offended him.

The eighth reason is of Master William of Auxerre. We fast, saith he, in these four times of the year to the end that we make amends for all that we have failed in all these four times, and they be done in three days each time, to the end that we satisfy in one day that which we have failed in a month; and that which is the fourth day, that is Wednesday, is the day in which our Lord was betrayed of Judas; and the Friday because our Lord was crucified; and the Saturday because he lay in the sepulchre, and the apostles were sore of heart and in great sorrow.

Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3: 1-8

From The Douay-Rheims Bible

[1] All things have their season, and in their times all things pass under heaven.

[2] A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.

[3] A time to kill, and a time to heal. A time to destroy, and a time to build.

[4] A time to weep, and a time to laugh. A time to mourn, and a time to dance.

[5] A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather. A time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.

[6] A time to get, and a time to lose. A time to keep, and a time to cast away.

[7] A time to rend, and a time to sew. A time to keep silence, and a time to speak.

[8] A time of love, and a time of hatred. A time of war, and a time of peace.

Daily Meditation

Be Watchful:

Vigilant faith…not only observes what is necessary for salvation, but it seeks out, it embraces and practices faithfully everything that can bring it closer to God. —St. Francis de Sales

Quote by S. Padre Pio

Take heart and be sure that God is with you. Do not wait for (Mount) Tabor in order to see God. You are already contemplating Him on (Mount) Sinai without realizing it.

Divine Mercy Reflection

Reflections on Notebook Five: 263-326

As we begin Notebook Five, Saint Faustina’s understanding of the Mercy of God should be more alive to you. Hopefully you have a deeper understanding of the infinite love of God and His burning desire to embrace you, free you from the burden of sin, and shower you with His grace.

It should also be clear that God is silent at times so as to strengthen you, purify you and deepen your trust in Him. God’s wisdom and His ways are beyond what we could ever imagine. He is perfect in His love and you must have full confidence in the direction He gives to your life.

As we enter into this notebook, try to believe and live all that you have read so far. It’s one thing to believe it intellectually, it’s quite another thing to believe it with your actions. You must believe in the Mercy of God with your actions. You must let all that you have read take hold of you and direct the way you live. One way to do this is to go back to any reflections that have stood out so far. If something has stood out, be it a particular reflection or a general theme, pay attention to that. The Message of Mercy is broad and all encompassing, but it’s also particular to you. Let the Lord speak directly to you revealing the specific truths that you need to embrace the most.

Reflection 268: Pondering Death

Perhaps thinking about your death is frightening. It may not be something that you actually consider very often. But it is a grace to be able to look at one’s death directly and with full confidence. And this is only possible to do with full confidence if your life is in order and given completely to God. If you can honestly look into your soul and see that you have made holiness your ultimate goal, then you can also look directly at death with peace and calm. What is there to fear in that case? What is there to fear if you have dealt with the sin and regrets you have? There is nothing to fear in this case. Death, to the holy soul, is a reward and a journey to look forward to with delight and anticipation (See Diary #1343).

Try to do this simple exercise today of imagining this as being your last day on Earth. Perhaps you immediately think about family or other tasks that you need to complete first to prepare. Or perhaps you are filled with fear because you are aware of your sin. First, try to set aside the practical tasks that would be left unfinished and even try to set aside your concern for your family and friends. Though these are good and holy concerns, it is helpful to look at death only in regard to the condition of your soul. If you were to die today, would you be able to look at the merciful Heart of our Lord and tell Him, honestly, that you die with Him as your greatest love? Could you say to Him that His Will is your primary goal in life? If not, reflect upon any obstacle you see and use this meditation to take an honest inventory of your life.

Lord, I know that Heaven must be my goal and my focus in life. Help me to put my eyes upon You and all that awaits. Help me to also look honestly at the condition of my soul and to identify any obstacle in the way of my holiness. I love You, dear Lord, help me to make You the central focus of my life. Jesus, I trust in You.

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