December 17, 2018
This week contains the Advent Ember Days, which always fall on the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday of the third week of Advent. The Ember Days take place four times a year, the other occasions being the weeks after Ash Wednesday and Pentecost and the third week of September. The purpose of the Days is to thank God for the gifts of Creation, to ask His help in using them with wisdom and moderation, and to assist those in need, and they are observed by fasting and prayer in addition to the particular liturgies the Church assigns them.
While not obligatory, the Ember Days are a holy practice, of great benefit to the Church and to us, and they constitute a solid preparation for the coming of Our Lord. We therefore encourage you to participate in whatever way you are able.
In diébus illis: Clamábunt ad Dóminum a fácie tribulántis, et mittet eis salvatórem, et propugnatórem, qui líberet eos.
In those days they shall cry to the Lord because of the oppressor, and He shall send them a Savior and a defender to deliver them.
– Isaiah 19:20, from the first Lesson of Ember Saturday in Advent
This past Saturday, many parishes celebrated the candlelit Rorate Mass, a beautiful Advent tradition in honor of Our Lady which takes place early in the morning. The Rorate Mass and that of Ember Wednesday have much in common, including the Introit, which speaks of the Light Who is soon to come into the world.
Roráte, cœli, désuper, et nubes pluant justum: aperiátur terra, et gérminet Salvatórem.
Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just: let the earth be opened and bud forth a Savior.