September 18, 2018
On Wednesday, Friday and Saturday of this week, we commemorate the autumn Ember Days. The Ember Days take place four times a year near the commencement of the four seasons: on the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday following Ash Wednesday, and on the same days following Pentecost, the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on September 14th, and the feast of St. Lucy on December 13th. Observed in Rome at least as far back as the 3rd century, the practice of the Ember Days aims to offer thanks to God for the gifts of Creation, to ask for His grace in using them in moderation and to assist the needy.
The days consist of prayer along with fast and abstinence or other forms of penance. The September Days come at a fortuitous time, when a great deal of reparation and penance are necessary to remedy the ills in the Church. Moreover, the Ember Days were often a time on which ordinations took place, so they are a good occasion to pray for priests. Although all penances and extra prayers on the Ember Days are voluntary, let us join in as we are able and to pray for the Church and her ministers.
Convertére, Dómine, aliquántulum, et deprecáre super servos tuos. Dómine, refúgium factus es nobis, a generatiónes et progénie.
Return, O Lord, a little, and be entreated in favor of Thy servants. Lord, Thou hast been our refuge, from generation to generation.
– the Gradual on Ember Friday and after the Third Lesson on Ember Saturday