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Ember Friday of Advent

Ember Friday of Advent

Feria VI Quattuor Temporum in Adventu

Four times a year, once in each season, the Church traditionally sets aside a Wednesday, a Friday and a Saturday as days of penance, to consecrate each season to God. These days are called the Ember Days, from the Latin Quatuor Tempora, meaning “four times”. Ember Week of Advent, which also always follows St. Lucy’s Day, begins on the Wednesday after Gaudete Sunday—the Third Sunday of Advent—and begs for God’s blessing upon the season of winter. This winter Embertide punctuates the preparatory season of Advent, emphasizing penance during the final anticipatory days before the great feast of Our Lord’s Nativity and the joyous season of Christmastide that follows.

Ember Friday would traditionally be a day of fasting and total abstinence from meat. St. Leo the Great, like others, emphasizes also the importance of almsgiving, saying “Let the abstinence of him that fasts, become the meal of the poor man.” Though only the current code of the Church is binding today, it is certainly of great spiritual benefit to voluntarily unite oneself with the ancient practices of the Church in at least some small way, imitating the many known and unknown saints of times past. In this way, one takes greater part in the living, breathing, and praying of the timeless Body of Christ throughout the centuries.


Traditional Roman Martyrology for December 22nd

AT Rome, between the two bay-trees on the Lavican road, the birthday of thirty holy martyrs, who were all on one day crowned with martyrdom, in the persecution of Diocletian.

In the same city, St. Flavian, ex-prefect, who, under Julian the Apostate, was condemned to be branded for Christ, and banished to Aquae Taurinae, where he gave up his soul to God in prayer.

At Ostia, the holy martyrs Demetrius, Honoratus and Florus.

At Alexandria, the holy martyr Ischyrion. Because he despised all the cruelties they made him suffer to force him to sacrifice to idols, they transpierced his bowels with a sharp-pointed stake, and thus put him to death.

In Egypt, the Saint Chaeremon, bishop of Nilopolis, and many other martyrs. Some of them fled whilst the persecution of Decius was raging, and wandering in different directions through deserts, were killed by wild beasts; others perished by famine, cold and sickness; others again were murdered by barbarians and robbers, and thus all were crowned with a glorious martyrdom.

At Nicomedia, St. Zeno, soldier, who derided Diocletian for sacrificing to Ceres, wherefore he had his jawbones fractured, his teeth plucked out and his head struck off.

℣. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

℟. Thanks be to God.

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