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Ember Saturday of Advent

Ember Saturday of Advent

Sabbato 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 Saturday was traditionally an important day for priestly ordinations, and like Ember Wednesday would be a day of fasting and partial 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, thus taking part in the living, breathing, and praying of the timeless Body of Christ throughout the centuries.

 

Traditional Roman Martyrology for December 23rd

AT Rome, the holy virgin Victoria, a martyr, in the persecution of the emperor Decius. She had been promised in marriage to a pagan named Eugene, but because she refused to marry him and to offer sacrifice to idols, and because by working many miracles, she brought many virgins to the service of God, she was, at the request of her betrothed, stabbed in the heart with a sword by the executioner.

At Nicomedia, the birthday of twenty holy martyrs, whom the persecution of Diocletian made martyrs for the faith of Christ, after subjecting them to the most painful torments.

In the same place, the Saints Migdonius and Mardonius; one of whom was burned alive in the same persecution, and the other died in a pit into which he had been thrown. A deacon of St. Anthimus, bishop of Nicomedia, suffered at the same time. He was arrested by the Gentiles when carrying letters to the martyrs, and being overwhelmed with stones, went to our Lord.

In Crete, the holy martyrs Theodulus, Saturninus, Euporus, Gelasius, Eunician, Zeticus, Cleomenes, Agathopus, Gelasius, and Evaristus, who were beheaded, after suffering cruel torments, in the persecution of Decius.

At Rome, blessed Servulus, of whom St. Gregory writes, that a paralytic from his early years to the end of his life, he remained lying in a porch near St. Clement’s Church, and being invited by the chant of angels, he went to enjoy the
glory of Paradise. At his tomb, frequent miracles are wrought by Almighty God.

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

℟. Thanks be to God.

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