Meditations for Each Day of Lent by Saint Thomas Aquinas – Monday after the Second Sunday of Lent

2 March 2015

2 March 2015 Anno Domini

From the website, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Santi de Tito 1593

by St. Thomas Aquinas

Monday after the Second Sunday of Lent

It was fitting that our Lord should suffer at the hands of the Gentiles

They shall deliver Him to the Gentiles to be mocked., and scourged and crucified.–Matt. xx. 19.

In the very manner of the Passion of Our Lord its effects are foreshadowed. In the first place, the Passion of Our Lord had for its effect the salvation of Jews, many of whom were baptised in His death.

Secondly, by the preaching of these Jews, the effects of the Passion passed to the Gentiles also. There was thus a certain fitness in Our Lord’s Passion beginning with the Jews and then, the Jews handing Him on, that it should be completed at the hands of the Gentiles.

To show the abundance of the love which moved Him to suffer, Christ, on the very cross, asked mercy for His tormentors. And since He wished that Jew and Gentile alike should realise this truth about His love, so He wished that both should have a share in making Him suffer.

It was the Jews and not the Gentiles who offered the figurative sacrifices of the Old Law. The Passion of Christ was an offering through sacrifice, inasmuch as Christ underwent death by His own will moved by charity. But in so far as those who put him to death were concerned, they were not offering a sacrifice but committing a sin.

When the Jews declared, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death (John xix. 31), they may have had many things in mind. It was not lawful for them to put anyone to death on account of the holiness of the feast they had begun to keep. Perhaps they wished Christ to be killed not as a transgressor of their own law but as an enemy of the state, because He had made Himself a king, a charge concerning which they had no jurisdiction. Or again, they may have meant that they had no power to crucify which was what they longed for but only to stone, as they later stoned St. Stephen. Or, the most likely thing of all, that their Roman conquerors had taken away their power of life and death.

Meditations for Each Day of Lent by Saint Thomas Aquinas – Second Sunday of Lent

1 March 2015

1 March 2015 Anno Domini
Second Sunday in Lent

From the website, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Santi de Tito 1593

by St. Thomas Aquinas

Second Sunday of Lent

God the Father Delivered Christ to His Passion

God spared not even His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all.–Rom. viii. 32.

Christ suffered willingly, moved by obedience to His Father. Wherefore, God the Father delivered Christ to His Passion, and this in three ways:

1. Because the Father, of His eternal will, preordained the Passion of Christ as the means whereby to free the human race. So it is said in Isaias, The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isa. liii. 6), and again, The Lord was pleased to bruise Him in infirmity (ibid. liii. 10).

2. Because He inspired Our Lord with the willingness to suffer for us, pouring into His soul the love which produced the will to suffer. Whence the prophet goes on to say, He was offered because it was His own will (Isa. liii. 7).

3. Because He did not protect Our Lord from the Passion, but exposed him to his persecutors. Whence we read in St. Matthew’s Gospel, that as He hung on the cross Christ said, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken met (Matt, xxvii. 46). For God the Father, that is to say, had left him at the mercy of His torturers.

To hand over an innocent man to suffering and to death, against His will, compelling him to die as it were, would indeed be cruel and wicked. But it was not in this way that God the Father handed over Christ. He handed over Christ by inspiring Him with the will to suffer for us. By so doing the severity of God is made clear to us, that no sin is forgiven without punishment undergone, which St. Paul again teaches when he says, God spared not his own Son. At the same time God’s goodheartedness is shown in the fact that whereas man could not, no matter what his punishment, sufficiently make satisfaction, God has given man someone who can make that satisfaction for him. Which is what St. Paul means by, He delivered Him up for us all, and again when he says, God hath proposed Christ to be a propitiation, through faith in His blood (Rom. iii. 25). The same activity in a good man and in a bad man is differently judged inasmuch as the root from which it proceeds is different. The Father, for example, delivered over Christ and Christ delivered himself, and this from love, and therefore They are praised. Judas delivered Him from love of gain, the Jews from hatred, Pilate from the worldly fear with which he feared Caesar, and these are rightly regarded with horror. Christ therefore did not owe to death the debt of necessity, but of charity–the charity to men by which He willed their salvation, and the charity to God by which He willed to fulfil God’s will, as it says in the gospel, Not as I will but as Thou wilt (Matt, xx vi. 39).

Second Sunday of Lent by Fr. Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876

1 March 2015

Second Sunday of Lent
1 March 2015 A.D.

Second Sunday of Lent Weninger 01


“And His face did shine as the sun.”–Matt. 17

The Gospel read by the Church on the first Sunday of in Lent invites her children to employ this time of grace! in cleansing themselves from the stain of sin, in freeing themselves from the slavery of Satan, in overcoming temptation, in one word, in destroying sin. To day’s Gospel teaches that a true child of the Church and of Christ must not be satisfied with not offending God, nor living separated from Him in the state of mortal sin; but he must endeavor to lead a holy life, and follow Christ closely.

At the same time, the words of today’s Gospel indicate the condition necessary to walk the path of perfection, to follow Christ, and to become more and more like Him. The evangelist says: “And His face did shine as the sun.” What meaning has this in reference to our striving after perfection? I shall answer this question today.

O Mary, thou sublime woman, whom St. John in the Revelation saw clothed with the sun, beg Jesus to grant us purity of intention, that we may live and die for Him alone! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

“The face of Jesus did shine as the sun.” The expression, “as the sun, refers not only to a flood of light, which even the moon and a multitude of stars send forth; but also to certain other qualities of the sun, which our actions must figuratively copy if we desire our life to resemble that of Jesus, and to glorify God.

I will speak first of purity of intention, namely, that quality in all our actions and omissions, in all our thoughts, words, wishes, and works, which directs them at all times to the glory of God. The example of Christ speaks to us of this most forcibly. Through the Incarnation of the Son of God, the sun rose gloriously in the bosom of Mary, for, according to St. Paul, the first words of Christ in the moment of His conception were: “Behold I come to do Thy will, O God.” “I have meat to eat which you know not,” He said to the disciples when His apostolic mission was at its height. And again: “Father, not My will, but Thine be done,” was his prayer, and the outpouring of His heart on the last evening of His life.

He asks His disciples to live in imitation of Him. Whence the Apostle says: “Whatsoever you do, do all things for the glory of God.” “Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven,” thus He teaches those to pray who belong to Him, declaring all worthless that is not done according to the holy will of God, and for His glory.

We will perceive the importance and necessity of this state of mind in following Christ upon the path of Christian perfection, if we but consider the last aim and end of creation, and especially of man. For that last aim and end is no other than the outward glorification of God, through voluntary obedience to His holy will.

The light of the sun symbolizes that purity of intention expressed by the words: “All to the great glory of God,” which is the property of a truly fervent soul.

Before the sun rises, all nature is veiled in darkness, notwithstanding the presence of those large luminous worlds, the stars. Similar is the state of his soul in the service of God, who thinks only of himself, and sees nothing beyond his own desires. The spiritual life of such a man is shrouded in the darkness of night.

The sun, once above the horizon, rises ever higher and higher; and, by the manner in which he sends out his light, seems to say: Everywhere, all over the earth, as far as my rays can pierce, I give light, all for the greater glory of God!

So it is with the Christian, who, during the day, preserves in his heart the pure intention of doing the will of God, and this only; who lives for God alone, as his last aim and end.

Unhappily, we have but few suns here below who shine like that of St. Ignatius, only to honor the Almighty, and who in all they do, desire, or suffer, seek only to glorify their God. Christians who wish to live as Christians, generally have in part this good intention. In a measure, they seek to glorify God; but, as the moon borrows her light from the sun, and shows through it her own face, so their works, made bright with the light of God’s service, frequently show that “I” which obtrudes itself in various ways.

The sun proceeds on his course; whether the sky be clear or clouded, whether the air be calm or disturbed by storm. Thus those walk upon earth who live for God alone, who see Him only in all their actions. They walk onward, never heeding the obstacle they encounter, calm alike in misery and in prosperity. How different from those who, as long as nothing stands in their way, are filled with zeal; but who, as soon as an obstacle hinders their progress, become despondent and abandon their purpose!

The light of the sun never changes, while that of the moon increases, diminishes, and, at times, disappears altogether. A soul sustained by the pure in tention of living for God alone remains ardent and steadfast, while one who acts through other motives is changeable, sometimes zealous, again thoughtless, and often even forsakes ignominiously the work which he undertook for the glory of God.

At the close of today’s Gospel the Evangelist says: “They saw no man, but only Jesus.” How few there are to all whose actions these words can be truthfully applied. They, perhaps, do look up to Jesus, and try to follow Him, and become like Him; but their eyes wander too often from Him to themselves and others. They desire, while practising works of piety, to satisfy their self-love, and to give all due respect to human considerations. Hail, to those Christians of whom it may be said: In all they do, they think of Jesus only, of being pleasing in His sight, of following, of serving Him, of becoming daily more like Him, and of possessing Him! They will be led by the spirit of prayer to Mount Tabor, and their life will be transformed into a life of such holiness that it will shine as the sun! Amen!

“And His garments became white as snow.” Matt. 17.

“Lord, cleanse me more and more,” sighed David to God. We all have cause to repeat his cry, even if we forsake the path of evil, and endeavor to walk in the footsteps of the just. Though we try to exercise ourselves in good works, we are yet far from the perfection we ought to aspire to in all our actions, especially in those of daily routine, which our vocation upon earth obliges us to perform. These we must render, like the wheat in the Gospel, worthy of being placed in the granaries of heaven, and, despite their many imperfections, strive to keep in the category, so to say, of good deeds.

We are reminded of this in today’s Gospel: “And His garments became white as snow.” The garments which clothe our soul, are the good works which we practise, according to our station in life. If each one of these were performed with the purest intention, and were free from every stain of imperfection, what an adornment they would prove to be, how they would embellish the soul, and what a gain they would be for heaven! Unfortunately this is seldom the case. There are few of our works whose brightness is untarnished by sin.

We will consider today, particularly, the stains which deface our daily works, and meditate upon the best means of avoiding and guarding against them. Mary, thou who, according to Holy Writ, standest robed in garments of gold, before the throne of the Most High, thou, purest of the pure, in thought and deed, grant that we, taught and guided by thee, may gain strength to free ourselves from every stain of imperfection and sin! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God.

St. John, speaking in the Apocalypse of the saints in heaven, says: “They were clothed in white robes.” These white garments and these shining, precious material of which they are made, says he, are righteousness and good works. This material is made up principally of our daily works. For, in order to become holy it is not necessary to perform great and astonishing outward deeds. The Almighty has not chosen or called every one for such a career; hence every one has not received the divine grace which it requires. As to those great works of which we read in the lives of the saints, they were not the means of making them what they were; it was, rather, the perfection with which they performed their daily duties which made them so rich in merit.

A friend of St. Francis de Sales used to say of this saint, that he did nothing unusual, and yet all that he did seemed unusual, on account of the perfect manner in which it was performed. And what are the stains which cling to our daily works and deface them, and often even totally destroy them, by robbing them of all merit for the life to come? They are these:

First, the stain of indolence, arising from a want of energy to rise early, and always at the same time, in order to say our morning prayers and to implore God to protect and bless us during the day. All who are indolent in rising, who begin the day slothfully and without devout, earnest prayer, stain thus early in the morning the robes of their soul.

The second stain on the robe of our daily works, is want of a pure intention to live that day only to fulfill the will of God, and to do all that we do for Him alone. We seek too much after self, and are too often actuated by the temporal motive of gaining wealth, honor, or enjoyment. This want of a pure in tention is a stain on the white garment of our daily work.

Further, this robe is soiled by an ill-regulated performance of the duties of our state of life. We act either too sluggishly or too precipitatedly, with reluctance and through habit. We enter upon our daily duties without raising our minds to God, and, during the day, forget His holy presence. Instead, we often, without reflection or precaution, seek company and dissipation, fritter away our time in idle conversation, and, of course, sully our robe with many sins of the tongue. Who can count the sins that are daily committed by piously-inclined persons through want of a proper guard over their tongues?

Another abundant source of stains on our good works is want of charity. Under this head may be classed cutting remarks, unkind accusations and reproaches, often accompanied with contemptuous and offensive bearing. Then we contract stains by omitting to labor at the instruction and improvement of others, and, in general, to perform corporal and spiritual works of mercy. There are, besides, stains of rash suspicions and judgments, and even of participation in petty backbiting and calumny. I must not forget jealousy, envy, and general narrowness.

Stains in abundance fall on our daily actions from a want of trite love for the cross. Hence comes peevishness, hence impatience, that almost tears our good deeds to tatters. This is especially the case when, through want of love for the cross, man is tempted to murmur against divine Providence, or to submit unwillingly to the decrees of the Almighty.

To these may also be added the spots which arise from obstinacy, selfishness, conceit, presumption, and the want of mortification, a virtue without which life can not be truly holy. In conclusion, the luster of our daily works is stained, and the robe of our soul discolored by our carelessness in preventing temptations from approaching us, or by our sloth in banishing them as soon as they draw nigh.

What a subject for self-examination is all I have just said to yon, my dear listener! How many imperfections, think you, blemish the record of your good works?

As St. Ignatius assures us, the means of freeing ourselves from these imperfections lie in the unremitting exercise of particular examination, or the so-called special daily examine of conscience. Resolve that, from today, you will examine earnestly and faithfully your conscience, and will choose, as subject of your examine, one after the other, all the points I have placed before you. Then the robes of your good works, gradually cleansed from all imperfection, will become more and more white, until you will shine, clothed in most radiant garments, in the community of the saints! Amen!

“Lord, it is good for us to be here; if Thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles.” Matt. 17.

We are admonished by the transfiguration of Christ upon Mount Tabor, that we who have been enlightened by the Saviour, instructed by His Word, guided and encouraged by His example, must not be satisfied with living as a man among men a purely human life. Destined, as we are, for a supernatural aim and end, we must endeavor to lead here upon earth the life of the blessed, in heaven, the life of angels, in accordance with the words of the great Apostle: “But our conversation is in heaven.” And further, we must live in this world, shrouded in the night of sin, in such a manner as to become a light to others.

If we live thus, we shall secure, even in this world, genuine happiness; and we shall be intensely happy if we make our spiritual abode in the three places which, as I conceive, figure the three tabernacles that St. Peter wished to build upon Mount Tabor. These, if we are in earnest, are here upon earth in our possession, in the sanctuary of the Church.

They are: The pulpit, the confessional the altar. In today’s sermon I shall explain the manner in which I conceive this. O Mary, thou who art first among the saints, obtain for us that we may dwell joyfully in those three places in the sanctuary of the Almighty, from which the stream of heavenly bliss flows upon the world. I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

The first tabernacle, or the first place to which I point, in the sanctuary of God, and which, if we properly dwell therein, will prompt us to say, with the Apostle: It is good for us to be here; is not the tabernacle of Moses the Christian pulpit, or meditation upon the divine Word? Christ Himself has said: “Blessed are those who hear and keep the Word of God.” And again: “Those who are; of God will hear his word.” The Gospel tells us how Mary Magdalene thirsted to hear the words of Christ, and how she forgot all else in the joy of sitting at his feet and listening to Him.

It is certainly a good sign when a Christian loves to hear the Word of God as it is expounded in the churches every Sunday and holyday; but this is not enough, and no child of the Church should be content with merely this. He should not rest until he is thoroughly instructed in all the doctrines of his faith, in the entire science of salvation, in order not only to know his faith, but to regulate his life in accordance with its precepts. He must take the truths of faith to heart, and enter into the spirit of contemplation, of true heart-felt prayer. To meditate upon the Word of God, to hold communion with Him, should be regarded as the most important occupation of our life. To hear God’s Word, as it were, from His own mouth, unites us to Him personally. Thrice blessed lot, if, as St. John of the Cross says, our life in faith through prayerful communion with God allow us, even here upon earth, to taste the joys of heaven, as did so many of the saints. The soul who experiences this may well exclaim: It is good for us to be here!

The place in the sanctuary of God which I liken unto the second tabernacle of Elias is the confessional. If a Christian is determined to walk in the path of holiness, he will, of his own free will, approach often the Sacrament of Penance. He will confess his sins, and strive to cleanse himself from the dust of daily imperfections, in order to secure for himself an abundance of actual graces, and thus increase sanctifying grace, which augments the splendor of our transfiguration into a likeness with God.

Every Christian who does this with the burning zeal of an Elias, and who is filled with the desire of making progress upon the path of perfection, will have reason to rejoice, and will feel at rest and secure, be cause his humble submission to the minister of Christ the confessor has freed him from the danger of being deceived by the wiles of Satan.

The more at rest the heart is, the surer is it to fulfill the most holy will of God, and the more courageous and determined the soul is to traverse the path that leads to heaven. She has cause to exclaim, comforted by the sight of the confessional: It is good to be here!

The third place to which I refer in the sanctuary of God is the Altar the tabernacle and shrine of Christ, where He really and personally dwells among us.

From this shrine issues the word which Christ spoke to the Samaritan woman: If thou didst know the gift of God, and who He is who speaketh to thee! The Samaritan woman did not know. We do. What exultations, therefore, should every Christian feel when he thinks of the happiness of being so near Jesus, of speaking to Him, yea, even of taking Him to his heart! There are, in this regard, three circumstances which heighten this happiness.

First. Christ is near me and with me; I can go to Him, go to the tabernacle, where He dwells, as often as I wish! O what happiness! Who does not envy Mary the happiness which was bestowed upon her, in the privilege of dwelling for thirty years under the same roof with Christ!

As children of the Church, in the quiet of the house of God, where Christ dwells in the Most Holy Sacrament, we partake of this happiness. Yes, we possess one advantage. Even Mary could not speak to Jesus as often as she liked, at all times. Jesus worked by the side of His foster-father Joseph, and at such times could not speak to His mother. Here, in the tabernacle, Jesus is ready at every moment of the day or night to listen to us, to speak to us, and to bestow graces upon us.

Christ sacrifices Himself for me upon the altar! I have the grace to assist at the sacrifice which He offered for me upon the cross! O what happiness! Especially, as the sacrifice upon the cross was offered but once, while that upon the altar is renewed as often as Mass is read. And still more, by Holy Communion I am permitted to receive Him into my heart, body and soul, as God and Man, to be transformed into Him! O what happiness!

It is by this means that I shall know Him personally, that I shall love Him; and, if this is accomplished, then I shall have, with St. Francis Xavier, St. Teresa, and all the saints, a foretaste of the infinite happiness which Christ has prepared for us in heaven.

How well for all believing Christians it would be, if they benefited by the presence of Christ, upon the altar, in the tabernacle! Where could a human being be found, be it man or woman, youth or maiden, who, visiting the Blessed Sacrament daily, hearing Mass daily, receiving Holy Communion frequently, and showing, by his gratefulness, that a love like that of St. John for Christ filled his heart, would not prove himself a Christian in the fullest sense of the term, and for whose salvation we would have no cause to fear.

Let us, therefore, resolve to benefit by these three holy places in the sanctuary of God’s Church, and we shall, with grateful hearts, exclaim to the Lord: It is good to be here! Amen!


Meditations for Each Day of Lent by Saint Thomas Aquinas – Saturday After First Sunday of Lent

28 February 2015

28 February 2015 Anno Domini
Ember Saturday in Lent

From the website, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Santi de Tito 1593

by St. Thomas Aquinas

Saturday After First Sunday of Lent

The Love of God Shown in the Passion of Christ

God commendeth His charity towards us: because when as yet we were sinners, according to the time, Christ died for us.–Rom. v. 8, 9

1. Christ died for the ungodly(ibid. 6). This is a great thing if we consider who it is that died, a great thing also if we consider on whose behalf he died. For scarce for a just man, will one die (ibid. 6), that is to say, that you will hardly find anyone who will die even to set free a man who is innocent, nay even it is said, The just perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart (Isaias lvii).

Rightly therefore does St. Paul say scarce will one die. There might perhaps be found one, some one rare person who out of superabundance of courage would be so bold as to die for a good man. But this is rare, for the simple reason that so to act is the greatest of all things. Greater love than this no man hath, says Our Lord himself, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John xv. 13).

But the like of what Christ did himself, to die for evildoers and the wicked, has never been seen. Wherefore rightly do we ask in wonderment why Christ did it.

2. If in fact it be asked why Christ died for the wicked, the answer is that God in this way commendeth His charity towards us. He shows us in this way that He loves us with a love that knows no limits, for while we were as yet sinners Christ died for us.

The very death of Christ for us shows the love of God, for it was His son whom He gave to die that satisfaction might be made for us. God so loved the world, as to give His only begotten Son (John iii. 16). And thus as the love of God the Father for us is shown in his giving us His Holy Spirit, so also is it shown in this way, by his gift of his only Son.

The Apostle says God commendeth signifying thereby that the love of God is a thing which cannot be measured. This is shown by the very fact of the matter, namely the fact that He gave His Son to die for us, and it is shown also by reason of the kind of people we are for whom He died. Christ was not stirred up to die for us by any merits of ours, when as yet we were sinners. God (who is rich in mercy) for His exceeding charity wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together in Christ (Eph. ii. 4).

3. All these things are almost too much to be believed. A work is done in your days, which no man will believe when it shall be told (Habac. i. 5). This truth that Christ died for us is so hard a truth that scarcely can our intelligence take hold of it. Nay it is a truth that our intelligence could in no way discover. And St. Paul, preaching, makes echo to Habacuc, I work a work in your days, a work which you will not believe, if any man shall tell it to you (Acts xiii 14).

So great is God’s love for us and His grace towards us, that He does more for us than we can believe or understand.

A Big Fat Thank You to Benedict XVI: It’s a Rave, Baby!

28 February 2015

Latin Mass pic

Pope Benedict XVI Visits Freiburg


Holy Father Benedict: You will always be with us! More now than ever…

Ok, so what could the raving Trad Sofia say that could better than this video??? Not a thing! For real… I’m keeping my mouth shut on this one for a change and letting this terrific video say it all.The maker of this video, posted on You Tube is RomanCatholic01

Motu Proprio Deo Gratias! from: July 7,2007 and his message was then: A thank you to His Holiness, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and a reflection of the past 40 years in the desert of liturgical abuses. Our liberation is at hand. Long live Benedict!

Thank you to RomanCatholic01…couldn’t have said it better…Hey the rest of you! Wake up and smell the incense, LOL!

Seven and a half years ago there was a celebration to beat all celebrations at my forner  (and most favorite) parish, Mater Ecclesiae, Berlin, NJ. Father Robert C. Pasley, our Pastor and Rector, had told me the previous October when I called him with the news,(found out from the ticker on Fox News of all places) that if it did happen, he promised we would party away. Well, he kept his promise and on July 7, 2007 Mater Ecclesiae had a Solemn High Mass according to the newly named “Extraordinary Form”. The Church was packed with priests, seminarians and lots of laypeople (mostly young) ready to praise God in His glory for this miracle. Forty years wandering through the desert we made sure the Te Deum was chanted in perfect style as a thanksgiving for a job well done.

The champagne, sparkling cider, cigars, cake and goodies were brought out after Mass and many a cassock was to be seen kicking up its heels. What a day!! Well, we are growing stronger week by week at Mater Ecclesiae. It is truly a 21st century Parish with a timeless liturgy…just what our Holy Father wants. Sooooo, if you are near Philly or come to the Jersey Shore, please drop in and visit a “model Parish with a model Pastor”.

Check out: Welcome one and all..oh by the way, we are the real thing at M.E. ;) AMDG, Sofia PS. As Father Pasley says, “The Pope’s (Benedict XVI) right! IT IS EXTRAORDINARY”, but then we knew that…I’m just sayin’…

Meditations for Each Day of Lent by Saint Thomas Aquinas – Friday After First Sunday of Lent

27 February 2015

27 February 2015 Anno Domini
Ember Friday in Lent

From the website, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Santi de Tito 1593

by St. Thomas Aquinas

Friday After First Sunday of Lent

The Feast of the Holy Lance and the Nails of Our Lord

One of the soldiers with a spear opened His side, and immediately there came out blood and water.–John xix. 34.

1. The Gospel deliberately says opened and not wounded, because through Our Lord’s side there was opened to us the gate of eternal life. After these things I looked, and behold a gate was opened in heaven (Apoc. iv. i). This is the door opened in the ark, through which enter the animals who will not perish in the flood.

2. But this door is the cause of our salvation. Immediately there came forth blood and water a thing truly miraculous, that, from a dead body, in which the blood congeals, blood should come forth.

This was done to show that by the Passion of Christ we receive a full absolution, an absolution from every sin and every stain. We receive this absolution from sin through that blood which is the price of our redemption. You were not redeemed with corruptible things as gold or silver, from your vain conversation with the tradition of your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled (i Pet. i. 18).

We were absolved from every stain by the water, which is the laver of our redemption. In the prophet Ezechiel it is said, I will pour upon you clean water, and you shall be cleaned from all your filthiness (Ezech. xxxvi. 28), and in Zacharias, There shall be a fountain open to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for the washing of the sinner and the unclean woman (Zach. xiii. i).

And so these two things may be thought of in relation to two of the sacraments, the water to baptism and the blood to the Holy Eucharist. Or both may be referred to the Holy Eucharist since, in the Mass, water is mixed with the wine. Although the water is not of the substance of the sacrament.

Again, as from the side of Christ asleep in death on the cross there flowed that blood and water in which the Church is consecrated, so from the side of the sleeping Adam was formed the first woman, who herself foreshadowed the Church.

From Our Lenten Recipe Box for Fridays – Falafel Pita Sandwiches

26 February 2015

Every Thursday during Lent we will be publishing a meatless recipe to help with your Lenten abstinence.

falafel 8

Recipe and Photography by Archita Patel
Makes 14-15 falafels

Dried Chickpeas (a.k.a. Dried Garbanzo beans) – 1cup
Onion – ½ of a medium, roughly diced
Garlic Cloves – 4-5 medium, roughly chopped
Flat leaf Parsley – ¼ cup, packed
Mint – 2 Tbsp, packed
Cilantro/Corriander leaves – 2 Tbsp packed
Corriander powder – 1 ¼ tsp
Roasted Cumin powder – 1 tsp
Red Chili flakes – ½ tsp or else Cayenne powder – ¼ tsp – don’t use if do not desire a little spicy
Black Pepper – ¼ tsp
Salt – ½ Tbsp
Baking powder – ½ tsp

Previous Night: Cover the chickpeas with hot tap water and soak them for 12-24 hours. Remember to use a large enough container because the chickpeas will increase in size.

falafel 14Next Day:
1. Rinse the soaked chickpeas/garbanzo beans and set them aside to drain.
2. Use a food processor to coarsely grind the chickpeas, onion, garlic, herbs, spices, salt and baking powder. You can add a small amount of water to help the blade move along. If you have a small food processor, do it in batches. All the ingredients should be well incorporated, turning them into breadcrumb consistency don’t make it into a paste. Place the mixture in the refrigerator for an hour so that it can firm up
3. Later, form 1 inch balls. Place them on a large sheet and refrigerator for 15-20 minutes. In the mean time, line a plate with paper towel and set aside. Also, start heating the oil to 350ºF. The oil should be about an inch to inch and a half deep. You want to make sure that when you fry the falafels they completely submerge in the oil.
4. Gently fry the falafels, until they are golden brown on all sides 3-5 minutes. Place them on the paper towel.
5. You can either make a salad or a pita sandwich. I generally stuff them into pita pockets with lettuce, tomato, onions, hummus and cucumber yogurt sauce.

Meditations for Each Day of Lent by Saint Thomas Aquinas – Thursday After First Sunday of Lent

26 February 2015

26 February 2015 Anno Domini

From the website, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Santi de Tito 1593

by St. Thomas Aquinas

Thursday After First Sunday of Lent

Christ was crucified between the thieves because such was the will of the Jews, and also because this was part of God’s design. But the reasons why this was appointed were not the same in each of these cases.

1. As far as the Jews were concerned Our Lord was crucified with the thieves on either side to encourage the suspicion that he too was a criminal. But it fell out otherwise. The thieves themselves have left not a trace in the remembrance of man, while His cross is everywhere held in honour. Kings laying aside their crowns have broidered the cross on their royal robes. They have placed it on their crowns; on their arms. It has its place on the very altars. Everywhere, throughout the world, we behold the splendour of the cross.

In God’s plan Christ was crucified with the thieves in order that, as for our sakes he became accursed of the cross, so, for our salvation, He is crucified like an evil thing among evil things.

2. The Pope, St. Leo the Great, says that the thieves were crucified, one on either side of Him, so that in the very appearance of the scene of His suffering there might be set forth that distinction which should be made in the judgment of each one of us. St. Augustine has the same thought. “The cross itself,” he says, ” was a tribunal. In the centre was the judge. To the one side a man who believed and was set free, to the other side a scoffer and he was condemned.” Already there was made clear the final fate of the living and the dead, the one class placed at His right, the other on His left.

3. According to St. Hilary the two thieves, placed to right and to left, typify that the whole of mankind is called to the mystery of Our Lord’s Passion. And since division of things according to right and left is made with reference to believers and those who will not believe, one of the two, placed on the right, is saved by justifying faith.

4. As St. Bede says, the thieves who were crucified with Our Lord, represent those who for the faith and to confess Christ undergo the agony of martyrdom or the severe discipline of a more perfect life. Those who do this for the sake of eternal glory are typified by the thief on the right hand. Those whose motive is the admiration of whoever beholds them imitate the spirit and the act of the thief on the left-hand side.

As Christ owed no debt in payment for which a man must die, but submitted to death of His own will, in order to overcome death, so also He had not done anything on account of which He deserved to be put with the thieves. But of His own will He chose to be reckoned among the wicked, that by His power He might destroy wickedness itself. Which is why St. John Chrysostom says that to convert the thief on the cross and to turn him to Paradise was as great a miracle as the earthquake.

Meditations for Each Day of Lent by Saint Thomas Aquinas – Wednesday After First Sunday of Lent

25 February 2015

25 February 2015 Anno Domini
Ember Wednesday in Lent

From the website, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Santi de Tito 1593

by St. Thomas Aquinas

Wednesday After First Sunday of Lent

How Great was the Sorrow of Our Lord in His Passion?

Attend and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow. Lam. i. 12.

Our Lord as He suffered felt really, and in His senses, that pain which is caused by some harmful bodily thing. He also felt that interior pain which is caused by the fear of something harmful and which we call sadness. In both these respects the pain suffered by Our Lord was the greatest pain possible in this present life. There are four reasons why this was so.

1. The causes of the pain.

The cause of the pain in the senses was the breaking up of the body, a pain whose bitterness derived partly from the fact that the sufferings attacked every part of His body, and partly from the fact that of all species of torture death by crucifixion is undoubtedly the most bitter. The nails are driven through the most sensitive of all places, the hands and the feet, the weight of the body itself increases the pain every moment. Add to this the long drawn-out agony, for the crucified do not die immediately as do those who are beheaded.

The cause of the internal pain was:

(i) All the sins of all mankind for which, by suffering, He was making satisfaction, so that, in a sense, He took them to Him as though they were His own. The words of my sins, it says in the Psalms (Ps. xxi. 2).

(ii) The special case of the Jews and the others who had had a share in the sin of His death, and especially the case of His disciples for whom His death had been a thing to be ashamed of.

(iii) The loss of his bodily life, which, by the nature of things, is something from which human nature turns away in horror.

2. We may consider the greatness of the pain according to the capacity, bodily and spiritual, for suffering of Him who suffered. In His body He was most admirably formed, for it was formed by the miraculous operation of the Holy Ghost, and therefore its sense of touch that sense through which we experience pain was of the keenest. His soul likewise, from its interior powers, had a knowledge as from experience of all the causes of sorrow.

3. The greatness of Our Lord’s suffering can be considered in regard to this that the pain and sadness were without any alleviation. For in the case of no matter what other sufferer the sadness of mind, and even the bodily pain, is lessened through a certain kind of reasoning, by means of which there is brought about a distraction of the sorrow from the higher powers to the lower. But when Our Lord suffered this did not happen, for He allowed each of His powers to act and suffer to the fullness of its special capacity.

4. We may consider the greatness of the suffering of Christ in the Passion in relation to this fact that the Passion and the pain it brought with it were deliberately undertaken by Christ with the object of freeing man from sin. And therefore He undertook to suffer an amount of pain proportionately equal to the extent of the fruit that was to follow from the Passion.

From all these causes, if we consider them together, it will be evident that the pain suffered by Christ was the greatest pain ever suffered.

Another Reason to Love Being Roman Catholic: Ember Days in Lent

24 February 2015

Ember Days

Posted by Sofia Guerra

February 25, 27, and 28 (the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after the First Sunday in Lent)
and the days are marked by fasting, abstinence, prayer and Masses particular for the day.

Note: Fasting and Abstinence:

The Ember Days are celebrated with fasting (no food between meals) and half-abstinence, meaning that meat is allowed at one meal per day. (If you observe the traditional Friday abstinence from meat, then you would observe complete abstinence on an Ember Friday.)

As always, such fasting and abstinence has a greater purpose. As the Catholic Encyclopedia notes,

through these activities, and through prayer, we use the Ember Days to “thank God for the gifts of nature, . . . teach men to make use of them in moderation, and . . . assist the needy.”

With the revision of the liturgical calendar in 1969, the Vatican left the celebration of Ember Days up to the discretion of each national conference of bishops. They’re commonly celebrated in Europe, particularly in rural areas.

In the United States, the bishops’ conference has decided not to celebrate them, but individual Catholics can and many traditional Catholics still do… ( Catholicism)

Since Ember Days were mandatory from the days of Pre-Vatican II, but are now finally seeing a resurgence, (THANK YOU LORD!) we must state that this is NOT MANDATORY according to the new guidelines but all reprinted here is from the Traditional Calendar of the 1962 Missal. We, however, are still scratching our heads at ACBlog as to the “wisdom” behind the decision to leave these practices up to the local Bishops Conferences. We’re just sayin’…

From yet another great Traditional Blog, “Salve Regina” we have the Rules for Fasting from the Traditional Calendar…

Pre Vatican II Fasting Guidelines

I often see people asking about the pre Vatican II fasting guidelines on discussion forums. From the New Marian Missal, published by Angelus Press, here they are for the US:

“Abstinence: All Catholics seven years and older are obliged to observe the Law of Abstinence.
On days of complete abstinence flesh meat, soup or gravy made from meat are not permitted at all. On days of partial abstinence flesh meat, soup or gravy made from meat ar permitted once a day at the principal meal.

Complete abstinence is to be observed on all Fridays of the year, Ash Wednesday, Vigils of the Immaculate Conception and Christmas, and on Holy Saturday. Partial abstinence is to be observed on Ember Wednesdays and Saturdays, and on the Vigil of Pentecost.

Fasting: All Catholics from the completion of their twenty-first year to the beginning of their sixtieth year are bound to observe the Law of fast. The days of fast are the weekdays of Lent, Ember Days, the Vigils of Pentecost, the Immaculate Conception, Christmas. Only one full meal is allowed on a day of Fast. Two other meatless meals are permitted. These meals should be sufficient to maintain strength in accordance with each one’s needs. Both of these meals, or collations, together, should not equal one full meal.

It is permissible to eat meat at the principle meal on a Fast Day except on Fridays, Ash Wednesday, and the Vigils of Immaculate Conception, Christmas, and Holy Saturday.

Solid foods between meals is not permitted. Liquids, including coffee, tea, milk and fruit juices are allowed.

In connection with problems arising from the Laws of Fast and Abstinence, a confessor or priest should be consulted. Dispensations may be granted for a serious reason concerning health or the ability to work.”

Thanks to Salve Regina

Now, as to the why of Ember Days????

The post that follows is an extraordinary piece from Rorate Caeli from 2008.

This piece will make you LOVE being Catholic and will always celebrate Ember Days after this, right?

By Michael P. Foley

A potential danger of traditionalism is the stubborn defense of something about which one knows little. I once asked a priest who had just finished beautifully celebrating an Ember Saturday Mass about the meaning of the Ember days. He replied (with an impish twinkle in his eye) that he hadn’t a clue, but he was furious they had been suppressed.

Traditionalists, however, are not entirely to blame for their unfamiliarity with this important part of their patrimony. Most only have the privilege of assisting at a Sunday Tridentine Mass, and hence the Ember days—which occur on a weekday or Saturday—slip by unnoticed. And long before the opening session of the Second Vatican Council, the popularity of these observances had atrophied.

So why care about them now? To answer this question, we must first determine what they are.

The Four Seasons

The Ember days, which fall on a Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday of the same week, occur in conjunction with the four natural seasons of the year. Autumn brings the September Embertide, also called the Michaelmas Embertide because of their proximity to the Feast of St. Michael on September 29.1 Winter, on the other hand, brings the December Embertide during the third week of Advent, and spring brings the Lenten Embertide after the first Sunday of Lent. Finally, summer heralds the Whitsun Embertide, which takes place within the Octave of Pentecost.

In the 1962 Missal the Ember days are ranked as ferias of the second class, weekdays of special importance that even supersede certain saints’ feasts. Each day has its own proper Mass, all of which are quite old. One proof of their antiquity is that they are one of the few days in the Gregorian rite (as the ’62 Missal is now being called) which has as many as five lessons from the Old Testament in addition to the Epistle reading, an ancient arrangement indeed.

Fasting and partial abstinence during the Ember days were also enjoined on the faithful from time immemorial until the 1960s. It is the association of fasting and penance with the Embertides that led some to think that their peculiar name has something to do with smoldering ash, or embers. But the English name is probably derived from their Latin title, the Quatuor Tempora or “Four Seasons.”2

Apostolic and Universal

The history of the Ember days brings us to the very origins of Christianity. The Old Testament prescribes a fourfold fast as part of its ongoing consecration of the year to God (Zech. 8:19). In addition to these seasonal observances, pious Jews in Palestine at the time of Jesus fasted every Monday and Thursday—hence the Pharisee’s boast about fasting twice weekly in the parable involving him and the publican (Lk. 18:12).

Early Christians amended both of these customs. The Didache, a work so old that it may actually predate some books of the New Testament, tells us that Palestinian Christians in the first century A.D. fasted every Wednesday and Friday: Wednesday because it is the day that Christ was betrayed and Friday because it is the day He was crucified.3 The Wednesday and Friday fast were so much a part of Christian life that in Gaelic one word for Thursday, Didaoirn, literally means “the day between the fasts.”

In the third century, Christians in Rome began to designate some of these days for seasonal prayer, partly in imitation of the Hebrew custom and partly in response to pagan festivals occurring around the same time.4 Thus, the Ember days were born. And after the weekly fast became less prevalent, it was the Ember days which remained as a conspicuous testimony to a custom stretching back to the Apostles themselves.5 Moreover, by modifying the two Jewish fasts, the Ember days embody Christ’s statement that He came not to abolish the Law but fulfill it (Mt. 5:17).6

Usefully Natural

This fulfillment of the Law is crucial because it teaches us something fundamental about God, His redemptive plan for us, and the nature of the universe. In the case of both the Hebrew seasonal fasts and the Christian Ember days, we are invited to consider the wonder of the natural seasons and their relation to their Creator. The four seasons, for example, can be said to intimate individually the bliss of Heaven, where there is “the beauty of spring, the brightness of summer, the plenty of autumn, the rest of winter.”7

This is significant, for the Ember days are the only time in the Church calendar where nature qua nature is singled out and acknowledged. Certainly the liturgical year as a whole presupposes nature’s annual rhythm (Easter coincides with the vernal equinox, Christmas with the winter solstice, etc.), yet here we celebrate not the natural phenomena per se but the supernatural mysteries which they evoke. The Rogation days commemorate nature, but mostly in light of its agricultural significance (that is, vis-à-vis its cultivation by man), not on its own terms, so to speak.8

The Ember days, then, stand out as the only days in the supernatural seasons of the Church that commemorate the natural seasons of the earth. This is appropriate, for since the liturgical year annually renews our initiation into the mystery of redemption, it should have some special mention of the very thing which grace perfects.

Uniquely Roman

But what about Saturday? The Roman appropriation of the weekly fast involved adding Saturday as an extension of the Friday fast. And during Embertide, a special Mass and procession to St. Peter’s was held, with the congregation being invited to “keep vigil with Peter.” Saturday is an appropriate day not only for a vigil, but as a day of penance, when our Lord “lay in the sepulchre, and the Apostles were sore of heart and in great sorrow.”9 It is this Roman custom, incidentally, which gave rise to the proverb, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” According to the story, when Sts. Augustine and Monica asked St. Ambrose of Milan whether they should follow the weekly fasts of either Rome or of Milan (which did not include Saturdays), Ambrose replied: “When I am here, I do not fast on Saturday; when I am in Rome, I do.”10

Solidarity of Laity and Clergy

Another Roman custom, instituted by Pope Gelasius I in 494, is to use Ember Saturdays as the day to confer Holy Orders. Apostolic tradition prescribed that ordinations be preceded by fast and prayer (see Acts 13:3), and so it was quite reasonable to place ordinations at the end of this fast period. This allows the entire community to join the candidates in fasting and in praying for God’s blessing upon their vocation, and not just the community in this or that diocese, but all over the world.

Personally Prayerful

In addition to commemorating the seasons of nature, each of the four Embertides takes on the character of the liturgical season in which it is located. The Advent Ember days, for example, celebrate the Annunciation and the Visitation, the only times during Advent in the 1962 Missal when this is explicitly done. The Lenten Embertide allows us to link the season of spring, when the seed must die to produce new life, to the Lenten mortification of our flesh. The Whitsun Embertides, curiously, have us fasting within the octave of Pentecost, teaching us that there is such a thing as a “joyful fast.”11 The Fall Embertide is the only time that the Roman calendar echoes the Jewish Feast of the Tabernacles and the Day of Atonement, the two holidays that teach us so much about our earthly pilgrimage and about Christ’s high priesthood.12

The Ember days also afford the occasion for a quarterly check-up of the soul. Blessed Jacopo de Voragine (d. 1298) lists eight reasons why we should fast during the Ember days, most of them concerning our personal war against vice. Summer, for example, which is hot and dry, is analogous to “the burning and ardour of avarice,” while autumn is cold and dry, like pride. Jacopo also does a delightful job coordinating the Embertides with the four temperaments: springtime is sanguine, summer is choleric, autumn is melancholic, and winter is phlegmatic.13 It is little wonder that the Ember days became times of spiritual exercises (not unlike our modern retreats), and that folklore in Europe grew up around them affirming their special character.14

Even the Far East was affected by the Ember days. In the sixteenth century, when Spanish and Portuguese missionaries settled in Nagasaki, Japan, they sought ways of making tasty meatless meals for Embertide and started deep-frying shrimp. The idea caught on with the Japanese, who applied the process to a number of different sea foods and vegetables. They called this delicious food—have you guessed it yet?—“tempura,” again from Quatuor Tempora.

Dying Embers

While the Ember days remained fixed in the universal calendar as obligatory (along with the injunction to fast), their radiating influence on other areas of life eventually waned. By the twentieth century, ordinations were no longer exclusively scheduled on Ember Saturdays and their role as “spiritual checkups” was gradually forgotten. The writings of Vatican II could have done much to rejuvenate the Ember days. The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy decrees that liturgical elements “which have suffered injury through accidents of history are now to be restored to the vigor which they had in the days of the holy Fathers” (50).

But what came instead was the Sacred Congregation of Divine Worship’s 1969 General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, where we read:

On rogation and ember days the practice of the Church is to offer prayers to the Lord for the needs of all people, especially for the productivity of the earth and for human labor, and to give him public thanks (45).

In order to adapt the rogation and ember days to various regions…the conferences of bishops should arrange the time and plan for their celebration (46)

Happily, the Ember days were not to be removed from the calendar but tweaked by national bishops’ conferences. There were, however, several shortcomings with this arrangement. First, the SCDW treats Rogation and Ember days as synonymous, which—as we saw in a previous article15—they are not. The Ember days do not, for example, pray for “the productivity of the earth and for human labor” in the dead of winter.

Second, by calling for an adaptation to various regions, the SCDW allowed the Ember days to take on an indeterminate number of meanings that have nothing to do with nature, such as “peace, the unity of the Church, the spread of the faith, etc.”16 Unlike the organic development of the Ember days, which preserved its basic meaning while taking on others, the 1969 directive has no safeguards to keep newly assigned meanings from displacing the Embertides’ more fundamental purpose.

Third, the national bishops’ conferences were supposed to fix the dates of the Ember days, but none, as far as I can tell, ever did.

Dead Embers & Lively Debates

In the wake of this ambiguity and indirection, the Ember days disappeared from the celebration of the Novus Ordo, and at one of the worst possible times. For just as the Church was letting its liturgical celebration of the natural slip into oblivion, the West was going berserk over nature.

Ever since the publication of Machiavelli’s Prince in the sixteenth century, modern society has been predicated on a technological war against nature in order to increase man’s dominion and power. Nature was no longer a lady to be wooed (as she had been for the Greeks, Romans, and medieval Christians); she was now to be raped, beaten into submission through evermore impressive technological advances17 that would render mankind, in Freud’s chilling words, “a prosthetic god.”

While there were some strong reactions against this new attitude, the modern hostility to the God-given only expanded as time went on, growing from a war on nature to a war on human nature. Our current preoccupations with genetic engineering, sex “changes,” and same-sex “marriage”—all of which are attempts to redefine or reconfigure the natural—are examples of this ongoing escalation.

The environmental movement that began in the 1960s has helped bring to light the wages of ruthlessly exploiting nature, and thus today we have a renewed appreciation for the virtues of responsible stewardship and for the marvels of God’s green but fragile earth. Yet this same movement, which has served in many ways as a healthy reawakening, is peppered with absurdities. Often the same activists who defend endangered tadpoles go on to champion the annihilation of unborn babies. Recently, after liberalizing their abortion laws, Spain’s socialist government introduced legislation to grant chimpanzees legal rights in order “to preserve the species from extinction”—this in a land with no native ape population.18

Contemporary environmentalism is also sometimes pantheistic in its assumptions, the result being that for many it has become a religion unto itself. This new religion comes complete with its own priests (climatologists), its own gospels (sacrosanct data about rising temperatures and shrinking glaciers), its own prophets (Al Gore, who unfortunately remains welcome in his own country), and, most of all, its own apocalypticism, with the four horsemen of deforestation, global warming, ozone depletion, and fossil fuels all leading us to an ecological Doomsday more terrifying to the secular mind than the Four Last Things.19


My point is not to deny the validity of these anxieties, but to lament the neo-pagan framework into which they are more often than not put. Modern man is such a mess that when he finally recovers a love of nature, he does so in a most unnatural manner. Both the early modern antipathy to nature and the late modern idolatry of it stand in dire need of correction, a correction that the Church is well poised to provide. As Chesterton quipped, Christians can truly love nature because they will not worship her. The Church proclaims nature’s goodness because it was created by a good and loving God and because it sacramentally reflects the grandeur of God’s goodness and love.
The Church does this liturgically with its observance of the “Four Seasons,” the Embertides. Celebrating the Ember days does not, of course, provide ready solutions to the world’s complicated ecological difficulties, but it is a good refresher course in basic first principles. The Ember days offer an intelligent alternative to pantheist environmentalism, and they do so without being contrived or pandering, as a new Catholic “Earth Day” or some such thing would undoubtedly be.

It is a shame that the Church unwittingly let the glow of Embertide die at the precise moment in history when their witness was needed the most, but it is a great boon that Summorum Pontificum makes their celebration universally accessible once again. What remains is for a new generation to take up their practice with a reinvigorated appreciation of what they mean. At least then we’ll know why we are so furious.

Michael P. Foley is an associate professor of patristics at Baylor University. He is the author of Wedding Rites: A Complete Guide to Traditional Music, Vows, Ceremonies, Blessings, and Interfaith Services (Eerdmans) and Why Do Catholics Eat Fish on Friday? The Catholic Origin to Just About Everything (Palgrave Macmillan).

NOTES: This article appears in the Fall 2008 issue of The Latin Mass Magazine, vol. 17:4; web publication at RORATE CÆLI authorized by author and periodical. Images related to the First and Second Lessons and to the Gospel of Ember Saturday in September: in the first image, Aaron and Moses offer a holocaust to the Lord.

1.Officially, they fall on the first [full] week after the Feast of the Holy Cross (September 14).
2. Another theory is that “Ember” comes from the Old English, ymbren, meaning time or season.
3. The one reason stated by the Didache is more polemical: Christians fast on different days in order to be different from the “hypocrites,” i.e., the Pharisees (8.1).
4.Cf. Francis X. Weiser, Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs (New York: Harcourt, 1958), 31-32.
5.Weiser does claim, however, that voluntarily fasting or abstaining on Wednesdays was still alive in some areas when he was writing (1958). Of course, the other remnant of the weekly fast is Friday abstinence from flesh meat.
6.Technically, neither Jewish fast was part of the Mosaic Law, though both were, I would argue, part of the Mosaic way of life.
7.From a prayer by St. Thomas Aquinas.
8.Cf. my article, “The Rogationtide,” TLM 17:2 (Spring 2008), pp. 36-39.
9.Jacopo de Voragine, “The Ember days,” in The Golden Legend.
10.Cf. Michael P. Foley, Why Do Catholics Eat Fish on Friday? The Catholic Origin to Just About Everything (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), 148-49.
11.The medievals called this the jejunium exultationis—the fast of exultation.
12.There are relevant readings from the Old Testament and from the Letter to the Hebrews that are used throughout the year in both the 1962 and 1970 lectionaries, but the September Embertide is the only time that these readings are used in order to coincide with the autumn festivals of Sukkot and Yom Kippur. Again we see the principle of fulfillment rather than abolition liturgically enacted.
13.Cf. The Golden Legend, Volume 1, “The Ember Days.”
14.In the Middle Ages, the Ember days were kept as holydays of obligation, with rest from work and special acts of charity for the poor, such as feeding and bathing them. There was also an old superstition that the souls in Purgatory were temporarily released from their plight in order to thank their relatives for their prayers and beg for more.
15.Cf. my article, “The Rogationtide,” TLM 17:2 (Spring 2008), pp. 36-39.
16.Response to the query “How should rogation days and ember days be celebrated?” (, retrieved 2/20/08).
17.Cf. The Prince, ch. 25.
18.“Spain to Recognize Rights of Apes?” Catholic World News, 6/27/08,
19.This is not a parody. Cf. Peter Montague, “The Four Horsemen—Part 1,” Rachel’s Environment & Health Weekly, #471, 12/7/95 (

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