|Put a bird on it.|
The ember days remind us to orient ourselves to the spiritual first and focus on the joy of Christ's coming. In quiet observation of the natural world, we can see that all of creation is filled with signs from God, from the obvious beauty of a clear bright winter day where the snow sparkles in sunlight, to the hidden beauty of a nut tree gone to sleep for the winter in preparation to bear its fruit next year.
As we continue our work throughout the winter months--because even during vacation, children must be fed and dishes must be washed and laundry must get done (or whatever your daily work might be)--we ask the Lord to bless our labors, and put them in his hands for his own use.
Bless my reading, and thinking, and drawing, and writing, Lord; may these activities lead me to holiness, and if they do not, then direct me to other work.
|Chapel window at Glacier National Park|
Sunrise today was at 7:54 a.m. and sunset will be at 4:17 p.m. Only 8 hrs and 22 minutes of daylight. The moon is just a sliver of light, waning crescent and only 7% visible. The longest night of the year is just two days away. This year there will be a new moon on Dec. 21, so the night will be very dark indeed. According to a little internet research, this happens about every three years.
In folklore, today's weather predicts next February's forecast. The weather today was 45'-50'F with very heavy rain showers before noon, a sunny/partly cloudy midday and back to rain for the evening. A cold and changeable February would be no surprise.
Prayer (contemplation, praise, thanksgiving, petition)
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O Root of Jesse's stem,
sign of God's love for all his people:
come to save us without delay!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Apparently, in ancient days, there was a folk belief that the souls in purgatory might appear on ember Fridays to those faithful relatives who prayed for them, to thank them for their prayerful intercession and beg for continued prayers. Some countries have their Halloween-like traditions during this time of year, where children go begging for treats or giving them, and the spirits of those who have passed away are remembered.
|Kitchen window icon|
Keeping in mind that observing ember days at all is optional, there is no requirement to do anything. But if you wish to, you may. On a normal Friday, Catholics are asked to make an act of penance; the traditional way is to abstain from meat. But you can also do something different. Make an examination of conscience and pray the act of contrition, go to confession (if available today or tomorrow). A little bit of fasting before all the Christmas feasting begins makes everything feel balanced, I think. Temperate.
|My "Word of the Year" for 2014|
I am grateful that I always have food enough in the pantry to feed my family. Today would be a good day to make a donation to the church, either from the cupboards or financial, to help those who do not have enough for their families. This is probably something you do already, but the Ember Friday is like a note that says, "Don't forget the poor and needy!"
|Our advent wreath in 2009.|
"Fasting days and Emberings be
Lent, Whitsun, Holyrood, and Lucie."