17 June 2011

17 June - Ember Day; Whit Embertide

Weather: Ember Day: The weather today foretells the weather of August.

The Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday in Whitsun-week (following Pentecost) are the Summer Ember Days - days of fasting and abstinence in which we thank God for the blessing of growing crops and pray for a bountiful harvest.  Our prayers now should also be for the help and grace to moderate our tempers, to soften our unrighteous wrath, and to remove our tendencies to greed.

The Golden Legend says why we fast during the Summer Ember Days:

In summer we ought to fast to the end that we chastise the burning and ardor of avarice.

[We should fast] in summer also, in the Whitsun-week, for then cometh the Holy Ghost, and therefore we ought to be fervent and esprised [passionate] in the love of the Holy Ghost.

In summer we fast because that coler [choler]* should be lessened and refrained, of which cometh wrath.  And then is he [mankind] full naturally of ire.

Summer is likened to fire. [We fast] that the fire of concupiscence and avarice be attempered [moderated] to us.

Summer is reported to youth. [We fast] in summer for to be young by virtue and constancy.

And we fast to the end that we make amends for all we have failed in the preceding three months.

This is also a time to pray for the souls in Purgatory, who, legend has it, are allowed to appear to those who pray for them during Ember days.

*Check out this page at Fisheaters about the four humors of the body - blood (sanguine); yellow bile (choleric); phlegm (phlegmatic); and black bile (melancholic).  There is also a test you can take to determine your dominant classic temperament.

For the record, the Widow's Medieval Personality Type is Melancholic - a nervous Melancholic at that.  Well, at least I am in good company:

"Famous Melancholics include St. John of the Cross, St. John the Divine, St. Francis, and St. Catherine of Siena."

"If you were living in the Age of Faith, perfect career choices for you would be contemplative religious, theologian, artist, or writer."

Yes and Amen!