02 March 2012

Spring Ember Days

WeatherEmber Day.  The weather today foretells the weather in May


The Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday following Ash Wednesday are the Lenten or Spring Ember Days - days of fasting and abstinence in which we ask God for a blessing on the newly tilled and planted fields and pray that no frost or blight destroys the crop.  Our prayers also should be for the help and grace to moderate our pride and to remove our tendencies to lust.

The Golden Legend says why we fast during the Spring or Printemps Ember Days:

Let us fast in March which is printemps for to repress the heat of the flesh boiling, and to quench luxury or to temper it.

[We should fast] for these fastings here begin in March in the first week of the Lent, to the end that vices wax dry in us, for they may not all be quenched; or because that we cast them away, and the boughs and herbs of virtues may grow in us.

In March and in printemps the blood* grows and augments, Then we fast in March for to attemper and depress the blood of concupiscence disordinate, for sanguine of his nature is full of fleshly concupiscence.

Printemps is likened to the air. [We fast] that the air of pride be attempered [moderated] to us.

March is reported to infancy. [We fast] in March that we may be in the infancy of innocency.

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!