Monday, November 28, 2016

Ember Days in the Ordinariate

Ever since I learned about the Ember Days, I've wanted to practice them (although I haven't done a good job with that). For those unaware, the Ember Days are three days at four times a year, coinciding with the changing of the seasons, where we pray for God's blessings on the bounty of the earth, as well as for those to be ordained (or contemplating the priesthood) that we may receive more workers for God's True harvest.

The Ordinariate continues to form, finding itself; one of the challenges is to resist the urge to be just an English version of the Extraordinary Form. We must remember that our "job" is to preserve Anglican patrimony within the Catholic Church; this can trace itself to practices that existed prior to the reforms of the Second Vatican Council - some things can be traced to practices that existed prior to the Council of Trent! Either way, regarding the Ember Days, I wanted to observe them according to our Patrimony, if that differed from the way that those who practice the Extraordinary Form observed them. Writing a man who is "in the know", this is what I've received from him:

On the recommendation of the Governing Council, the Bishop has decreed that Ember Friday in Advent [and in September] will be kept as obligatory days of abstinence.

The Whitsun Ember Days fall in the Octave of Pentecost which is ordinarily a time of feasting, though voluntary, individual abstinence, even fasting, is certainly allowable as a personal rule.

Ember Friday in Lent is a day of abstinence anyway by the OF norms of the modern Roman Rite.

So, all the Ember Fridays of the year are days of abstinence, with those of Lent, September, and Advent being obligatory for the Ordinariate, as the minimum requested.

What about the Ember Wednesdays and Saturdays?

...fasting or abstinence on Ember Wednesdays and Saturdays is up to you.

This person, as an Anglican, abstained from meat on all the Wednesdays and Fridays of Lent and fasted on the Ember Days, but acknowledged that Anglican customs varied a lot, quite often following the practices of the Roman rite in this case.

So, there you have it. Ember Fridays of the year = abstaining from meat (at least), while the other Ember Days are (as of now) voluntary days of abstaining (as well as fasting, if desired); let us not forget that, at least in the Office, we also have collects for the Ember Days, which assist in their observance.

So, as personal practice (as of the moment), I will observe the twelve Ember Days as days of abstaining from meat (and, in keeping with the request from our Ordinary Emeritus, which I do not think has been rescinded, I continue to abstain from meat on all Fridays of the year, except on the very rare occasion, such as the Friday after Thanksgiving, where I abstain from something else). Perhaps one day I'll be able to add fasting to the observance, as a personal act, as well as in keeping with tradition, but as of now, abstaining from meat on the Ember days will be how I observe them (except in the cases of feasts and solemnities, like this Wednesday), in keeping with the bishop's request.