Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Spring Ember Days!

The Ember days are here again already!  Like hands on a clock or turning pages on the calendar, they remind us of the passing of time, particularly by way of the passing of seasons.    There are four Ember weeks during the year: one in Advent, the winter Ember Days, which we observe after the Feast of St. Lucy (Dec 8th); in spring, during Lent, falling on the first full week after Ash Wednesday; in summer, the week after Pentecost Sunday; and in autumn, following the Feast of the Holy Cross (Sept. 14th). On the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday of Ember Weeks, all those above the age of reason observe a day of partial abstinence on Wednesday and Saturday, and full abstinence (as usual) on Friday.  All three days are days of fasting for everyone between the ages of 21 and 59.  More about the particulars can be found .here.   And here.

These are the days that we praise God and thank Him for the beauty and bounty of the beautiful earth He's provided for us.  It's during the Ember Days that farmers, particularly, petition Heaven for good harvests, and the health of their livestock.  These days it might be a really good idea for all of us to beg for good weather, in general!  Maybe a little early spring for those suffering such a hard winter this year?  A relief from the droughts many parts of the country and world have been experiencing would be a blessing!  A year free of dangerous flooding, hurricanes and tornadoes might be a good petition, too!
Br. Philip, a couple Christmases ago...

But, aside for gratitude and petitions regarding our natural world, the Ember Days have traditionally been the time for ordinations, good reminders to us four times a year to pray for our priests and seminarians.  God bless all our wonderful priests!  And, most especially, prayers going up for all our seminarians -- some very dear to us shortly to be ordained in Omaha -- and our own son, Br. Philip (pictured on the right), who continues on his journey toward the priesthood with his compatriots at Mater Dei.  Our prayers and thoughts are with them always, but especially during Ember Week!

Sharing some good prayers for our seminarians and priests:

Daily Prayer for a SeminarianUntil his Ordination to the PriesthoodO Jesus, Eternal High Priest,
I offer You through Your Immaculate Mother Mary,
Your own Precious Blood, in all the Masses throughout the world, as petition for graces for all seminarians, Your future priests, especially for............
Give them humility, meekness, prudence, and a burning zeal for soul. Fill their hearts with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.Teach them to know and love the church, that they may always and everywhere speak, act, and think with her, the glorious spouse of Christ.
Teach them generosity and detachment from worldly goods; but above all, teach them to know You and to love the One and Only Eternal Priest. good Shepherd of Souls, hear this my prayer for saintly priests.

Prayer of St. Therese of Lisieux for Priests
1. 0 Holy Father, may the torrents of love flowing from the sacred wounds of your divine Son bring forth priests like unto the beloved disciple John who stood at the foot of the cross; priests, who as a pledge of your own most tender love will lovingly give your divine Son to the souls of men.

May your priests be faithful guardians of your Church, as John was of Mary, whom he received into his house. Taught by this loving Mother who suffered so much on Calvary, may they display a mother's care and thoughtfulness towards your children. May they teach souls to enter into close union with you through Mary who, as the Gate of Heaven, is specially the guardian of the treasures of your divine Heart.

Give us priests who are on fire, and who are true children of Mary, priests who will give Jesus to souls with the same tenderness and care with which Mary carried the Little Child of Bethlehem.

Mother of sorrows and of love, out of compassion for your beloved Son, open in our hearts deep wells of love, so that we may console Him and give Him a generation of priests formed in your school and having all the tender thoughtfulness of your own spotless love.'

O Jesus,
I pray for your faithful and fervent priests;
for your unfaithful and tepid priests;
for your priests laboring at home or abroad in distant mission fields.
for your tempted priests;
for your lonely and desolate priests;
For your young priests;
for your dying priests;
for the souls of your priests in Purgatory.
But above all, I recommend to you the priests dearest to me:
the priest who baptized me;
the priests who absolved me from my sins;
the priests at whose Masses I assisted and who gave me Your Body and Blood in Holy Communion;
the priests who taught and instructed me;
all the priests to whom I am indebted in any other way
(especially …).
O Jesus, keep them all close to your heart,
and bless them abundantly in time and in eternity.

O Jesus, eternal Priest,
keep your priests within the shelter of Your Sacred Heart,
where none may touch them.
Keep unstained their anointed hands,
which daily touch Your Sacred Body.
Keep unsullied their lips,
daily purpled with your Precious Blood.
Keep pure and unearthly their hearts, 
sealed with the sublime mark of the priesthood.
Let Your holy love surround them and
shield them from the world’s contagion.
Bless their labors with abundant fruit and
may the souls to whom they minister be their joy and consolation
here and in heaven their beautiful and everlasting crown. Amen.

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