Friday, October 02, 2009

Family Fast Day / Ember Days

Today according to the Ordo is in England and Wales "Family Fast Day" and the the Memoria of the Holy Angels. There is no liturgical commemoration of the fast day so I wore white and forgot to mention the Family Fast Day.

I suspect most people will forget and be surprised on Sunday by the collection for Cor Unum or whatever charitable institution their parish supports. I suspect most of my people don't really keep Fridays as a day of fasting and penance, as a day to honour the Passion and Death of Christ.
In England and Wales the rule for Fridays is to abstain from meat or to say the Rosary or to do the Stations of the Cross or to visit the sick or needy.

Last Friday in the Extraordinary Form I celebrated an Ember Day, I fasted a little more than normally on a Friday. At Mass I wore purple, and following the Missal, I added the prayers asking the intercession of Our Lady and the saints and read the prophecy in place of the Epistle.

When the Holy See removed Ember Days and Rogation Days from the liturgical calendar of the Ordinary Form they gave Bishop's Conferences the authority to designate certain days as fast days. The absence of any liturgical commemoration tends to reduce fasting from a profoundly spiritual thing to a means simply of saving money for a worthy cause. That is not how the scriptures see fasting.

Perhaps one of the influences that the traditional liturgy should have on the new is the restoration of fasts to both the liturgy and the ordinary life of the faithful.
Fasting and mortification should be part of Christian life.


shadowlands said...

I left Church this lunchtime after Mass and Eucharistic Adoration and all I was thinking about was food. I didn't know it was a family fast day,but I do know we are meant to fast on Fridays.It's amazing how the will plays up when you try to follow rules. I was quite amazed at the double minded battle going on inside my head.Had it not been a fast day,I would have gone home,lunch in hand,anticipating a feed and feeling quite spiritually pleased with myself.Huh,worshiping with my words,but my stomach was far from Him,as I soon found out when I refused it,it's desires.(A sausage roll and a pineapple tart).

gemoftheocean said...

I agree it's not emphasized enough. Some time ago you made the very good point that you don't appreciate the feasts so much if you don't fast! [And to try and make sure that you DO feast when appropriate!]

Elizabeth said...

Fasting seems to be a dirty word nowadays. When I was a child eating meat on Fridays was wrong, now it seems that every day is the same and fasting from meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday is made to be such an issue.
Have we all become luke warm in everything we do?????
Maybe us Latin Lovers (as someone shouted in abuse at a meeting in our Church recently) should make a point of trying to fast.

Volpius Leonius said...

Fasting is ESSENTIAL to allow the soul to master the body and so progress in the spiritual life.

brightonliberalcatholic said...

Father, don't you think you are in danger of becoming an extraordinary bore?
Surely the clue is in the name - Family Fast Day.
Ember Day, oh that's a real help.

Fr Ray Blake said...

If you are bored don't log on!

If fasting (or feasting) is detached from liturgy isn't the a risk of it being rendered meaningless and despiritualised.

shadowlands said...

You must be upsetting the devil Father.Keep it up!

Volpius Leonius said...

Seems you are upsetting all the right people these days Father lol

Iesus † Nazarenus † Rex † Iudeorum