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Saturday, September 24, 2011

September, The Seventh Month

Today our venerable old rite of the Mass commemorates,
in a unique "hermeneutic of continuity",
the old fasting and feasts of
Yom Kippur and Sukkoth,
the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles.

It is our old rite alone that keeps these commemorations for the entire Church;
as far as I know they are not kept in the East and
in the Latin West
only the old rite keeps the Ember Days.

We must bear in mind that those ancient feasts
kept by Our Lord, Our Lady and St. Joseph until Good Friday
were strictly celebrated by lunar calculations.
The Church commemorates these days only approximately
using the solar calendar where September
(for seven)
represents the seventh month.

Until the modifications made by Blessed Pope John XXIII
the September Ember Days,
began in the week of the 15th September
i.e. the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday
following the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross,
(14th September).

Thus, before the modifications of Blessed John XXIII
(when the September Ember Days
were brought to the third week in September)
the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles
was commemorated even more closely than we did it today
since the Ember week literally opened on the 15th day of the seventh month
as did the Feast of Tabernacles.

The Second Lesson of the Mass has:
In those days the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,
From the fifteenth day of the seventh month ...
you shall celebrate a feast of the Lord for seven days.
In the seventh month shall you celebrate this feast;
and you shall dwell in bowers seven days:
everyone that is of the race of Israel shall dwell in tabernacles
that your posterity may know
that I made the children of Israel dwell in tabernacles
when I brought them out of the land of Egypt.
I am the Lord your God.
(Lev. 23: 33)

The First Lesson of today's Ember Mass
commemorated the ancient fast of Yom Kippur,
the Day of Atonement,
which was held on the tenth day of the Seventh month.

The Ember Days were considered
by St. Leo the Great
to be of Apostolic origin.

3 comments:

Jack said...

\\It is our old rite alone that keeps these commemorations for the entire Church;
as far as I know they are not kept in the East and
in the Latin West
only the old rite keeps the Ember Days.\\

The Byzantine Sanctoral year starts with 1 September, which on the Julian calendar frequently concides with Rosh Hashanah.

Holly Hall said...

This is good to know. Until I read your post, I thought the Ember Days were the same in every parish throughout the world. Partly because I am a Third Order Carmelite and we're required to honor the Ember Days as part of our duties.

Michelle Therese said...

Why were they taken away?

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