All things have their season,
and in their times all things pass under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.
A time to kill, and a time to heal.
A time to destroy, and a time to build.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh.
A time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather.
A time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.
A time to get, and a time to lose.
A time to keep, and a time to cast away.
A time to rend, and a time to sew.
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak.
A time of war, and a time of peace.
Four times a
year, the Church sets aside three days to focus on God through His
marvelous creation. These quarterly periods take place around the
beginnings of the four natural seasons 1
that "like some virgins dancing in a circle, succeed one another with
the happiest harmony," as St. John Chrysostom wrote (see Readings
These four times are each kept on a successive Wednesday, Friday, and
Saturday and are known as "Ember Days," or Quatuor Tempora, in
Latin. The first of these four times comes in Winter, after the the Feast of St. Lucy; the second comes in
Spring, the week after Ash Wednesday;
the third comes in Summer, after Pentecost
Sunday; and the last comes in Autumn, after Holy Cross Day.2
can be remembered by this old mnemonic:
Lucia, Cineres, Charismata Dia
Ut sit in angaria quarta sequens feria.
Lucy, Ash Wednesday, Pentecost,
are when the quarter holidays follow.
non-Latinists, it might be easier to just remember "Lucy, Ashes, Dove,
and Cross" -- or "Lenty, Penty, Crucy, Lucy."
These times are
spent fasting and partially abstaining (voluntary since the new Code of
Canon Law) in penance and with the intentions of thanking God for the
gifts He gives us in nature and beseeching Him for the discipline to
use them in moderation. The fasts, known as "Jejunia quatuor temporum,"
or "the fast of the four seasons," are rooted in Old Testament
practices of fasting four times a year:
Thus saith the Lord of hosts: The fast of the fourth month, and the
fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the
tenth shall be to the house of Juda, joy, and gladness, and great
solemnities: only love ye truth and peace.
ancestors once fasted weekly on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but Christians
changed the fast days to Wednesdays (the day on which Christ was
betrayed) and Fridays (the day on which He was crucified). The weekly
two day fasts were later amended in the Roman Church to keeping only
Fridays as penitential days, but during Embertides, the older, two-day
fasts are restored.
Saturdays (the day He was entombed) were added to these Ember times of fasting and are seen as a
sort of culmination of the Ember Days: for
example, on Ember Wednesdays, there is one lesson given during the
Mass; on Fridays, there are none; and on Saturdays, there are four or
five. Interestingly, the story of Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago's
escape from King Nabuchodonosor's fiery furnace with the help of an
angel is commemorated on each Saturday of Embertides except that of
Whit Embertide, and part of their beautiful hymn of praise follows
(Daniel 3:52-56. See readings at the bottom of the page for this
gorgeous hymn in its entirety).
In any case, the Dominican, Blessed Jacopo de Voragine (A.D.
1230-1298), Archbishop of Genoa, wrote a collection of the stories of
the Saints known as "Legenda Aurea" (Golden Legend). This work gives
eight quite interesting reasons to fast during Ember Days:
The fasting of
the Quatretemps, called in English Ember days, the Pope Calixtus
ordained them. And this fast is kept four times in the year, and for
For the first time, which is in March, is hot and moist. The second, in
summer, is hot and dry. The third, in harvest, is cold and dry. The
fourth in winter is cold and moist. Then 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. In summer we ought to fast to the end that we
chastise the burning and ardour of avarice. In harvest for to repress
the drought of pride, and in winter for to chastise the coldness of
untruth and of malice.
The second reason why we fast four times; 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. And in summer
also, in the Whitsun week, for then cometh the Holy Ghost, and
therefore we ought to be fervent and esprised in the love of the Holy
Ghost. They be fasted also in September tofore Michaelmas, and these be
the third fastings, because that in this time the fruits be gathered
and we should render to God the fruits of good works. In December they
be also, and they be the fourth fastings, and in this time the herbs
die, and we ought to be mortified to the world.
The third reason is for to ensue the Jews. For the Jews fasted four
times in the year, that is to wit, tofore Easter, tofore Whitsunside,
tofore the setting of the tabernacle in the temple in September, and
tofore the dedication of the temple in December.
The fourth reason is because the man is composed of four elements
touching the body, and of three virtues or powers in his soul: that is
to wit, the understanding, the will, and the mind. To this then that
this fasting may attemper in us four times in the year, at each time we
fast three days, to the end that the number of four may be reported to
the body, and the number of three to the soul. These be the reasons of
The fifth reason, as saith John Damascenus: in March and in printemps
the blood groweth and augmenteth, and in summer coler, in September
melancholy, and in winter phlegm. 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. In summer we fast because that
coler should be lessened and refrained, of which cometh wrath. And then
is he full naturally of ire. In harvest we fast for to refrain
melancholy. The melancholious man naturally is cold, covetous and
heavy. In winter we fast for to daunt and to make feeble the phlegm of
lightness and forgetting, for such is he that is phlegmatic.
The sixth reason is for the printemps is likened to the air, the summer
to fire, harvest to the earth, and the winter to water. Then we fast in
March to the end that the air of pride be attempered to us. In summer
the fire of concupiscence and of avarice. In September the earth of
coldness and of the darkness of ignorance. In winter the water of
lightness and inconstancy.
The seventh reason is because that March is reported to infancy, summer
to youth, September to steadfast age and virtuous, and winter to
ancienty or old age. We fast then in March that we may be in the
infancy of innocency. In summer for to be young by virtue and
constancy. In harvest that we may be ripe by attemperance. In winter
that we may be ancient and old by prudence and honest life, or at least
that we may be satisfied to God of that which in these four seasons we
have offended him.
The eighth reason is of Master William of Auxerre. We fast, saith he,
in these four times of the year to the end that we make amends for all
that we have failed in all these four times, and they be done in three
days each time, to the end that we satisfy in one day that which we
have failed in a month; and that which is the fourth day, that is
Wednesday, is the day in which our Lord was betrayed of Judas; and the
Friday because our Lord was crucified; and the Saturday because he lay
in the sepulchre, and the apostles were sore of heart and in great
Now, in addition
to the penitential fasting and alms-giving
of this time, it is good to consider our stewardship of the earth, a
responsibility God gave to us in the Garden of Eden, as recorded in
them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it,
and rule over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and all
living creatures that move upon the earth. And God said: Behold I have
given you every herb bearing seed upon the earth, and all trees that
have in themselves seed of their own kind, to be your meat: And to all
beasts of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to all that move
upon the earth, and wherein there is life, that they may have to feed
The point is also beautifully made in the eighth Psalm:
O Lord our Lord,
how admirable is thy name in the whole earth! For thy magnificence is
elevated above the heavens. Out of the mouth of infants and of
sucklings thou hast perfected praise, because of thy enemies, that thou
mayst destroy the enemy and the avenger. For I will behold thy heavens,
the works of thy fingers: the moon and the stars which thou hast
What is man that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that thou
visitest him? Thou hast made him a little less than the angels, thou
hast crowned him with glory and honour: And hast set him over the works
of thy hands. Thou hast subjected all things under his feet, all sheep
and oxen: moreover the beasts also of the fields. The birds of the air,
and the fishes of the sea, that pass through the paths of the sea. O
Lord our Lord, how admirable is thy name in all the earth!
Be mindful of
your effects on our dear earth and don't allow people to "politicize"
the issue of our stewardship of God's creation! But to be mindful of
nature, it helps to actually see her first. Go outside and look!
And praise God for all you see, hear, smell, feel, and taste as you
allow His glorious works to touch your senses!
Ember Days are
days favored for priestly ordinations, prayer for priests, first
Communions, almsgiving and other penitential and charitable acts,
prayer for the souls in Purgatory. Note that medieval lore says that
during Embertides, the souls in Purgatory are allowed to appear visibly
to those on earth who pray for them.
Because of the days' focus on nature, they are also traditional times
for women to pray for children and safe deliveries.
If you happen to be in Rome during Embertides, consider visiting the
relevant station church for each of the Ember days. These station churches are the same for each
of the four Embertide periods:
S. Maria Maggiore
Ember Friday: SS. Apostoli
Ember Saturday: S. Pietro in Vaticano
Quite interestingly, folklore tells us that the weather
each of the three days of an Embertide foretells the weather of the
next three months, repsectively -- i.e.:
The weather of:
Friday of Advent
Friday of Lenten
Friday of Whit
Saturday of Whit
As an aside, the Japanese style of cooking foods in a light
batter -- "tempura" -- derives from Spanish priests in Nagasaki, Japan
who wanted a tasty way to eat vegetables and seafoods so they could
avoid eating meat on Ember Days -- the "Quatuor Tempora."
As to literary inspiration, in addition to the readings below, it is a
good time to read works that see nature as a sign of God's Goodness,
such as St. Robert Bellarmine's book, "The Mind's Ascent to God by the
Ladder of Created Things," which you can find in this site's Catholic Library.
Move on to pages specific to:
On the Statues
Homily IX (excerpt)
St. John Chrysostom, b. c. 347
For if God had
given instruction by means of books, and of letters, he who knew
letters would have learnt what was written; but the illiterate man
would have gone away without receiving any benefit from this source,
unless some one else had introduced him to it; and the wealthy man
would have purchased the Bible, but the poor man would not have been
able to obtain it. Again, he who knew the language that was expressed
by the letters, might have known what was therein contained; but the
Scythian, and the Barbarian, and the Indian, and the Egyptian, and all
those who were excluded from that language, would have gone away
without receiving any instruction.
This however cannot be said with respect to the heavens; but the
Scythian, and Barbarian, and Indian, and Egyptian, and every man that
walks upon the earth, shall hear this voice; for not by means of the
ears, but through the sight, it reaches our understanding. And of the
things that are seen, there is one uniform perception; and there is no
difference, as is the case with respect to languages. Upon this volume
the unlearned, as well as the wise man, shall be alike able to look;
the poor man as well as the rich man; and wherever any one may chance
to come, there looking upwards towards the heavens, he will receive a
sufficient lesson from the view of them: and the prophet himself
intimated and indicated this fact, that the creation utters this voice
so as to be intelligible to barbarians, and to Greeks, and to all
mankind without exception, when he spoke on this wise; "There is no
speech, nor language, where there voice is not heard." What he means is
to this effect, that there is no nation or tongue which is unable to
understand this language; but that such is their utterance, that it may
be heard of all mankind. And that not merely of the heavens, but of the
day and night. But how of the day and night? The heavens, indeed, by
their beauty and magnitude, and by all the rest, astonish the beholder,
and transport him to an admiration of the Creator; but as to the day
and night, what can these show us of the same kind? Nothing certainly
of the same kind, but other things which are not inferior to them; as
for example; the harmony, and the order which they so accurately
observe. For when thou considerest how they distribute between them the
whole year, and mutually divide the length of the whole space, even as
if it were by a beam and scales, thou wilt be astonished at Him who
hath ordered them! For just as certain sisters dividing their father's
inheritance among themselves with much affection, and not insulting one
another in the smallest degree, even so too the day and the night
distribute the year with such an equality of parts, with the utmost
accuracy; and keep to their own boundaries, and never push one, another
aside. Never hath the day been long in winter; and in like manner never
hath the night been long in summer, whilst so many generations have
passed away; but during so great an interval and length of time one
hath not defrauded the other even in the smallest degree; not of half
an hour's space, no, nor of the twinkling of an eye!
Therefore also the Psalmist, struck with astonishment at the equality
of this distribution, exclaimed. "Night unto night sheweth knowledge."
If thou knowest how to meditate wisely on these matters, thou wilt
admire the Being who fixed these immoveable boundaries even from the
beginning. Let the avaricious hear these things; and those who are
coveting the wealth of others; and let them imitate the equality of the
day and night. Let those who are puffed up and high-minded also hear;
and those who are unwilling to concede the first places to others! The
day gives place to the night, and does not invade the territory of
others! But thou, whilst always enjoying honour, canst thou not bear to
share it with thy brethren?
Consider also with me the wisdom of the Lawgiver. In winter He hath
ordered that the night should be long; when the germs are tender, and
require more coolness; and are unable to sustain the hotter rays of the
sun; but when they are somewhat grown, the day again increases with
them, and becomes then the longest, when the fruit has now attained
ripeness. And this is a beneficial arrangement not only for seeds, but
for our bodies. For since during winter, the sailor, and the pilot, and
the traveller, and the soldier, and the farmer, sit down for the most
part at home, fettered by the frost; and the season is one of idleness;
God hath appointed that the greater part of this time should be
consumed in night, in order that the length of the day might not be
superfluous, when men were unable to do anything.
Who can describe the perfect order of the seasons; and how these, like
some virgins dancing in a circle, succeed one another with the happiest
harmony; and how those who are in the middle cease not to pass over to
the opposite ones with a gradual and noiseless transition? Therefore,
neither are we overtaken by the summer immediately after winter; nor by
the winter immediately after the summer; but mid-way the spring is
interposed; that while we gently and gradually take up one season after
the other, we may have our bodies hardened to encounter the summer heat
without uneasiness. For since sudden changes to opposite extremes are
productive of the worst injury and disease, God hath contrived that
after winter we should take up the spring, and after the spring the
summer; and after the summer the autumn; and thus transport us to
winter, so that these changes from seasons which are opposite, should
come upon us harmlessly and by degrees, through the aid of intermediate
Who then is so wretched and pitiable, that beholding the heavens; and
beholding sea, and land; and beholding this exact adjustment of the
seasons, and the unfailing order of day and night, he can think that
these things happen of their own accord, instead of adoring Him who
hath arranged them all with a corresponding wisdom!
To Autolycus Book I, Chapters V and VI
By Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch, ca. A.D. 160
For as the soul
in man is not seen, being invisible to men, but is perceived through
the motion of the body, so God cannot indeed be seen by human eyes, but
is beheld and perceived through His providence and works. For, in like
manner, as any person, when he sees a ship on the sea rigged and in
sail, and making for the harbour, will no doubt infer that there is a
pilot in her who is steering her; so we must perceive that God is the
governor [pilot] of the whole universe, though He be not visible to the
eyes of the flesh, since He is incomprehensible. For if a man cannot
look upon the sun, though it be a very small heavenly body, on account
of its exceeding heat and power, how shall not a mortal man be much
more unable to face the glory of God, which is unutterable? For as the
pomegranate, with the rind containing it, has within it many cells and
compartments which are separated by tissues, and has also many seeds
dwelling in it, so the whole creation is contained by the spirit of
God, and the containing spirit is along with the creation contained by
the hand of God. As, therefore, the seed of the pomegranate, dwelling
inside, cannot see what is outside the rind, itself being within; so
neither can man, who along with the whole creation is enclosed by the
hand of God, behold God. Then again, an earthly king is believed to
exist, even though he be not seen by all; for he is recognised by his
laws and ordinances, and authorities, and forces, and statues; and are
you unwilling that God should be recognised by His works and mighty
Consider, O man, His works -- the timely rotation of the seasons, and
the changes of temperature; the regular march of the stars; the
well-ordered course of days and nights, and months, and years; the
various beauty of seeds, and plants, and fruits; and the divers species
of quadrupeds, and birds, and reptiles, and fishes, both of the rivers
and of the sea; or consider the instinct implanted in these animals to
beget and rear offspring, not for their own profit, but for the use of
man; and the providence with which God provides nourishment for all
flesh, or the subjection in which He has ordained that all things
subserve mankind. Consider, too, the flowing of sweet fountains and
never-failing rivers, and the seasonable supply of dews, and showers,
and rains; the manifold movement of the heavenly bodies, the morning
star rising and heralding the approach of the perfect luminary; and the
constellation of Pleiades, and Orion, and Arcturus, and the orbit of
the other stars that circle through the heavens, all of which the
manifold wisdom of God has called by names of their own. He is God
alone who made light out of darkness, and brought forth light from His
treasures, and formed the chambers of the south wind, and the
treasure-houses of the deep, and the bounds of the seas, and the
treasuries of snows and hail-storms, collecting the waters in the
storehouses of the deep, and the darkness in His treasures, and
bringing forth the sweet, and desirable, and pleasant light out of His
treasures; "who causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the
earth: He maketh lightnings for the rain;" who sends forth His thunder
to terrify, and foretells by the lightning the peal of the thunder,
that no soul may faint with the sudden shock; and who so moderates the
violence of the lightning as it flashes out of heaven, that it does not
consume the earth; for, if the lightning were allowed all its power, it
would burn up the earth; and were the thunder allowed all its power, it
would overthrow all the works that are therein.
Cathechetical Lecture VI (excerpt)
By St. Cyril of Jerusalem (b. ca. 315)
If any man
attempt to speak of God, let him first describe the bounds of the
earth. Thou dwellest on the earth, and the limit of this earth which is
thy dwelling thou knowest not: how then shalt thou be able to form a
worthy thought of its Creator? Thou beholdest the stars, but their
Maker thou beholdest not: count these which are visible, and then
describe Him who is invisible, Who telleth the number of the stars, and
calleth them all by their names.
Violent rains lately came pouring down upon us, and nearly destroyed
us: number the drops in this city alone: nay, I say not in the city,
but number the drops on thine own house for one single hour, if thou
canst: but thou canst not. Learn then thine own weakness; learn from
this instance the mightiness of God: for He hath numbered the drops of
rain, which have been poured down on all the earth, not only now but in
all time. The sun is a work of God, which, great though it be, is but a
spot in comparison with the whole heaven; first gaze stedfastly upon
the sun, and then curiously scan the Lord of the sun. Seek not the
things that are too deep for thee, neither search out the things that
are above thy strength: what is commanded thee, think thereupon.
But some one will say, If the Divine substance is incomprehensible, why
then dost thou discourse of these things? So then, because I cannot
drink up all the river, am I not even to take in moderation what is
expedient for me? Because with eyes so constituted as mine I cannot
take in all the sun, am I not even to look upon him enough to satisfy
my wants? Or again, because I have entered into a great garden, and
cannot eat all the supply of fruits, wouldst thou have me go away
I praise and glorify Him that made us; for it is a divine command which
saith, Let every breath praise the Lord. I am attempting now to glorify
the Lord, but not to describe Him, knowing nevertheless that I shall
fall short of glorifying Him worthily, yet deeming it a work of piety
even to attempt it at all. For the Lord Jesus encourageth my weakness,
by saying, No man hath seen God at any time.
Canticle of the Creatures
By St. Francis of Assisi (b. ca. 1181)
Most High, all
powerful, good Lord God, Thine are the praises, the glory, the honour,
and every blessing, To Thee alone, most High, do they belong, and no
man is worthy to mention Your name.
Praised be Thee, my Lord, with all Thy creatures, especially Sir
Brother Sun, Who is the day and through whom Thou givest us light. And
he is beautiful and radiant with great splendour; and bears a likeness
of Thee, Most High One.
Praised be Thee, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars, in heaven
Thou hast formed them clear and precious and beautiful.
Praised be Thee, my Lord, through Brother Wind, and through the air,
cloudy and serene, and every kind of weather through which Thou givest
sustenance to Thy creatures.
Praised be Thee, my Lord, through Sister Water, which is very useful
and humble and precious and chaste.
Praised be Thee, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom Thou
lightest the night, and he is beautiful and playful and robust and
Praised be Thee, My Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who
sustains and governs us, and who produces varied fruits with coloured
flowers and herbs.
Praised be Thee, My Lord, through those who give pardon for the sake of
Thy love, and bear infirmity and tribulation. Blessed are they who
endure in peace, for by Thee, Most High, they shall be crowned.
Praised be Thee, my Lord, through our Sister Death, from whom no living
man can escape. Woe only to those who die in mortal sin. Blessed are
those whom death will find in Thy most holy will, for the second death
shall do them no harm.
Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks And serve Him with great
The firmament on
high is his beauty, the beauty of heaven with its glorious shew. The
sun when he appeareth shewing forth at his rising, an admirable
instrument, the work of the most High. At noon he burneth the earth,
and who can abide his burning heat? As one keeping a furnace in the
works of heat: The sun three times as much, burneth the mountains,
breathing out fiery vapours, and shining with his beams, he blindeth
the eyes. Great is the Lord that made him, and at his words he hath
hastened his course.
And the moon in all in her season, is for a declaration of times and a
sign of the world. From the moon is the sign of the festival day, a
light that decreaseth in her perfection. The month is called after her
name, increasing wonderfully in her perfection. Being an instrument of
the armies on high, shining gloriously in the Armament of heaven. The
glory of the stars is the beauty of heaven; the Lord enlighteneth the
world on high. By the words of the holy one they shall stand in
judgment, and shall never fail in their watches.
Look upon the rainbow, and bless him that made it: it is very beautiful
in its brightness. It encompasseth the heaven about with the circle of
its glory, the hands of the most High have displayed it. By his
commandment he maketh the snow to fall apace, and sendeth forth swiftly
the lightnings of his judgment. Through this are the treasures opened,
and the clouds fly out like birds. By his greatness he hath fixed the
clouds, and the hailstones are broken. At his sight shall the mountains
be shaken, and at his will the south wind shall blow. The noise of his
thunder shall strike the earth, so doth the northern storm, and the
And as the birds lighting upon the earth, he scattereth snow, and the
falling thereof, is as the coming down of locusts. The eye admireth at
the beauty of the whiteness thereof, and the heart is astonished at the
shower thereof. He shall pour frost as salt upon the earth: and when it
freezeth, it shall become like the tops of thistles. The cold north
wind bloweth, and the water is congealed into crystal; upon every
gathering together of waters it shall rest, and shall clothe the waters
as a breastplate. And it shall devour the mountains, and burn the
wilderness, and consume all that is green as with fire.
A present remedy of all is the speedy coming of a cloud, and a dew that
meeteth it, by the heat that cometh, shall overpower it. At his word
the wind is still, and with his thought he appeaseth the deep, and the
Lord hath planted islands therein. Let them that sail on the sea, tell
the dangers thereof: and when we hear with our ears, we shall admire.
There are great and wonderful works: a variety of beasts, and of all
living things, and the monstrous creatures of whales. Through him is
established the end of their journey, and by his word all things are
We shall say much, and yet shall want words: but the sum of our words
is, He is all. What shall we be able to do to glorify him? for the
Almighty himself is above all his works. The Lord is terrible, and
exceeding great, and his power is admirable. Glorify the Lord as much
as ever you can, for he will yet far exceed, and his magnificence is
wonderful. Blessing the Lord, exalt him as much as you can: for he is
above all praise. When you exalt him put forth all your strength, and
be not weary: for you can never go far enough. Who shall see him, and
declare him? and who shall magnify him as he is from the beginning?
There are many things hidden from us that are greater than these: for
we have seen but a few of his works. But the Lord hath made all things,
and to the godly he hath given wisdom.
By King David, through the inspiration of God
Bless the Lord,
O my soul: O Lord my God, thou art exceedingly great. Thou hast put on
praise and beauty: And art clothed with light as with a garment. Who
stretchest out the heaven like a pavilion: Who coverest the higher
rooms thereof with water. Who makest the clouds thy chariot: who
walkest upon the wings of the winds. Who makest thy angels spirits: and
thy ministers a burning fire. Who hast founded the earth upon its own
bases: it shall not be moved for ever and ever.
The deep like a garment is its clothing: above the mountains shall the
waters stand. At thy rebuke they shall flee: at the voice of thy
thunder they shall fear. The mountains ascend, and the plains descend
into the place which thou hast founded for them. Thou hast set a bound
which they shall not pass over; neither shall they return to cover the
earth. Thou sendest forth springs in the vales: between the midst of
the hills the waters shall pass.
All the beasts of the field shall drink: the wild asses shall expect in
their thirst. Over them the birds of the air shall dwell: from the
midst of the rocks they shall give forth their voices. Thou waterest
the hills from thy upper rooms: the earth shall be filled with the
fruit of thy works: Bringing forth grass for cattle, and herb for the
service of men. That thou mayst bring bread out of the earth: And that
wine may cheer the heart of man. That he may make the face cheerful
with oil: and that bread may strengthen man's heart.
The trees of the field shall be filled, and the cedars of Libanus which
he hath planted: There the sparrows shall make their nests. The highest
of them is the house of the heron. The high hills are a refuge for the
harts, the rock for the irchins. He hath made the moon for seasons: the
sun knoweth his going down. Thou hast appointed darkness, and it is
night: in it shall all the beasts of the woods go about:
The young lions roaring after their prey, and seeking their meat from
God. The sun ariseth, and they are gathered together: and they shall
lie down in their dens. Man shall go forth to his work, and to his
labour until the evening. How great are thy works, O Lord? thou hast
made all things in wisdom: the earth is filled with thy riches. So is
this great sea, which stretcheth wide its arms: there are creeping
things without number: Creatures little and great.
There the ships shall go. This sea dragon which thou hast formed to
play therein. All expect of thee that thou give them food in season.
What thou givest to them they shall gather up: when thou openest thy
hand, they shall all be filled with good. But if thou turnest away thy
face, they shall be troubled: thou shalt take away their breath, and
they shall fail, and shall return to their dust. Thou shalt send forth
thy spirit, and they shall be created: and thou shalt renew the face of
May the glory of the Lord endure for ever: the Lord shall rejoice in
his works. He looketh upon the earth, and maketh it tremble: he
toucheth the mountains, and they smoke. I will sing to the Lord as long
as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. Let my
speech be acceptable to him: but I will take delight in the Lord. Let
sinners be consumed out of the earth, and the unjust, so that they be
no more: O my soul, bless thou the Lord.
Praise ye the
Lord from the heavens: praise ye him in the high places. Praise ye him,
all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts. Praise ye him, O sun and
moon: praise him, all ye stars and light. Praise him, ye heavens of
heavens: and let all the waters that are above the heavens Praise the
name of the Lord. For he spoke, and they were made: he commanded, and
they were created.
He hath established them for ever, and for ages of ages: he hath made a
decree, and it shall not pass away. Praise the Lord from the earth, ye
dragons, and all ye deeps: Fire, hail, snow, ice, stormy winds which
fulfill his word: Mountains and all hills, fruitful trees and all
cedars: Beasts and all cattle: serpents and feathered fowls:
Kings of the earth and all people: princes and all judges of the earth:
Young men and maidens: let the old with the younger, praise the name of
the Lord: For his name alone is exalted. The praise of him is above
heaven and earth: and he hath exalted the horn of his people. A hymn to
all his saints: to the children of Israel, a people approaching to him.
thou, O Lord the God of our fathers: and worthy to be praised, and
glorified, and exalted above all for ever: and blessed is the holy name
of thy glory: and worthy to be praised, and exalted above all in all
Blessed art thou in the holy temple of thy glory: and exceedingly to be
praised, and exceeding glorious for ever.
Blessed art thou on the throne of thy kingdom, and exceedingly to be
praised, and exalted above all for ever.
Blessed art thou, that beholdest the depths, and sittest upon the
cherubims: and worthy to be praised and exalted above all for ever.
Blessed art thou in the firmament of heaven: and worthy of praise, and
glorious for ever. All ye works of the Lord, bless the Lord: praise and
exalt him above all for ever.
O ye angels of the Lord, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all
O ye heavens, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O all ye waters that are above the heavens, bless the Lord; praise and
exalt him above all for ever.
O all ye powers of the Lord, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above
all for ever.
O ye sun and moon, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for
O ye stars of heaven, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all
O every shower and dew, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above
all for ever.
O all ye spirits of God, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all
O ye fire and heat, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for
O ye cold and heat, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for
O ye dews and hoar frosts, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above
all for ever.
O ye frost and cold, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for
O ye ice and snow, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for
O ye nights and days, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all
O ye light and darkness, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all
O ye lightnings and clouds, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above
all for ever.
O let the earth bless the Lord: let it praise and exalt him above all
O ye mountains and hills, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above
all for ever.
O all ye things that spring up in the earth, bless the Lord: praise and
exalt him above all for ever.
O ye fountains, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for
O ye seas and rivers, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all
O ye whales, and all that move in the waters, bless the Lord: praise
and exalt him above all for ever.
O all ye fowls of the air, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above
all for ever.
O all ye beasts and cattle, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above
all for ever.
O ye sons of men, bless the Lord, praise and exalt him above all for
O let Israel bless the Lord: let them praise and exalt him above all
O ye priests of the Lord, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above
all for ever.
O ye servants of the Lord, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above
all for ever.
O ye spirits and souls of the just, bless the Lord: praise and exalt
him above all for ever.
O ye holy and humble of heart, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him
above all for ever.
O Ananias, Azarias, and Misael, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him
above all for ever. For he hath delivered us from hell, and saved us
out of the hand of death, and delivered us out of the midst of the
burning flame, and saved us out of the midst of the fire.
O give thanks to the Lord, because he is good: because his mercy
endureth for ever and ever.
O all ye religious, bless the Lord the God of gods: praise him and give
him thanks, because his mercy endureth for ever and ever.
1 Many people think that
the seasons start at the equinoxes and solstices, that is, Winter
begins at the Winter Solstice (c. December 21), Spring begins at the
Vernal Equinox (c. March 20), Summer begins at the Summer Solstice (c.
June 21), and Autumn begins at the Autumnal Equinox (c. September 23)
-- and this is the astronomical reckoning which would have us
reckon the seasons based on the Sun's location relative to the earth.
The meteorological, late medieval, and more "common sense" reckonings
these respective dates: December 1, March 1, June 1, and September 1,
as it is around these dates that the changes in weather, etc.,
associated with the various seasons are most likely to be apparent.
Even earlier Anglo-Saxon reckonings had Winter starting in early
November, Spring in early February, Summer in early May, and Autumn in
early August, which makes for the reaping of Summer crops, too, a part
of "the harvest season." This older scheme
puts the Equinoxes and Solstices at the middles of their seasons, which
makes better sense.
2 For folks using the 1962
calendar, the Autumn Ember Days will fall on the Wednesday, Friday, and
Saturday after the third Sunday in September. This will always follow
Holy Cross Day, but the days might not fall in the same week that
honors the Feast of the Holy Cross (which is always September 14).
Older calendars will have the Autumn Ember Days as the Wednesday,
Friday, and Saturday that immediately come after Holy Cross Day, no
matter how many Sundays come before.