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 below).
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. Their dates
can be remembered by this old mnemonic:
Sant Crux, Lucia,
Cineres, Charismata Dia
Ut sit in angaria
quarta sequens feria.
Holy Cross, Lucy,
Ash Wednesday, Pentecost,
are when the quarter
it might be easier to just remember "Lucy, Ashes, Dove, and Cross."
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.
Our Israelite 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,
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 divers reasons.
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 Master Beleth.
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 sorrow.
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 Genesis 1:28-30:
God blessed 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 upon.
The point is also beautifully made in the eighth
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 founded.
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, and 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.
Quite interestingly, folklore also says that the weather conditions of each
of the three days of an Embertide foretells the weather of the next three
months, repsectively -- i.e.:
The weather of:
Wednesday of Advent
Friday of Advent
Saturday of Advent
Wednesday of Lenten
Friday of Lenten
Saturday of Lenten
Wednesday of Whit
Friday of Whit
Saturday of Whit
Wednesday of Michaelmas
Friday of Michaelmas
Saturday of Michaelmas
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."
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 ones.
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 deeds?
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.
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 altogether hungry?
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.
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
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 strong.
Praised be Thee, My Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains
and governs us, and who produces varied fruits with coloured flowers and
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
Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks And serve Him with great humility.
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
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 whirlwind:
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
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 regulated.
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
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
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
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 the earth.
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
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. Alleluia.
Blessed art 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 ages.
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 for
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
O ye sun and moon, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye stars of heaven, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for
O every shower and dew, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all
O all ye spirits of God, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for
O ye fire and heat, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye cold and heat, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye dews and hoar frosts, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all
O ye frost and cold, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye ice and snow, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye nights and days, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for
O ye light and darkness, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for
O ye lightnings and clouds, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all
O let the earth bless the Lord: let it praise and exalt him above all for
O ye mountains and hills, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all
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 ever.
O ye seas and rivers, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for
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
O all ye beasts and cattle, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all
O ye sons of men, bless the Lord, praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O let Israel bless the Lord: let them praise and exalt him above all for
O ye priests of the Lord, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all
O ye servants of the Lord, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all
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.
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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, traditional, and "common sense" reckonings
use 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 begin.