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Maria Lectrix

Public domain audiobooks, six days a week, for folks with a Catholic taste in literature. Enjoy! Clan Honor Mondays: Fitz-James O'Brien works. Lit Tuesdays: Short stories, novels, or poems. Acts of the Wednesdays: Early Christian works. Mystery Thursdays: Mystery short stories or novels. Lit Fridays: Short stories, novels, or poems. Saintly Saturdays: Later Christian works.

Mary reading to ChristA Vatican Library catalog page, 1518

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

#58: "Sermon 12: On the Fasting in the Tenth Month" by St. Leo the Great (Pope)

Here's an Advent sermon on gratitude to God, giving alms, and fasting, from the guy who faced off with Attila the Hun. (December is the tenth month referred to.)

This is pretty interesting stuff to me, since it doesn't just deal with the Advent message of preparation. It also talks about the very old custom of fasting and prayer on the three "Ember Days" four times a year. I didn't realize this was inspired by Jewish practice, as is pointed out in the homily. (Zacharias 8:19: "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 Judah joy and gladness, and great solemnities.") You'll also notice a repeat of the idea found in The Shepherd of Hermas, that all the money you're not spending on food during a fast is supposed to be given to the poor.

We don't officially have Ember Days anymore, but of course it's still a pious practice. (If you can remember what days they are.) They're the first Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after the First Sunday of Lent, Pentecost, the Feast of the Holy Cross (Sept. 14), and the Feast of St. Lucy (Dec. 13). So this year's December Ember Days would fall on Dec. 14, 16, and 17.

"Sermon 12: On the Fast of the Tenth Month"
10 min.


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