This Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday are the autumn Ember Days. 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, and are each kept on a successive Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday and are known as ‘Ember Days’, or Quatuor Tempora in Latin. These times are spent fasting and partially abstaining (voluntary since the 1983 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. In the Old Testament, the Jews 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). 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. Ember Days are days favoured for priestly ordinations, prayers for Priests, first Communions, almsgiving and other penitential and charitable acts, and prayers for the souls in Purgatory. Because of the days’ focus on nature, they are also traditional times for women to pray for children and safe deliveries.