In this lesson we study and prepare for the Ascension of Christ. Today is the 3rd and final day of the Minor Rogation. These are days of prayer and fasting for repentance as well as for a good harvest. Today is also the Vigil of the Ascension since it is the final of the three Minor Rogation days.
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The Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Ascension Thursday are referred to as the Minor Rogation. These days have their origin back in 470 AD by Bishop Mamertus of Vienna. In time, they were eventually adopted as part of the Church's Universal Calendar.
The Wikipedia entry for Rogation Days is rather correct when it states:
The word "Rogation" comes from the Latin verb rogare, meaning "to ask", and was applied to this time of the liturgical year because the Gospel reading for the previous Sunday included the passage "Ask and ye shall receive" (cf. John 16:24). The Sunday itself was often called Rogation Sunday as a result, and marked the start of a three-week period (ending on Trinity Sunday), when Roman Catholic and Anglican clergy did not solemnize marriages (two other such periods of marital prohibition also formerly existed, one beginning on the first Sunday in Advent and continuing through the Octave of Epiphany, or 13 January, and the other running from Septuagesima until the Octave of Easter, the Sunday after Easter).
For hundreds of years, the Faithful would observe these Minor Rogations - the 3rd of which occurs on the Vigil of the Ascension - by prayer and fasting. At this time, it is customarily to have the crops in one's fields blessed by a priest in violet colored vestments. Rogation Days were characterized by the Rogation procession in which parishioners, led by the minister, churchwarden, and choirboys, would proceed around the boundary of their parish and pray for its protection in the forthcoming year.
According to the great Church Father, St. Augustine, the Feast of the Ascension is of Apostolic origin. As early as the fifth century, documentation of this feast is preserved. The Pilgrimage of Aetheria speaks of the vigil of this feast and of the feast itself, as they were kept in the church built over the grotto in Bethlehem in which Christ was born
Since the 15th century (at the time of His Holiness Leo III) and up until the Second Vatican Council, the Ascension had an associated Octave attached to it for the Church – and the faithful – to prepare for the Feast of Pentecost. Predating this octave is the long established practice of having a Vigil for the Ascension.
While the Feast of the Ascension – despite its high rank as one of the most important holy days in the year – has fallen into obscurity and lack of observance in many areas, it is still a public holiday in many countries. ... Please purchase this lesson to continue learning.
Vigil of the Ascension is part of the following course(s):