Rogation Days

What are Rogation Days?

From "The Rogation Days, the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Ascension Day, originated in Vienne, France (not Vienna, Austria), in 470 after a series of natural disasters had caused much suffering among the people. Archbishop Mamertus proclaimed a fast and ordered that special litanies and prayers be said as the population processed around their fields, asking God's protection and blessing on the crops that were just beginning to sprout. The Latin word "rogare" means "to ask", thus these were "rogation" processions. In an agricultural society, closely connected with the soil and highly vulnerable to the uncertainties of nature, this was an idea that took root quickly, and the custom spread around Europe and over to Britain. The Sunday before the Rogation Days came to be considered a part of Rogationtide (or "Rogantide") and was known as Rogation Sunday."

Even though few of us depend on food we grow ourselves, we all still depend on the bounty of this earth to survive, and we're still more vulnerable than we sometimes think to the uncertainties of nature. But nature, our connection to it, and our dependence upon it for our life and well-being are all under the providence and mercy of God, our true source of life. 

It's still fitting to use these Rogation Days to specially ask for God's blessing on the sources of our material sustenance --agriculture, fishing, and other industries-- and to give thanks for his provision. In the Gospel for Rogation Sunday Jesus says "Ask and you shall receive" (Jn 16:24), and again in the Gospel for the Rogation Mass he says "Ask and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find; knock and the door shall be opened to you" (Lk 11:9).

Let us remember our connection to the earth on these Rogation Days and ask that the Lord bless that work which reaps from it his bounty for our sake:

"O Gracious Father, who openest thine hand and fillest all things living with plenteousness; We beseech thee of thine infinite goodness to hear us, who now make our prayers and supplications unto thee. Remember not our sins, but thy promises of mercy. Vouchsafe to bless the lands and multiply the harvests of the world. Let thy breath go forth that it may renew the face of the earth. Show thy loving-kindness, that our land may give her increase; and so fill us with good things that the poor and needy may give thanks unto thy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen."