Daily Update: Saturday, December 12th, 2015

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

According to tradition, Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (now a Saint, with his Optional Memorial on December 9th), a simple indigenous peasant, saw a vision of a young pregnant native woman on December 9, 1531, while he was on the hill of Tepeyac near Mexico City, Mexico. She spoke to him in his own language and told him to tell the bishop to build a shrine to her. Juan told this to the local bishop, who did not accept the idea of a shrine. The same day, Mary appeared again to Juan, and asked him to again speak to the bishop. He did so the next day, and the bishop asked him to provide proof that the request was indeed from the Virgin Mary. Juan returned to the hill, and reported to Mary (who had appeared again) the bishop’s request; Mary asked him to return the next day. However, the next day Juan’s uncle became very ill, and Juan tended to him all that day. The next day he set out very early to get a priest to give his uncle (who was on his deathbed) the last rites. He chose another way around the hill, embarrassed at not having kept his appointment with the Virgin; she intercepted him and asked where he was going. Juan explained what had happened and the Virgin gently chided him for not having had recourse to her. In the words which have become the most famous phrase of the Guadalupe event and are inscribed over the main entrance to the Basilica of Guadalupe, she asked: “No estoy yo aqui que soy tu madre?” (Am I not here, I who am your mother?). She assured him that his uncle had now recovered and she told him to gather flowers from the top of Tepeyac Hill, which was normally barren, especially in December. Juan followed her instructions and he found Castilian roses, not native to Mexico, blooming there. Juan arranged the flowers in his tilma, or cloak, and when he opened his cloak before the archbishop on December 12th, the flowers fell to the floor, and on the fabric was the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe. The next day, on December 13th, Juan found his uncle fully recovered, as the Virgin had assured him, and his uncle recounted that he too had seen her, at his bed-side,  that she had instructed him to inform the bishop of this apparition and of his miraculous cure, and that she had told him she desired to be known under the title of Guadalupe. Today the cloak is displayed in the nearby Basilica of Guadalupe. The Virgin of Guadalupe is Mexico’s most popular religious and cultural image, with the titles “Queen of Mexico”, “Empress of the Americas”, and “Patroness of the Americas”; both Miguel Hidalgo (in the Mexican War of Independence) and Emiliano Zapata (during the Mexican Revolution) carried flags bearing the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Guadalupe Victoria, the first Mexican president, changed his name in her honor. The shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe is the most visited Catholic pilgrimage destination in the world (Richard has been there, but I have not.) She is the Patroness of Mexico and of the Continental Americas.

As promised, Friday after finishing my Daily Update, I watched Jeopardy!, then we lit the Advent Candles and the Candles for the Sixth Night of Hanukkah. And our New Orleans Pelicans beat the Washington Wizards by the score of 107 to 105.

I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading. Once at the Casino we picked up our Christmas bonus checks at the shift office. At the Pre-Shift Meeting I won a $10.00 meal comp, and Richard won a Golden Ticket (entitling him to be first on the Early Out list on whichever day he uses it; more anon). When we got out to the casino floor, Richard was on a Blackjack table. I started out on Mini Baccarat, became the Relief Dealer for Pai Gow, Let It Ride, and Mini Baccarat, then became the Relief Dealer for Macau Mini Baccarat, Pai Gow, and the second Mississippi Stud table, then the Relief Dealer for Macau Mini Baccarat and Pai Gow, then the Relief Dealer for the Second Mississippi Stud table, Macau Mini Baccarat, and Pai Gow. On my breaks I continued reading the November 2015 issue of National Geographic.

On our way home I started reading the December 14th, 2015 issue of Sports illustrated. Once home we signed the Anniversary Card for Matthew and Callie and put it out for the mail. I set up my medications for next week (I have one specialty over the counter medication to get at the Pharmacy on Monday). I then read the morning paper, and Richard ordered a ticket for the Gregg Allman concert on January 2nd at the Baton Rouge River Center Theatre (he will use his Golden Ticket on Sunday, January 3rd). Our mail brought us a Christmas Card from our Church. I then went to the Adoration Chapel, and did my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration. During my Hour I read the December 7th – 14th, 2015 issue of my Jesuit America magazine. I then went to McDonald’s for lunch, and finished reading the December 14th, 2015 issue of Sports illustrated and finished reading the November / December 2015 issue of The Bible Today. When I got home I went to bed for the rest of the day. I thus did not light my Advent Candles or the Candles for the Seventh Night of Hanukkah, and did not do my Daily Update. Our New Orleans Pelicans lost their game with the Chicago Bulls by the score of 94 to 98; our Pelicans next play an away game with the Portland Blazers on December 14th.

Tomorrow is the Third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday), and the Memorial of Saint Lucy, Virgin and Martyr (died c. 304). And tomorrow is the Geminid Meteor Shower, with no Moon to obscure meteors (weather permitting). We will go to work for the last day of the pay period. On my breaks I will do my Daily Update for Saturday, December 12th, 2015 via WordPress for Android. Our New Orleans Saints will be playing an away Divisonal game with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at noon. After lunch I will continue putting up Christmas decorations. Our LSU Women’s Basketball team will play a home game with UC Santa Barbara, and our LSU Men’s Basketball team will play an away game with Houston. In the early evening I will light the Advent Candles and the Candles for the Eighth and Last Night of Hanukkah, and do my Daily Update. And I may go to the Cathedral in Lafayette for the 7:00 pm Christmas Choral of Lessons and Carols.

On this Saturday afternoon our Parting Quote comes to us from Avery Dulles, Jesuit priest, theologian, Cardinal, and author. Born in 1918 in Auburn, New York, he was the son of future U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles (for whom Washington Dulles International Airport is named). Dulles was raised a Presbyterian but had become an agnostic by the time he began college at Harvard in 1936. His religious doubts were diminished during a personally profound moment when he stepped out into a rainy day and saw a tree beginning to flower along the Charles River; after that moment he never again “doubted the existence of an all-good and omnipotent God.” He converted to Catholicism in the fall of 1940. After graduating from Harvard College in 1940, he spent a year and a half in Harvard Law School, where he also founded the “St. Benedict Center” (which would become well-known due to the controversial Fr. Leonard Feeney S.J.), before serving in the United States Navy, emerging with the rank of Lieutenant. For his liaison work with the French Navy, he was awarded the French Croix de guerre. Upon his discharge from the Navy in 1946, Dulles entered the Society of Jesus, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1956. After a year in Germany, he studied at the Gregorian University in Rome, and was awarded the doctorate in Sacred Theology in 1960. Dulles served on the faculty of Woodstock College from 1960 to 1974 and that of The Catholic University of America from 1974 to 1988. He was a visiting professor at: The Gregorian University (Rome), Weston School of Theology, Union Theological Seminary (New York), Princeton Theological Seminary, Virginia Theological Seminary, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, Boston College, Campion Hall, Oxford, the University of Notre Dame, the Catholic University at Leuven, Yale University, and St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie. He was the author of over 700 articles on theological topics, as well as twenty-two books. Although Jesuits make a promise against pursuing ecclesiastical dignities and do not normally accept promotion within the Church hierarchy, Dulles was created a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church in Rome on February 21, 2001 by Pope John Paul II. At the time of his elevation to cardinal, he was not a bishop, as is normally the case, but only a priest. However, he successfully petitioned the Pope for a dispensation from episcopal consecration due to advanced age. His titular assignment was Cardinal-Deacon of SS. Nome di Gesù e Maria in Via Lata (the Most Holy Names of Jesus and Mary). Because he reached the age of 80 before becoming cardinal, he was never eligible to vote in a conclave (of which one occurred during his cardinalate, that of 2005). Because he was a cardinal but not a bishop, Dulles became an honorary, non-voting member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. In his later years, the Cardinal suffered from the effects of polio from his youth. In addition to the loss of speech, the use of his arms was impaired but his mind remained clear and he continued to work and communicate using his computer keyboard. On Tuesday April 1, 2008, Cardinal Dulles gave his Farewell Address as Laurence J. McGinley Professor of Religion and Society. As Cardinal Dulles was unable to speak, former President of Fordham University Father Joseph O’Hare, S.J. read the Cardinal’s address. The current Fordham President Father Joseph McShane, S.J. also presented him with the University’s President’s Medal that evening. April 1, 2008 also marked the date the Cardinal’s book Church and Society: The Laurence J. McGinley Lectures, 1988-2007 was released. On April 19, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI gave the ailing Cardinal Dulles a private audience during his apostolic trip to the United States, with the Cardinal preparing his written remarks to the Pope prior to the visit (died 2008): “In today’s schools, ‘religious studies’ has almost entirely replaced theology.”

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