Alleluia! on the Third Day of the Octave of Christmas. Because today is the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas, today is the Feast of the Holy Family, and today is the Feast of Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist (died c.101). Today is also the Third Day of Christmas, with Gallic birds.
The Feast of the Holy Family is a liturgical celebration in the Roman Catholic Church in honor of Jesus of Nazareth, his mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and his foster father, Saint Joseph, as a family. This is a very late Feast; veneration of the Holy Family was formally begun in the 17th century by Mgr François de Laval, a Canadian bishop who founded a Confraternity. The feast of the Holy Family was instituted by Pope Leo XIII in 1893 on the Sunday within the Octave of the Epiphany; that is to say, on the Sunday between January 7 through January 13, all inclusive. In the calendar promulgated in 1969, the feast was moved to the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas, between Christmas and New Year’s Day (both exclusive), or when there is no Sunday within the Octave (that is, if both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day are Sundays), it is held on December 30, which is a Friday in such years. (This will be the case next year, in 2016.) Turning to today’s Saint, he was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and the brother of Saint James the Greater. John was a fisherman, and he and his brother were known as the Sons of Thunder. He was a disciple of Saint John the Baptist, and was called to be an Apostle by Jesus during the first year of His ministry, and traveled everywhere with Him, becoming so close as to be known as the beloved disciple. The only one of the Twelve not to forsake the Saviour in the hour of His Passion, standing at the foot of the cross, he was made the guardian of the Blessed Virgin Mary by Jesus, taking her into his home. Upon hearing of the Resurrection, he was the first to reach the tomb; when he met the risen Lord at the lake of Tiberius, he was the first to recognize Him. During the era of the new Church, he worked in Jerusalem and at Ephesus. During Jesus’ ministry he tried to block a Samaritan from their group, but Jesus explained the open nature of the new Way, and he worked on that principle to found churches in Asia Minor and baptizing converts in Samaria. He was imprisoned with Peter for preaching after Pentecost. He was the author of the fourth Gospel, three Epistles, and possibly of the Book of Revelation, and survived all his fellow apostles. Tradition holds that the Emperor Domitian had him brought to Rome, beaten, poisoned, and thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil, but John stepped out unharmed and was banished to Patmos instead. Dying a natural death in Ephesus, the only Apostle to not be martyred, he is the Patron Saint of love, loyalty, friendships, authors, booksellers, art dealers, editors, papermakers, publishers, scribes, scholars, and theologians, and his aid is invoked by those suffering from burns and poison. Today is also the Third Day of Christmas (with more birds, in this case French hens, also known as Faverolles).
Before we went to sleep Richard asked me (not having seen my Daily Update) if I had gotten a new Galaxy Note 4 battery at Verizon. When I told him that neither Wal-Mart nor Verizon carries batteries, and that I had promptly ordered batteries from Amazon, he got mad that I was still using my in-his-opinion-about-to-explode-in-a-massive-fireball phone with the old battery, and looked up (and read out to me) what could happen, since I was evidently blowing off his and Michelle’s concerns. He later said that it had not occurred to him that I had done my own research on Friday, and that my internal phone security stuff is indicating that my battery is not in dire danger (although I will replace it, as soon as my Amazon order comes in). Last night our New Orleans Pelicans in a home game beat the Houston Rockets by the score of 110 to 108.
When I woke up for work I was not feeling well at all, and opted to call in and take the point (meaning, that I have to take 8 hours of PTO, and that I now have four call-ins in the current twelve month period). I went back to sleep, and Richard went to work. He was briefly on Pai Gow, but then they put him on Macau Mini Baccarat, which later turned into regular Mini Baccarat. He also heard a rumor that the casino might change our call in policy; as of now, if you call in for three consecutive days, you have to take 24 hours of PTO, but you only get charged for one point, but the change would be to one point for every day called in. Meanwhile, I had strange dreams; one very involved dream had me living with the homeless at the ends of the very large bridges, under the roadway structure, in a search for my grandfather. (One of my grandfathers died in the 1940s, long before I was born, and the other one died in 1969.) I then had long very involved dreams about being a knight of some kind for a kingdom that had been overrun by the opposing bad-guy kingdom.
I woke up at 11:00 am and did my Bathroom Devotional Reading. I then ate toast and read the Sunday papers. Richard came home, and I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Third Day of my Epiphany Novena. I started working on weblog stuff (Advance Daily Update Drafts, and my February 2016 photos), but at 1:15 pm Richard and I went to Wal-Mart. We got some meds for Michelle (who was feeling poorly, on the couch), and my salad supplies; and King Cakes are out, which is rushing the season (they are not supposed to be out, or eaten until January 6th, the old date of Epiphany). We got home at 1:15 pm, and I went back to the computer to do stuff. I then started working on today’s Daily Update.
Tomorrow is the Fourth Day in the Octave of Christmas (Alleluia!). Tomorrow is the Feast of The Holy innocents, Martyrs (died early first century). And tomorrow is the Fourth Day of Christmas, with our true love gift being four calling birds. Richard and I will return to the casino for the first day of the two-week pay period. I will be fasting tomorrow from 3:00 am on, and at 11:00 am (once we clock out), I will go over to the Clinic to have blood drawn for lab tests ahead of my January 7th, 2016 appointment with my oncologist. Our New Orleans Pelicans will be playing an away game with the Orlando Magic tomorrow evening, and our LSU Women’s Basketball team will be playing a home game with Samford; I will post the score of the games in Tuesday’s Daily Update.
Our Parting Quote this Sunday afternoon comes to us from Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr., also known as H. Norman Schwarzkopf, United States Army general. Born in 1934 in Trenton, New Jersey, Schwarzkopf grew up in the United States and later in Iran. He was accepted into the United States Military Academy at West Point and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army in 1956. After a number of initial training programs, Schwarzkopf interrupted a stint as an academy teacher and served in the Vietnam War first as an adviser to the South Vietnamese Army and later as a battalion commander. Schwarzkopf was highly decorated in Vietnam, being awarded three Silver Star Medals, two Purple Hearts, and the Legion of Merit. Rising through the ranks after the conflict, he later commanded the U.S. 24th Infantry Division and was one of the commanders of the Invasion of Grenada in 1983. Assuming command of United States Central Command in 1988, Schwarzkopf was called on to respond to the Invasion of Kuwait in 1990 by the forces of Iraq under Saddam Hussein. Initially tasked with defending Saudi Arabia from Iraqi aggression, Schwarzkopf’s command eventually grew to an international force of over 750,000 troops. After diplomatic relations broke down, he planned and led Operation Desert Storm, an extended air campaign followed by a highly successful 100-hour ground offensive, which destroyed the Iraqi Army and liberated Kuwait in early 1991. Highly regarded for these exploits, Schwarzkopf became a national hero and was presented with many military honors for what historians termed one of the most successful campaigns in U.S. military history. Schwarzkopf retired shortly after the end of the war and undertook a number of philanthropic ventures, only occasionally stepping into the political spotlight before his death from complications of pneumonia. Leaving a legacy as a hard-driving military commander with a strong temper, Schwarzkopf was nonetheless considered an exceptional leader by biographers and was noted for his abilities as a military diplomat and in dealing with the press (died 2012): “The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.”