Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Fabian, Pope and Martyr (died c. 250), and the Optional Memorial of Saint Sebastian, Martyr (died 288). Today is also the Third Day of the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity; the overall theme for 2016 is “Called to Proclaim the Mighty Acts of the Lord” (cf. 1 Peter 2:9), and today we meditate on “The Witness of Fellowship”. And starting at sunset tonight is the Eve of Saint Agnes, when according to an old folk superstition a girl could see her future husband if she performed certain rites before going to sleep this night.
Turning first to Saint Fabian, he was a layman and farmer when he came into Rome on a day when a new pope was to be elected. A dove flew into the building where Fabian was observing the deadlocked election proceedings and settled on his head; the gathered clergy and laity took this as a sign that Fabian had been anointed, and he was chosen Pope by acclamation. As Pope, he sent Saint Dionysius and other missionaries to Gaul and condemned the heresies of Privatus. He was martyred in the persecutions of Decius; his relics are long gone, but the stone that covered his grave is still in the catacombs of Saint Callistus in Rome. We also honor Saint Sebastian, Martyr (died 288), one of the Saints whose story owes much to legend. Born about 256 in Narbonne, Gaul (part of modern France), he was the son of a wealthy Roman family and educated in Milan. He became an Officer of the Imperial Roman army, and captain of the guard, thus becoming a favorite of Diocletian. During Diocletian’s persecution of the Christians, Sebastian visited them in prison, bringing supplies and comfort. He is reported to have healed the wife of a brother soldier by making the Sign of the Cross over her, and converted soldiers and a governor to Christianity. Charged as a Christian, Sebastian was tied to a tree, shot with arrows, and left for dead. He survived, recovered, and returned to preach to Diocletian. The emperor then had him beaten to death. During the 14th century, the random nature of infection with the Black Death caused people to liken the plague to their villages being shot by an army of nature’s archers. In desperation, they prayed for the intercession of a saint associated with archers, and Saint Sebastian became associated with the plague. He is the Patron Saint of soldiers, archers, and athletes, and his aid in invoked by the plague-stricken and those seeking a holy Christian death. Our Meditation on this Third Day of the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is on “The Witness of Fellowship”; we pray, “Lord Jesus, who prayed that we might all be one, we pray to you for the unity of Christians according to your will, according to your means. May your Spirit enable us to experience the suffering caused by division, to see our sin and to hope beyond all hope. Amen.” And starting at sunset tonight is the Eve of Saint Agnes. There was a folk superstition that a girl could see her future husband in a dream if she performed certain rites on the eve of St. Agnes; she was to go to bed without any supper, undress herself so that she was completely naked without looking behind her, and lie on her bed with her hands under the pillow and looking up to the heavens. Then her future husband would appear in her dream, kiss her, and feast with her. In 1819 English poet John Keats wrote his long poem The Eve of St. Agnes (published 1820), based on this superstition; the poem begins, “ST. AGNES’ Eve—Ah, bitter chill it was! / The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold.” (Presumably, so is the young maiden, lying naked on her bed waiting for her dream of her future husband.)
I woke up at 8:45 am today, started the Weekly Computer Maintenance, started my laundry, did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, and ate my breakfast toast while reading the paper. I then took my migraine meds, as I had a killer headache. I did my Internet Devotional Reading, finished the Weekly Computer Maintenance, and started the Weekly Virus Scan; I then laid down for a couple of hours (after taking half a dose again of my migraine meds) to get rid of my headache.
At along about 2:00 pm my headache went away, or at least to the point where coughing (from the on-again off-again cold I have had for the past few weeks) did not hurt my head. Richard and I left the house at 2:30 pm; our first stop was to D.C.’s Sports Bar and Steakhouse, where we got a late lunch. At the Hit-n-Run I purchased my Powerball and Louisiana Lotto lottery tickets for tonight’s drawing (no winners on my previous batch of tickets), and at Wal-Mart Richard got some groceries and some Halls Cough Drops for me. And I finished reading Blow Fly by Patricia Cornwell.
We arrived home at 3:15 pm, and we watched CSI: Cyber “404: Flight Not Found” via CBS On Demand. We then watched Jeopardy!, and I did my Book Review for this weblog and for my Goodreads and Facebook accounts for Blow Fly by Patricia Cornwell. I then did a couple of Advance Daily Update Drafts for this weblog, then I finished my laundry. I then got my lunch salad from yesterday (that I had not eaten yet) and ate it while doing today’s Daily Update.
Tomorrow is the Memorial of Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr (died c. 304), and the Fourth Day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, with our meditation on “A Priestly People Called to Proclaim the Gospel”. Provided that I don’t have a migraine, I will iron my casino pants, apron, and shirts, and get my lunch salad supplies and make my lunch salads. In the evening our LSU Women’s Basketball team will be playing a home game with Arkansas, and our New Orleans Pelicans will be playing a home game with the Detroit Pistons; I will record the scores of both games in my Friday Daily Update.
Our Wednesday Evening Parting Quote comes to us from Edgar W. Froese, German musician. Born in 1944 in Tilsit, East Prussia, on D-Day during the Second World War, members of his family, including his father, had been killed by the Nazis and his mother and surviving family settled in West Berlin after the war. He took piano lessons from the age of 12, and started playing guitar at 15. After showing an early aptitude for art, Froese enrolled at the Academy of the Arts in West Berlin to study painting and sculpture. In 1965 he formed a band called The Ones, who played psychedelic rock, and some rock and R&B standards. While playing in Spain, The Ones were invited to perform at Salvador Dalí’s villa in Cadaqués. Froese’s encounter with Dalí was highly influential, inspiring him to pursue more experimental directions with his music. The Ones disbanded in 1967, having released only one single (“Lady Greengrass” / “Love of Mine”). After returning to Berlin, Froese began recruiting musicians for the free-rock band that would become Tangerine Dream; he remained the only consistent member of the group, which put out over 100 albums (of which I own one, Tyger (1987)). The most stable version of the group, during their influential mid-1970s period, was as a trio with Froese, Christopher Franke, and Peter Baumann. Their “Virgin Years” albums helped define what became known as the Berlin School of electronic music. These and later albums were influential in the development of electronic dance music, and also the genre known as new-age music, though the band themselves disliked the term. From the late 1990s into the 2000s, Tangerine Dream also explored some styles of electronica. The band contributed to over sixty film soundtracks, which include Sorcerer, Thief, Risky Business, The Keep, Firestarter, Legend, Near Dark, Shy People, and Miracle Mile. They composed the original score for the video game Grand Theft Auto V. Froese married in 1974; his son Jerome Froese (born in 1970) was involved with Tangerine Dream from a very young age (he was on the album cover of Atem (1973), at the age of two years and four months), and was a member of the group from 1990 through 2006. Froese’s composition “Stuntman” has been used as the opening theme music for Mabat Sheni (Second Look), an investigative news program from Channel One television in Israel, since the 1980s. Although his solo and group recordings prior to 2003 name him as “Edgar Froese”, his solo albums from 2003 onward bear the artist name “Edgar W. Froese”. In 2014 he published the book Tangerine Dream – Force Majeure – 1967–2014. He was posthumously awarded the Schallwelle Honorary Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2015, and the surviving members of the current lineup of Tangerine Dream pledged to finish his last project (died 2015): “[Dalí taught me that] nearly everything is possible in art as long as you have a strong belief in what you’re doing.”