Daily Update: Friday, March 18th, 2016

Cyril of Jerusalem

Today is a Friday in Lent, so today is a day of Abstinence from Meat. And it is the Optional Memorial of Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor (died 386).

Born about 313, today’s Saint was raised as a Christian in Jerusalem, and was well educated, especially in religion. He became a priest, and was a great instructor of catechumens; his instructions are still source documents for the Church’s early teachings. Becoming Bishop of Jerusalem in 348, and naturally inclined to peace and conciliation, Cyril took at first a rather moderate position, distinctly averse from Arianism, but (like not a few of his undoubtedly orthodox contemporaries) by no means eager to accept the uncompromising term homooussios (of the same substance) in his Trinitarian theology. Separating from his metropolitan, Acacius of Caesarea, a partisan of Arius, Cyril took the side of the Eusebians, the “right wing” of the post-Nicene conciliation party, and thus got into difficulties with his superior, which were increased by Acacius’s jealousy of the importance assigned to Cyril’s See by the Council of Nicaea in 325. A council held under Acacius’s influence in 358 deposed Cyril and forced him to retire to Tarsus. At that time he was officially charged with selling church property to help the poor, although the actual motivation appears to be that Cyril was teaching Nicene and not Arian doctrine in his catechism. On the other hand, the conciliatory Council of Seleucia in the following year, at which Cyril was present, deposed Acacius. In 360 the process was reversed through the metropolitan’s court influence, and Cyril suffered another year’s exile from Jerusalem, until Emperor Julian’s accession allowed him to return. The Arian Emperor Valens banished him once more in 367. Cyril was able to return, once more, at the accession of Emperor Gratian, after which he remained undisturbed until his death. Cyril’s jurisdiction over Jerusalem was expressly confirmed by the First Council of Constantinople (381), at which he was present. At that council, he voted for acceptance of the term homooussios, having been finally convinced that there was no better alternative. He is a Greek Father of the Church, and was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Leo XIII (died 1903).

I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading. Once we clocked in, Richard was on Mississippi Stud, and I was on Mini Baccarat. On one of my later breaks I got a call from the Clinic confirming my Appointment with the Nurse Practitioner on Monday after work.

After work I picked up a prescription at the Pharmacy. When we got into town, Richard stopped at our auto garage to get the tires rotated on the truck. Once home from work I addressed and mailed a birthday card to Richard’s brother Slug here in town. I then ate my lunch salad and read the morning paper. My afternoon Nap lasted for the rest of the day, so I did not do my Daily Update. Richard went out in the thunderstorm to get sushi at Peking for his dinner; he made it there and back, but there was flooding on several low-lying streets. Our New Orleans Pelicans lost their home Pro Basketball game with the Portland Trail Blazers by the score of 112 to 117; our Pelicans will next play a home game with the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday afternoon. And the first game of the three-game home series between our LSU Baseball team and Alabama to start the SEC schedule was postponed.

Tomorrow is the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, Husband of Mary (died AD 18). Also, tomorrow is the tomorrow is the Vernal Equinox, and the day when the swallows return to the California mission of San Juan Capistrano (or rather, the day when they are supposed to return). And tomorrow is Earth Hour Day, with individuals, communities, households and businesses encouraged to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour as a symbol for their commitment to the planet tomorrow evening from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. during participants’ local time. (Alas, I will already be in bed asleep by then.) We will work our eight hours at the casino, and on my breaks I will do my Daily Update for yesterday via WordPress for Android. After we get home from work I will go to the Adoration Chapel to do my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration. After I eat lunch I will go to the 4:00 pm Anticipated Mass for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion. Meanwhile, our LSU Baseball team will start the SEC schedule with the first and second games of their three-game home series with a doubleheader with Alabama at 2:00 pm and 6:30 pm. And the Vernal (Spring) Equinox will arrive at 11:30 pm.

Our Parting Quote this Friday afternoon is from Grace Ogot, Kenyan author. Born as Grace Emily Akinyi in 1930 to a Christian family in Asembo, in the district of Nyanza, Kenya (a village highly populated by the predominantly Christian Luo ethnic group), her father was one of the first men in the village of Asembo to obtain a Western education. She attended the Ng’iya Girls’ School and Butere High School throughout her youth. From 1949 to 1953, she trained as a nurse at the Nursing Training Hospital in Uganda. She later worked in London, England, at the St. Thomas Hospital for Mothers and Babies. She returned to the African nursing profession in 1958, working at Maseno Hospital, run by the Church Missionary Society in Kisumu County in Kenya. In 1959 she married the professor and historian Professor Bethwell Allan Ogot, a Luo from Gem Location, and later became the mother of four children. Following this, Ogot worked at Makerere University College in Student Health Services. In addition to her experience in healthcare, Ogot gained experience in multiple different areas, working for the BBC Overseas Service as a script-writer and announcer on the programme London Calling East and Central Africa, operating a prominent radio programme in the Luo language, working as an officer of community development in Kisumu County and as a public relations officer for the Air India Corporation of East Africa. In 1962 Ogot read her short story “A Year of Sacrifice” at a conference on African Literature at Makerere University in Uganda. After discovering that there was no other work presented or displayed from East African writers, Ogot became motivated to publish her works, which she subsequently did both in the Luo language and in English. “A Year of Sacrifice” appeared in print as Ogot’s first published work in the African journal Black Orpheus in 1963. In 1964 her short story “The Rain Came” was published as part of the collection Modern African Stories, co-edited by Es’kia Mphahlele, who had organised the conference on African Literature at Makerere University in Uganda in 1962. “The Rain Came” was a reworked version of “A Year of Sacrifice” but considerably shortened and with a different beginning and ending. Also in 1964, the short story “Ward Nine” was published in the journal Transition. Ogot’s first novel The Promised Land, set in the 1930s, was published in 1966 and focused on Luo emigration and the problems that arise through migration. Her main protagonists emigrated from Nyanza to northern Tanzania, in search of fertile land and wealth. The story also focused on themes of tribal hatred, materialism, and traditional notions of femininity and wifely duties. 1968 saw the publishing of Land Without Thunder, a collection of short stories set in ancient Luoland. Ogot’s descriptions, literary tools, and storylines in Land Without Thunder offered a valuable insight into Luo culture in pre-colonial East Africa. Her other works included The Other Woman: Selected Short Stories (1976), Miaha (in Luo) (1983), translated as The Strange Bride by Okoth Okombo (1989), The Graduate (1980), and The Island of Tears (short stories) (1980). She was interviewed in 1974 by Lee Nichols for a Voice of America radio broadcast that was aired between 1975 and 1979 (Voice of America radio series Conversations with African Writers, no. 23). The Library of Congress has a copy of the broadcast tape and the unedited original interview. The broadcast transcript appears in the 1981 book Conversations with African Writers. In recognition of her blossoming literary career, she was named a delegate to the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1975, and as a member of the Kenya delegation to UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) in 1976. Having helped found the Writers’ Association of Kenya, she served as its chairman from 1975 to 1980. President Daniel Arap Moi appointed her to the Kenya Parliament in 1985 and as assistant minister for culture. In 1988 she was resoundingly returned to the Parliament from her husband’s home in Gem and was reappointed to her ministerial position. In recent years, Ogot was active in educational development in Kenya and East Africa. Among other initiatives, Ogot donated six acres of her family’s land in the Siaya province to the Odera Akang’o University. She was one of 570 women writers of the 20th-century chosen to appear in Modern Women Writers, a four-volume set including criticism, biographical material, and excerpts from published works, released in 1996. In 2012 she published Days of My Life: An Autobiography (died 2015): “Many of the stories I have told are based on day-to-day life… And in the final analysis, when the Church fails and the hospital fails, these people will always slip into something they trust, something within their own cultural background. It may appear to us mere superstition, but those who do believe in it do get healed. In day-to-day life in some communities in Kenya, both the modern and the traditional cures coexist.”

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