Daily Update: Monday, May 2nd, 2016

Athanasius and Wiborada

Today is the Memorial of Saint Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor (died 373) and the Optional Memorial of Saint Wiborada, Religious and Martyr (died 926), and today is the first of three Minor Rogation Days in the Catholic Church.

Our first Saint was born about 295 at Alexandria, Egypt, where Athanasius studied the classics and theology and became the deacon, secretary, and student of Bishop Alexander of Alexandria. He attended the Council of Nicea in 325 where he fought for the defeat of Arianism and acceptance of the divinity of Jesus. Toward this end, he formulated the doctrine of homo-ousianism which says that Christ is the same substance as the Father; Arianism taught that Christ was different from and a creation of the Father, a creature and not part of God. He became Bishop of Alexandria in approximately 328; he served in that post for 46 years. When the dispute over Arianism spilled over from theology to politics, Athanasius was exiled five separate times, spending more than a third of his episcopate in exile. A Confessor of the faith and Doctor of the Church, he fought for the acceptance of the Nicene Creed. His classic Life of St Anthony was translated into several languages and played an important role in the spreading of the ascetic ideal in Eastern and Western Christianity. We also honor Saint Wiborada, Religious and Martyr (died 926). Born sometime in the 9th century at Klingna, Aargau, Switzerland, she was a member of the Swabian nobility. Her brother, Hatto, was a priest and provost of Saint Magnus church. Wiborada turned her home into a hospital for the sick poor people that her brother brought to her. After a pilgrimage to Rome, she became a Benedictine nun at Saint Gall’s monastery, where she worked as a bookbinder. The subject of virulent criticism, she eventually withdrew further from the world, becoming an anchoress first near Saint Gall’s, then near her brother’s church. Noted for her austerity, and for her gift of prophecy, she drew many visitors and would-be students. One of her prophecies involved the Hungarian invasion of her region; her warning allowed the priests and religious of Saint Gall and Saint Magnus to escape after hiding all the books in their libraries, but Wiborada refused to leave her hermit’s cell. When the Magyar marauders reached St. Gall, they burned down St. Magnus and broke into the roof of Wiborada’s cell. Upon finding her kneeling in prayer, they clove her skull with a hatchet and left her to die. Saint Wiborada was the first woman formally canonized by the Vatican, by Pope Clement II in 1047, and is the Patron Saint of libraries and librarians. This Monday is the first of three Minor Rogation Days (the three days before the Feast of the Ascension), and is a day when we ask for the blessings of God upon our crops and our undertakings. The Minor Rogations were introduced by Saint Mamertus, Bishop of Vienne, and were afterwards ordered by the Fifth Council of Orléans, which was held in 511, and then approved by Leo III (795-816). They were removed from the General Calendar in 1969, but I note them in this weblog.

I woke up at 9:00 am, did my Book Devotional Reading, did my Internet Devotional Reading, and said the Fourth Day of my Ascension Novena. I then called the Pharmacy and renewed two prescriptions. Then, I read the morning paper.

At 1:00 pm Richard and I went out; at Verizon we found that we are not yet eligible for a full upgrade. On our way home Richard stopped at Little Caesar’s and got pizza pizza. When we got home at 1:45 pm, our mail had brought me the bra I had ordered from Amazon (and a pack of two-hook extenders). I did not like the way the bra fit, so I got on the computer and printed out return labels for Amazon (more anon). Still on Amazon, I ordered a bra from a different company, ordered two Black Ice Screen Protectors for my Galaxy Note 4, and A Sea of Words: A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O’Brian (Third Edition) by
by Dean King, John B. Hattendorf, and J. Worth Estes. Richard went to bed at about 3:00 pm, and I made my lunch salads for tomorrow and Wednesday. I then watched Jeopardy!, and then came to the computer to do today’s Daily Update; when I finish this Daily Update I will head for bed.

Tomorrow is the Feast of Saint Philip (died c. 80) and Saint James (died c.62), Apostles. It is also the second of the three Minor Rogation Days. Tomorrow is also the last day of our work week, although it does not feel like it, since we took Sunday and Monday off from work. We will sign the Early Out list, although our chances of getting out early (being down eight hours already in the pay period, which started on Monday), are probably not good. (Last Tuesday they got two people out early; the Tuesday before, everyone who was on the list got out early.) On my breaks at work I will continue reading magazines. After work I will pick up my prescriptions at the Pharmacy. In the afternoon I will package up the bra I am sending back to Amazon (which I will then take down to the UPS dropoff at the hardware store), and I will package up the bra extenders I am sending back to Amazon (which I can drop in our mailbox to go out in the outgoing mail). And I do not have much of anything else scheduled for tomorrow.

Our Parting Quote on this Monday afternoon comes to us from Jack Kemp, American football player and politician. Born in 1935 in Los Angeles, California, Kemp grew up in the heavily-Jewish Wilshire district of West Los Angeles, but his tight-knit middle class family practiced in the Church of Christ, Scientist. After graduating from high school in 1953, he attended Occidental College, a founding member of the NCAA Division III Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Kemp selected the college because its football team used professional formations and plays, which he hoped would help him to become a professional quarterback. At Occidental, Kemp was a record-setting javelin hurler and played several positions on the football team: quarterback, defensive back, place kicker, and punter. After graduating from college with a degree in physical education in 1957, he married his college sweetheart, became a Presbyterian (her religion), pursued postgraduate studies in economics at Long Beach State University and California Western University, and served in the military from 1958 to 1962. Kemp was a professional quarterback for 13 years. He played briefly in the National Football League (NFL) and the Canadian Football League (CFL), but became a star in the American Football League (AFL). He served as captain of both the San Diego Chargers and Buffalo Bills and earned the AFL Most Valuable Player award in 1965 after leading the Bills to a second consecutive championship. He played in the AFL for all 10 years of its existence, appeared in its All-Star game seven times, played in its championship game five times, and set many of the league’s career passing records. Kemp also co-founded the AFL Players Association, for which he served five terms as president. During the early part of his football career, he served in the United States Army Reserve. Despite his success and important AFL records, he is most prominently listed in the NFL record book for less flattering accomplishments, including his place as a former record holder for most quarterback sacks in a game. He began his political career when he was elected to the United States House of Representatives from New York’s 39th District in 1970, a post he held until becoming the Representative from New York’s 38th District in 1973. He held that post for ten years, becoming the Representative from New York’s 31st District in 1983, a post he held until 1989. He ran for the 1988 Presidential nomination, but lost to eventual President George Bush, who picked Kemp as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, whose job would be to foster public sector and private sector methods to meet the demands of public housing. However, the scandals of Reagan’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Samuel Pierce and the neglect of the president were obstacles from the start, and Kemp was unsuccessful at either of his major initiatives: enacting enterprise zones and promoting public housing tenant ownership. President Bush avoided federal antipoverty issues, and instead used Kemp as a mouthpiece to speak on the administration’s low priority conservative activist agenda. He left the administration in 1993; by 1994 he had embarked on 241 fund-raising dinners to raise $35 million for a 1996 Presidential bid and to pay off his 1988 campaign debts. In 1992 and 1993 Kemp was considered the favorite or co-favorite for the 1996 Presidential nomination. On August 16th, 1996, the Republican Party chose Kemp as its vice presidential nominee, running alongside former Senator Dole. After receiving the nomination, Kemp became the ticket’s spokesman for minorities and the inner-city. Dole and Kemp lost the 1996 election to Clinton and Gore; the late 1990s, Kemp remained outspoken on political issues: he was critical of Clinton’s International Monetary Fund lax policies toward South Korea. Kemp continued his political advocacy for reform of taxation, Social Security and education. When a 1997 budget surplus was earmarked for debt repayment, Kemp opposed the plan in favor of tax cuts. Along with John Ashcroft and Alan Krueger he endorsed reform of payroll taxes to eliminate double taxation. In addition to his fiscal and economic policies, Kemp advocated against abortion when Congress was considering a bill banning intact dilation and extractions. He also advocated for retired NFL veterans on issues such as cardiovascular screening, assisted living, disability benefits, and the 2007 joint replacement program. In the late 1990s Kemp also was a vocal advocate for free market reform in Africa, arguing that the continent had great economic growth potential if it could shed autocratic and statist governmental policies. In early 1998, he was a serious contender for the 2000 United States presidential election, but his campaign possibilities faltered, and he instead endorsed eventual winner George W. Bush. In the early 21st century Kemp continued to be considered along with Reagan as the politician most responsible for the implementation of supply-side tax cuts and along with Steve Forbes as the political figure most responsible for their continued place in the marketplace of political ideas. He was described as a beacon of economic conservatism and a hero for his urban agenda. Kemp was considered the leader of the progressive conservatives who adhered to the hard right on social issues, but avoided protectionist fiscal and trade policy (died 2009): “Pro football gave me a good perspective. When I entered the political arena, I had already been booed, cheered, cut, sold, traded, and hung in effigy.”

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