Daily Update: Friday, May 13th, 2016

Julian of Norwich and Our Lady of Fátima and Friday the 13th

On this date we have the Optional Memorial of Blessed Julian of Norwich, Anchoress (died c. 1423), the Optional Memorial of Our Lady of Fatíma. Today is also the anniversary of the Renaissance of my marital relationship with Richard in 1997. And today is Friday the Thirteenth, our first one since November 2015.

Almost nothing is known of the early life of Julian of Norwich, except that she was born about 1342; her real name is also unknown. In 1373, while on what she believed to be her deathbed, she received sixteen revelations while in an ecstatic trance. Not long after her recovery, she wrote a short book detailing her revelations, known to history as the Short Text; thirty years later, after meditating on the revelations, she wrote the Long Text of the Revelations of Divine Love. She meditated on, spoke on, and wrote on the power of love of evil, Christ’s Passion, and the nature of the Trinity. In her early 60s she shut herself in as an anchoress at the Church of St Julian in Norwich, and never left again; the peripatetic mystic Margery Kempe wrote that she had visited the anchoress in about 1414. Poet T. S. Eliot incorporated text from the Revelations of Divine Love into Little Gidding (1942), the fourth of his Four Quartets. She was never formally beatified, but is considered “blessed” due to popular devotion, and I count her as one of my favorite saints (recognized by Rome or not). Today is also the Feast of Our Lady of Fátima, commemorating the date in 1917  (ninety-nine years ago) when Our Lady first appeared to ten year old Lúcia Santos and her younger cousins, siblings Jacinta and Francisco Marto, who were tending sheep near their town of Fâtima, Portugal. Her message to the children was to pray, and to especially pray the Rosary for personal and world peace. Francisco Marto died in 1919 at the age of 10, and his younger sister Jacinta Marto died in 1920 at the age of 9; they were both honored as Blesseds by the Church in 2000, with Jacinta being the youngest non-martyr child to be so recognized. Lúcia Santos entered the convent in 1925 and received further visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, including one in 1925 when she was asked to spread the First Saturday Devotion; she died in 2005 at the age of 97, and her cause for sainthood was opened in 2008, making her a Servant of God. Today is the anniversary of the day in 1997 when Richard and I experienced a Renaissance of our marital relationship. We have been trying over the past year to awaken things again, but I keep on falling into the same old ruts; I am hopeful that this year will be a very good year for our relationship. Turning to Friday the Thirteenth, the fear of the number 13 has been given a scientific name: triskaidekaphobia; and on analogy to this the fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskevidekatriaphobia, from the Greek words Paraskeví (Παρασκευή, meaning “Friday”), and dekatreís (δεκατρείς, meaning “thirteen”), attached to phobia (from phóbos, meaning “fear”). The word was derived in 1911 and first appeared in a mainstream source in 1953. While the number thirteen has been considered unlucky since perhaps the Last Supper (which had twelve disciples, plus Jesus), and while Friday has been considered an unlucky day to undertake journeys or begin new projects at least since the 14th century, as witnessed by Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, the combination of the two does not appear to have been considered doubly unlucky until the 20th century. It is possible that the publication in 1907 of Thomas W. Lawson’s popular novel Friday, the Thirteenth contributed to disseminating the superstition. In the novel an unscrupulous broker takes advantage of the superstition to create a Wall Street panic on a Friday the 13th. According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of this day. Some people are so paralyzed by fear that they avoid their normal routines in doing business, taking flights or even getting out of bed. At the casino, I have never noticed that fear of the day affects our business in any great fashion. (In Italy, Friday the 17th is considered unlucky; the 2000 parody film Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the Thirteenth was released in Italy with the title Shriek – Hai impegni per venerdì 17? (“Shriek – Do You Have Something to Do on Friday the 17th?“). Our next Friday the Thirteenth will be in January of 2017.

I did my Book Devotional Reading, and posted to Facebook that today was Friday the 13th. I also set up my Special K Cereal for snacks at work. On our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Eighth Day of my Pentecost Novena. When we clocked in, Richard was on Mini Baccarat (with two core guests who stayed for the whole shift); I was the Relief Dealer for Mini Baccarat and Pai Gow, and for my first rotation I also broke the Sit-Down Blackjack table once. On my breaks I started reading The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan; I also called Uniforms, but the rust dealer shirts will not be ready until at least next Friday.

After work I picked up my prescriptions (and one for Richard) at the Pharmacy, and when we got into town Richard got gas for the truck. The First Quarter Moon arrived at 12:03 pm. We then went to the bank; our bank officer told us to deposit the whole check into our checking account, and then to check with her on Monday to see if the check had cleared yet. When the check does clear, then we can use our Online Banking to send the amount we desire to Matthew’s checking account (like doing an online payment to one of our credit cards bills), and put the remainder of the money (that we wish to hold for our 2016 taxes) in a simple savings account, so that we will not be tempted to spend it. When we got home I read the morning paper and ate my lunch salad, then called Callie to let her know what was going on. I then took a nap, which lasted until 5:30 pm (Richard had gone to bed earlier). Our #11 Ranked LSU Tigers will be playing the first game of a three-game away College Baseball series against Tennessee this evening; I will record the score of the game in tomorrow’s Daily Update.

Tomorrow is the Feast of Saint Matthias, Apostle (died 80), and tomorrow will be the last weekday of the Easter season. It is also the birthday of Richard’s oldest brother Butch (1941) and of the kids’ friend Logan (1984). We will work our eight hours, and I will, before I go to bed tomorrow afternoon or evening, try to get to at least the half-way point of The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan. In the afternoon our #11 Ranked LSU Tigers will be playing the second game of a three-game away College Baseball series against Tennessee. I will head to the Adoration Chapel and do my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration.

On this Friday the 13th afternoon our Parting Quote comes to us from Dr. Joyce Brothers, American psychologist, television personality and columnist. Born as Joyce Bauer in 1927 in Brooklyn, New York, her parents were Jewish attorneys. After high school she entered Cornell University, double majoring in home economics and psychology, and earned her Ph.D degree in psychology from Columbia University. During this time she married Milton Brothers, an internist, in 1949. The American Association of University Women AAUW awarded Brothers the American Fellowship in 1952, which enabled her to complete the doctoral degree. Brothers gained fame in late 1955 by winning The $64,000 Question game show, on which she appeared as an expert in the subject area of boxing. Originally, she had not planned to have boxing as her topic, but the sponsors suggested it, and she agreed. A voracious reader, she studied every reference book about boxing that she could find; she would later tell reporters that it was thanks to her good memory that she assimilated so much material and answered even the most difficult questions. After seven weeks on the show she became the second person, and only woman, to win the $64,000 top prize. Two years later, Brothers appeared on a successor program, The $64,000 Challenge, which matched the contestant against experts in the field. Again, Brothers walked off with the maximum prize. Her success on The $64,000 Question earned Brothers a chance to be the color commentator for CBS during the boxing match between Carmen Basilio and Sugar Ray Robinson. She was said to have been the first woman boxing commentator. By August 1958 Brothers was given her own television show on a New York station, but her topic was not sports; she began doing an advice show about relationships, during which she answered questions from the audience. She claimed to have been the first television psychologist. In 1959, allegations that quiz shows were rigged, due to the Charles Van Doren controversy on the quiz show Twenty One, began to surface and stirred controversy. Despite these claims, Brothers insisted she had not cheated, nor ever been given any answers to questions in advance. During a 1959 hearing in the quiz show scandal, a producer exonerated her of involvement. Brothers presented syndicated advice shows on both television and radio, during a broadcasting career that lasted more than four decades. Her shows changed names numerous times, from The Dr. Joyce Brothers Show to Consult Dr. Brothers to Tell Me, Dr. Brothers to Ask Dr. Brothers to Living Easy with Dr. Joyce Brothers. In 1964 she interviewed and posed for publicity photographs with The Beatles on their first visit to the United States. Brothers also had a monthly column in Good Housekeeping magazine for almost four decades, and a syndicated newspaper column that she began writing in the 1970s and which at its height was printed in more than 300 newspapers. By the early 1970s she was famous enough that she appeared in several television shows (both dramas and comedies) as herself in the person of a psychologist, and also appeared in The Lonely Guy (1984), Analyze That (2002), and Van Wilder: Party Liaison (2002). She also published several books including the 1981 book What Every Woman Should Know About Men, and the 1991 book Widowed, inspired by the loss of her husband in 1989 (died 2013): “Before your dreams can come true, you have to have those dreams.”

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