Daily Update: Sunday, July 24th, 2016

Charbel Makhlouf

Today is the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time and the Optional Memorial of Saint Charbel Makhlouf, Priest (died 1898). It is also the birthday of my Internet friend Jillian in Maryland (1981).

Born as Youssef Antoun Makhloufin 1828 in Beka-Kafra, Lebanon, today’s Saint was the son of a mule driver and raised by an uncle who opposed the boy’s youthful piety. The boy’s favorite book was a translation of Thomas a Kempis’s The Imitation of Christ. At age 23 he entered the Maronite Monastery of Our Lady of Lebanon (north of Byblos). After a two-year novitiate, in 1853, he was sent to the Saint Maron-Annaya Monastery where he pronounced the monastic vows of poverty, chastity and obedience; he took the name of Charbel (Sharbel) in memory of a 2nd century martyr. He professed his solemn vows in 1853, and was ordained in 1859, becoming a heiromonk, or a monk who was also a priest. He lived as a model monk, but dreamed of living like the ancient desert fathers; from 1875, for the next twenty-three years, he lived as a hermit, living on the bare minimums of everything. He gained a reputation for holiness, and was much sought for counsel and blessing. He had a great personal devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, and was known to levitate during his prayers. Several post-mortem miracles were attributed to him, including periods in 1927 and 1950 when a bloody “sweat” flowed from his corpse. His tomb has become a place of pilgrimage for Lebanese and non-Lebanese, Christian and non-Christian alike. As a member of the Lebanese Maronite Order and as a Saint of the Maronite rite, Saint Charbel is an exemplar of the Maronite expression of Catholic holiness and values. As a Saint of the Universal Church, his example of virtue and intercessory power is available to Catholics of all backgrounds. Faithful to his Maronite spirituality, Saint Charbel became a Saint for the Universal Church. And today is also the birthday of my Internet friend Jillian in Maryland (1981).

I had a hard time waking up, and did not do my Devotional Reading (mea culpa). Richard discovered that the kitten (LB, or Little Black) had been peeing on the pile of clothes in the corner of our room, so he put the kitten out when we went to work. I forgot to bring my salad dressing for my salad in ADR, and my wallet (Richard gave me $10; thank you, Richard). When we clocked in, Richard was on the $5.00 Minimum Bet Blackjack table; I was on the Macau Mini Baccarat table, and when my Macau players left it became a regular Mini Baccarat table.

On our way home we stopped at Ken and Lisa’s house, and visited for a bit with them, Callie, the baby, my daughter, and Callie’s brother, his wife, and the two boys. I ate a doughnut hole and a doughnut, and we said our goodbyes to Callie and the baby, who are flying back to Connecticut today. On our way home we stopped at Champagne’s, where Richard got a fried chicken plate lunch for his meal. All of our cats were waiting for us when we got home, including Little Bit, who apparently does not mind being outside at all. Once home, I was not hungry, so I just read the morning papers; I then came to the computer to do today’s Daily Update, and when I finish with that, I will go to bed to sleep the sleep of the just.

Tomorrow is the Feast of Saint James the Greater, Apostle (died 44), and the Optional Memorial of Saint Christopher, Martyr (died about 251). The 2016 Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, begins tomorrow. And tomorrow is also the birthday of Richard’s cousin Lele here in town (1947). Tomorrow is the first day of the new two-week pay period at the casino (known as Free For All Monday, because priority on the Early Out is solely by who signs the list first). And in the afternoon I will be on the computer.

Our Parting Quote this Sunday afternoon comes to us from Garry Davis, International Peace Activist. Born as Sol Gareth Davis in 1921 in Bar Harbor, Maine, his father was Meyer Davis, a society bandleader. He attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) to study drama and worked on Broadway as Danny Kaye’s understudy. During World War II he served in the United States Army as a PB-17 bomber pilot. His brother died in the war, and he took such a negative view of his own actions in the war that he voluntarily gave up his American citizenship in Paris in May 1948, in order to become a “citizen of the world”. (After accepting his renunciation, he was asked to leave the United States Embassy building in Paris.) Desperate to prevent what he considered to be the impending World War III, Davis drew international notice when he hauled a makeshift bed to a United Nations meeting in Paris and announced that he would not leave until the body recognized him as “the first citizen of the world.” The United Nations declined to comply. Davis next founded the International Registry of World Citizens in Paris in January 1949, which eventually registered over 750,000 individuals. In France his support committee was co-founded by writers Albert Camus and André Gide and Emmaus movement originator Abbé Pierre, as well as Robert Sarrazac, a former leader of the French Résistance who joined Davis in founding the World Cities movement Mundialization. Davis lived for many years in France, at one point making a living as an importer of English pipe cleaners and at another as the proprietor of a diaper service. He traveled with some frequency, sometimes at the demand of the country he was visiting. He was shooed out of England in 1953 after he tried to force entry into Buckingham Palace to speak with Queen Elizabeth II about extending his visitor’s permit. The Miami Herald reported that the British once gave Davis a one-way trip to India and that the French discovered him as a stowaway and then sent him back to New York on a banana boat. On September 4th, 1953 Davis declared the World Government of World Citizens from the city hall of Ellsworth, Maine, based on fundamental human rights; the founding principle is One Spirit; One World; One Humankind. He then formed the World Service Authority in 1954 as the government’s executive and administrative agency, which now issues passports, along with birth and other certificates, to applicants. World Service Authority passports, printed in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Chinese and Esperanto, cost $55 for three years of validity, $75 for five years and $100 for ten years. Togo, Mauritania, Ecuador, Zambia, Tanzania and Burkina Faso have accepted the travel documents on “a de juris or juridical basis,” according to the group’s Web site. Davis first used his world passport on a trip to India in 1956, and was admitted into some countries using his world passport. More than 180 countries have accepted the world passport at one time or another. He was jailed more than 30 times, according to a news account, including charges of producing fraudulent documents by those nations taking a dim view of his world passport. He wrote his first book, My Country is the World: The Adventures of a World Citizen, in 1961. Davis ran for mayor in Washington D.C. in 1986 as the candidate of the “World Citizen Party”, receiving 585 votes. He also declared himself as the World Citizen Party candidate for the 1988 United States presidential election; his party’s ticket advocated, among other measures, total disarmament and global government. In 1991 The Washington Post reported that the State Department had determined the World Service Authority was not legally empowered to print passports, and critics charged that Davis was hawking “false hope” to stateless people who had few other places to turn for help. At the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Davis issued and disbursed a world currency based on kilowatt hours of solar power produced, an idea originally proposed by Buckminster Fuller. His last book was 2006’s Dear World: A Global Odyssey. On March 2012 at age 90 he agreed to begin broadcasting a weekly radio show, “World Citizen Radio”, on the Global Radio Alliance. Also in 2012 Davis sent Wikileaks founder and refugee of the Ecuadorean embassy in London Julian Assange a World Passport. Only weeks before he died, Davis sent a passport to Edward Snowden, who had fled the United States after releasing classified NSA documents to media outlets, in Moscow in care of the Russian authorities (died 2013): “Many people consider my renunciation of nationality as unpatriotic and un-American. It is neither. Patriotism or love for one’s country is totally dependent on love for one’s planetary community. How can the part survive without the whole?”

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