Daily Update: Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

Eusibius of Vercelli and Peter Faber and Peter Julian Eymard

Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Eusebius of Vercelli, Bishop (died 371), the Optional Memorial of Saint Peter Faber (died 1546), and the Optional Memorial of Saint Peter Julian Eymard, Priest (died 1868).

Saint Eusebius of Vercelli, Bishop (died 371) was born in 283 in Sardinia. He was a Priest in Rome before being consecrated as Bishop of Vercelli, Italy in 340. In 355 he was exiled to Palestine and Cappadocia due to his struggle against Arianism. The friend of Saint Athanasius of Alexandria, he was a prolific writer according to his contemporaries, though none of his works have survived save for three short letters. He was the first bishop to live with and follow the same rule as his priests. He is the Patron Saint of the city of Vercelli, Italy. Today is also the feast day of Saint Peter Faber, Priest (died 1546). Born in 1506 to a peasant family in Villaret in the Duchy of Savoy (now Saint-Jean-de-Sixt in the French Department of Haute-Savoie), he had little education, but a remarkable memory; he could hear a sermon in the morning and then repeat it verbatim in the afternoon for his friends. He was entrusted to the care of a priest at Thônes and later to a school in the neighboring village of La Roche-sur-Foron. In 1525 he was admitted to the Collège Sainte-Barbe, the oldest school in the University of Paris, where he shared his lodgings with  Francis Xavier. There Faber’s spiritual views began to develop, influenced by a combination of popular devotion, Christian humanism, and late medieval scholasticism. Faber and Xavier became close friends and both received the degree of Master of Arts on the same day in 1530. At the university, Faber also met Ignatius of Loyola and became one of his associates. He tutored Loyola in the philosophy of Aristotle, while Loyola tutored Faber in spiritual matters. He was the first among the small circle of men who formed the Society of Jesus to be ordained. Having become a priest on May 30th, 1534, he received the religious vows of Ignatius and his five companions at Montmartre on August 15, 1534. After Loyola himself, Faber was the one whom Xavier and his companions esteemed the most. Leaving Paris on November 15, 1536, Faber and his companions joined Loyola at Venice in January 1537. When war between Venice and the Turks prevented them from evangelizing the Holy Land as they planned, they decided to form the community that became the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuit Order. The group then traveled to Rome where they put themselves at the disposal of Pope Paul III. After Faber spent some months preaching and teaching, the Pope sent him to Parma and Piacenza, where he brought about a revival of Christian piety. Recalled to Rome in 1540, Faber was sent to Germany to uphold the position of the Catholic Church at the Diet of Worms and then at the Diet of Ratisbon in 1541. Faber was startled by the unrest that the Protestant movement had stirred up in Germany and by the decadence he found in the Catholic hierarchy. He decided that the remedy did not lie in discussions with the Protestants, but in the reform of the Roman Catholic, especially of the clergy. For ten months, at Speyer, at Ratisbon, and at Mainz, he conducted himself with gentleness with all those with whom he dealt. He influenced princes, prelates, and priests who opened themselves to him and amazed people by the effectiveness of his outreach. Faber possessed the gift of friendship to a remarkable degree. He was famous not for his preaching, but for his engaging conversations and his guidance of souls. He crisscrossed Europe on foot, guiding bishops, priests, nobles and common people alike in the Spiritual Exercises. Called to Spain by Loyola, he visited Barcelona, Zaragoza, Medinaceli, Madrid, and Toledo. In January 1542 the pope ordered him to Germany again. For the next nineteen months, Faber worked for the reform of Speyer, Mainz, and Cologne. The Archbishop of Cologne, Hermann of Wied, favored Lutheranism, which he later publicly embraced. Faber gradually gained the confidence of the clergy and recruited many young men to the Jesuits, among them Peter Canisius. After spending some months at Leuven in 1543, where he implanted the seeds of numerous vocations among the young, he returned to Cologne. Between 1544 and 1546, Faber continued his work in Portugal and Spain. Through his influence while at the royal court of Lisbon, Faber was instrumental in establishing the Society of Jesus in Portugal. There and in Spain, he was a fervent and effective preacher. He was called to preach in the principal cities of Spain, where he aroused fervor among the local populations and fostered vocations to the clergy. Among them there was Francis Borgia, another significant future Jesuits. King John III of Portugal wanted Faber made Patriarch of Ethiopia. In 1546 Faber was appointed by Pope Paul III to act as a peritus (expert) on behalf of the Holy See at the Council of Trent. Faber, at age 40, was exhausted by his incessant efforts and his unceasing journeys, always made on foot. In April 1546 he left Spain to attend the Council and reached Rome, weakened by fever, on July 17th, 1546. He died, reportedly in the arms of Loyola, on  August 2nd, 1546. Faber’s body was initially buried at the Church of Our Lady of the Way, which served as a center for the Jesuit community. When that church was demolished to allow for the construction of the Church of the Gesù, his remains and those of others among the first Jesuits were exhumed, and his remains are now in the crypt near the entrance to the Gesù. Those who had known Faber in life already invoked him as a saint. Faber was beatified on September 2nd, 1872. Pope Francis, on his own 77th birthday, December 17th, 2013, announced Faber’s canonization. He used a process known as equivalent canonization that dispenses with the standard judicial procedures and ceremonies in the case of someone long venerated. He is the Patron Saint of Catholic renewal, and of those directing and taking the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola. We also honor Saint Peter Julian Eymard, Priest (died 1868). Born in 1811 in La Mure, France, he grew up in a poor family during the anti-clerical, anti-Catholic aftermath of the French Revolution. His first attempt at the priesthood, against his family’s wishes, ended when he had to withdraw from the seminary due to illness; he never completely recovered his health. He returned, however, and was ordained in 1834 in the diocese of Grenoble, France. He joined the Marist Fathers in 1839; the friend of Saint John Mary Vianney, he became the Provincial Superior of the Society of Mary in 1845. Peter had a strong Marian devotion, and traveled to the assorted Marian shrines and apparition sites in France. He organized lay societies under the direction of the Marists, preached and taught, and worked for Eucharistic devotion. He felt a call to found a new religious society, and founded the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament in 1856, and the lay Servants of the Blessed Sacrament in 1858. His work encountered a series of setbacks, including have to close his nascent houses and move twice, and the failure of his houses to support themselves financially. However, his vision of priests, deacons, sisters, and lay people dedicated to the spiritual values celebrated in the Mass and prayer before the Blessed Sacrament anticipated many of the renewals brought about by Vatican Councils I and II. Late in life, during a lengthy retreat in Rome, he became more mystical as he came in closer communion with the love of Christ. Six volumes of his personal letters and nine volumes of his meditations have been printed in English, and he is known as the Apostle of the Eucharist. He is the Patron Saint of Saint Jean Baptiste Catholic Church in New York City, New York.

I did my Book Devotional Reading, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Sixth Day of my Transfiguration Novena. I also did a bit of tweaking on my Galaxy Note 4; I switched from using Digical instead of the Google Calendar app, and the Reminders ‘calendar’ on Google Calendar does not transfer over to Digical, apparently because it’s not a real ‘calendar’. (I still think Digical is great; it has Search and a Go To Date, which the Google Calendar app did not have.) When we clocked in, Richard was on Pai Gow; I started out on Let It Ride, closed that table, went to Flop Poker, closed that table, changed Blackjack cards, then ended up on Three Card Poker for the rest of the day. On my breaks I started reading Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin; three characters were introduced in the Prologue, and by Page 21, all three of them are dead (or the apparently equivalent). This ties in with all of I have heard of Game of Thrones (both book and mini-series), which is “don’t become attached to any given character”.

I was not feeling at my best when we clocked out (I was very tired, and not feeling all that great). At the Clinic Richard went to his appointment with the Dietician; she was happy with him, and wants to see him on October 10th, half an hour after his appointment to see the Nurse Practitioner. Richard then picked up the prescription he had called in yesterday, and found that all three of my prescriptions (one from my Ob/Gyn and two from my Psych) had been denied. (More anon.) When we got home from work I went straight to bed; Richard called Hotels.com and got them to change the email address to send stuff to me about my hotel room in the City next week (yesterday he gave them the wrong Email for me). While I took a nap, he paid the in-town bills and went to the grocery store. The New Moon arrived at 3:47 pm while I was sleeping, as did my new American Express card in the mail.

I woke up at about 4:30 pm and read the morning paper while watching Jeopardy!. Michelle came over, but was not hungry, and we decided to go to D.I.’s on Thursday afternoon. She also let us know that she and her boyfriend are officially split up. I came to the computer to do today’s Daily Update, and then I will get ready to go to bed. Derek is due to come by to pick up Bobby Brown (we hate having to get him out of the house, but old Bobby has taken to peeing in the house where he is not supposed to pee).

Tomorrow we have no Saints to honor, so we will instead note that it was on this date in 1492 that Christopher Columbus sets sail from Palos de la Frontera, Spain. (Columbus was not sailing to prove that the world was round, which fact had been known to the ancient Greeks; he was sailing to find a new route to the East Indies, which according to his calculations he would reach in about two months. He had difficulty getting financing for his venture, because the experts said it would take closer to a year to sail to the Indies. The experts were right, except that they did not allow for North America to be in the way.) Tomorrow is also Richard’s birthday (1957), so for a month and two days he will be two years older than me. I will get up early and do my laundry and do the Weekend Computer Maintenance; I will then head for Lafayette, first stopping at my Ob/Gyn’s office to ask why on earth they would deny my prescription. In the Hub I will go to my Psych’s office to ask them about my two prescriptions, then I will eat lunch and put in some Comfy Chair time. I will then get home in time for dinner; Richard plans to do barbeque with the trimmings.

Our Tuesday Evening Parting Quote comes to us from John Keegan, British military historian. Born in 1934 in Clapham, London, England, his family was of Irish Catholic extraction, and his father had served in the First World War. At the age of 13 Keegan contracted orthopaedic tuberculosis, which subsequently affected his gait. The long-term effects of his tuberculosis rendered him unfit for military service, and the timing of his birth made him too young for service in World War II, so he never served in the military. The illness also interrupted his education during his teenage years; however, his education included a period at King’s College, Taunton, and two years at Wimbledon College, which led to entry to Balliol College, Oxford, in 1953. Following graduation he worked at the American Embassy in London for three years. In 1960 he was appointed to a lectureship in Military History at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, the training establishment for officers of the British Army. Holding the post for 26 years, he became senior lecturer in military history during his tenure. During this period he also held a visiting professorship at Princeton University and was Delmas Distinguished Professor of History at Vassar College. Keegan’s books include a traditional battle-by-battle coverage of conflict, experience of the individual, historical causes of military events, technological change in warfare, military strategy, and challenges of leadership. He wrote mainly for the educated non-specialist reader. His histories of war include those of the First and Second World Wars. His work examined warfare throughout history, including human prehistory and the classical era; however the majority of his work concentrated on the 14th Century onwards to modern conflict of the 20th and 21st Centuries. With Richard Holmes he wrote the BBC documentary Soldiers, a history of men in battle in 1985. Leaving Sandhurst in 1986 Keegan joined the Daily Telegraph as a Defence Correspondent and remained with the publication as Defence Editor until his death, also writing for the American conservative website National Review Online. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature (FRSL) in 1986. On June 29, 1991, as a war correspondent for The Daily Telegraph, Keegan was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) “in recognition of service within the operations in the Gulf”. In A History of Warfare (1993), Keegan outlined the development and limitations of warfare from prehistory to the modern era, considering the use of horses, logistics, and “fire”. One key concept put forward was that war is inherently cultural. In the introduction, he rigorously denounced the idiom “war is a continuation of policy by other means”, rejecting on its face “Clausewitzian” ideas. Keegan’s discussion of Clausewitz was, however, heavily criticized as uninformed and inaccurate, by writers like Peter Paret, Christopher Bassford, and Richard M. Swain. In another controversial position, Keegan claimed that cultural forces, not technology, produced the enhanced mayhem of the World Wars. Specifically, Keegan stated that mandatory public education created a homogenized populace that was more willing to accept conscription and other governmental demands. Keegan’s 1997 Fields of Battle: The Wars for North America, which gave accounts of many of the wars fought on the soil of North America, also contained opening and closing essays on his own personal relationship to America. In 1998 he wrote and presented the BBC’s Reith Lectures, entitled War in our World. His last book was The American Civil War (2009)  In the Millennium New Year Honours he was knighted “for services to Military History” (died 2012): “The great Chinese classics have always said that it’s better not to fight; that the clever man achieves his ends without violence; that a battle delayed is better than a battle fought.”


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