Daily Update: Monday, October 17th, 2016

Sukkot 2 and Ignatius of Antioch

Since sunset last night it has been the beginning of the Jewish feast of Sukkot, the harvest festival. Today is the Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr (died 107).

The holiday of Sukkot lasts for seven days, and during those days observant Jews eat, sleep, and live as much as possible in temporary huts called Sukkot. A sukkah (singular of sukkot) must have three walls, should be at least three feet tall, and be positioned so that all or part of its roof is open to the sky. A sukkah can be built on the ground or on an open porch or balcony. The roof covering, known as s‘chach in Hebrew, must consist of something that grew from the earth but is currently disconnected from it. Palm leaves, bamboo sticks, pine branches, wood and the like can all be used for s’chach, unless they were processed previously for a different use. There must be enough s’chach that inside the sukkah there should be more shade than sun. However, there must be sufficient gaps between the pieces of s’chach so that rain can come through. Leviticus describes the sukkah as a symbolic wilderness shelter, commemorating the time God provided for the Israelites in the wilderness they inhabited after they were freed from slavery in Egypt. Today’s Saint was born c. 35 in Syria; legend holds that Ignatius was the infant that Jesus took into His arms in the Ninth Chapter of Mark. A convert from paganism to Christianity, he succeeded Saint Peter the Apostle as bishop of Antioch, Syria, serving in that position for some forty years and during the persecution of Domitian. During the persecution of Trajan he was ordered taken to Rome to be killed by wild animals. On the way, a journey which took months, he wrote a series of encouraging letters to the churches under his care. These letters of Ignatius have proved to be important testimony to the development of Catholic theology, since the number of extant writings from this period of Church history is very small. They bear signs of being written in great haste and without a proper plan, such as run-on sentences and an unsystematic succession of thought. Ignatius is the earliest known catholic writer to emphasize loyalty to a single bishop in each city (or diocese) who is assisted by presbyters (possibly elders and deacons). One of the Apostolic Fathers, he was ultimately martyred in the Flavian Amphitheatre by being killed by lions. He is the Patron Saint of the Church in North Africa and of the Eastern Mediterranean; his aid is invoked against diseases of the throat.

Yesterday afternoon our New Orleans Saints came close to losing their home NFL Division game, but managed to beat the Carolina Panthers by the score of 41 to 38. Our New Orleans Saints (2-3, 1-1) will next play an Away game with the Kansas City Chiefs (3-2, 2-0) on October 23rd, 2016. And I finished reading First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde.

I did my Book Devotional Reading, and Richard gathered up the trash and wheeled the trash bin out to the curb. I also brought my Red Dealer Shirt with me to work, along with the Work Order (more anon). On our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading. In ADR I called in several prescriptions. When we clocked in, Richard was the Relief Dealer for Mini Baccarat and Pai Gow, and I was on Pai Gow. On my breaks I finished reading A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay.

After work I took my Red Dealer shirt to Uniforms, but until further notice they are not doing alterations or exchanges on Mondays, as that is the day when New Hires get uniforms. At the Pharmacy I picked up seven prescriptions, and on our way home we stopped by the Bank to speak to the Loan Officer about our annual vacation loan.

Once home I read the morning paper (and yesterday’s local Sunday paper) while eating my lunch salad. I then came to the computer and did my Book Review for this weblog and for my Goodreads and Facebook accounts for First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde, and did my Book Review for this weblog and for my Goodreads and Facebook accounts for A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay. I then went through my prescriptions, and figured out that I need to renew seven prescriptions (some of which were renewed today, but I need more to cover the two weeks before our vacation and the three weeks of vacation). I then did up a couple of sheets for the books we are considering for my third Tuesday book Club for 2017. Richard went to bed, and I watched Jeopardy! And I will now finish this Daily Update and go to bed after starting my reading of One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde.

Tomorrow is the Feast of Saint Luke, Evangelist (died c. 74). And tomorrow is the anniversary of the date in 1999 when I first started working at the casino. (Richard started working at the casino in 2000. In 2001 I had colon cancer, was out for three months, and was terminated. I started back again at the casino in December 2001, with my old employee number again, but for purposes of determining how long I have been at the casino, they go with my second hire date.) I will get up half an hour early, and we will sign the Early Out list at the casino. On my breaks I will start reading Murder in the Bayou: Who Killed the Women Known as the Jeff Davis 8? by Ethan Brown. In any case I will be in Lafayette at 7:00 pm tomorrow evening for the Third Tuesday Book Club Meeting, where I will get the final lists of books to consider, and where we will discuss A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay. And our New Orleans Pelicans will play an away Preseason NBA game with the Atlanta Hawks. 

Our Monday Afternoon Parting Quote comes to us from Mother Antonia, American Catholic nun and activist. Born as Mary Clarke in 1926 in Los Angeles, California, her father was a successful businessman, and she was raised in Beverly Hills. She married young, and had seven children with two husbands. Not content with just raising a family, she was also heavily involved in charitable activities, all the while running her deceased father’s business. In 1969, at the age of 43, she had a dream that she was a prisoner at Calvary and about to be executed when Jesus appeared to her and offered to take her place. She refused his offer, touched him on the cheek, and told him she would never leave him, no matter what happened to her. At some point in the 1970s she chose to devote her life to the Church, in part because of this dream. In a period of just a few years, she divorced, sold her home and possessions, and began to serve full time the prisoners at La Mesa penitentiary in Tijuana, Mexico. As an older, divorced woman, Clarke was banned by church rules from joining any established religious order, so she went about her work on her own. After a year her service to prisoners came to the attention of Bishop Juan Jesus Posadas of Tijuana and Bishop Leo Maher of neighboring San Diego. She was officially welcomed and blessed by both Bishops; Bishop Maher made her an auxiliary to him while Bishop Posadas made her an auxiliary Mercedarian, an order which has a special devotion to prisoners. At age fifty, she had become a sister. At the La Mesa penitentiary, she lived in a 10’ x 10’ concrete room with a cot as her bed, and with a Bible and Spanish dictionary nearby. Sister Antonia provided not only spiritual guidance to the guards and inmates, but continued to help with basic material comforts for prisoners such as blankets, toiletries and medicines. In 1997 Sister Antonia’s mission expanded. Many had heard of her ministry and offered to help and some even wanted to follow in her footsteps. With encouragement from the Bishops and many other supporters, Sister Antonia initiated the process of forming a religious community to be known as the Eudist Servants Of The Eleventh Hour. In 2003 the community was formally accepted by the Bishop of Tijuana. She was profiled in the 2006 book The Prison Angel: Mother Antonia’s Journey from Beverly Hills to a Life of Service in a Mexican Jail by Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan. The road outside the jail, known until recently as “Los Pollos” (“The Chickens”), was renamed in November 2007 to “Madre Antonia” in her honor. On September 25th, 2009, she received the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award, presented at the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego. In 2010 Estudio Frontera released a DVD documentary on Mother Antonia’s life, La Mama: An American Nun’s Life in a Mexican Prison. Produced and written by Jody Hammond, photographed and edited by Ronn Kilby, and narrated by Susan Sarandon, the film took five years to make (died 2013): “Everything you do either adds to the beauty of the world or takes away from it.”

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