Today is the First Friday of the month, dedicated to devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Today is also the Memorial of Saint Charles Borromeo, Bishop (died 1584).
The First Friday of each month is dedicated to devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Today’s Saint was born in 1538 in the castle of Aron, Italy, into a wealthy noble family. Although he suffered from a speech impediment, he studied in Milan and at the University of Pavia, studying at one point under the future Pope Gregory XIII. He became a civil and canon lawyer at age 21. In 1560 his uncle, Cardinal Angelo de’ Medici, was raised to the pontificate as Pope Pius IV; the new Pope named Borromeo as protonotary apostolic (secretary of state), entrusted with both the public and the privy seal of the ecclesiastical state. He then named Borromeo to the post of Cardinal of Romagna and the March of Ancona, and supervisor of the Franciscans, Carmelites and Knights of Malta. At age twenty-two, Borromeo was highly trusted at the papal court. Soon afterwards Pius IV raised him to the archbishopric of Milan. In compliance with the pope’s desire, Borromeo lived in splendor to represent the glory of the church. He established an academy of learned persons, the Academy of the Vatican Nights, and published their memoirs as the Noctes Vaticanae. About the same time, Borromeo founded and endowed a college at Pavia, today known as Almo Collegio Borromeo, which he dedicated to Saint Justina of Padua. On the death of his elder brother Federigo, his family urged Borromeo to quit the church to marry and have children, so that the family name would not become extinct. Borromeo declined the proposal, and worked even harder for the welfare of the church. Owing to his influence over Pius IV, he facilitated the final deliberations of the Council of Trent. He took a large share in the creation of the Tridentine Catechism (Catechismus Romanus). After the death of his uncle, Pius IV (1566), Borromeo contributed materially to suppressing the cabals of the conclave. Subsequently he devoted himself wholly to the reformation of his diocese. It had deteriorated in practice owing to the 80-year absence of previous archbishops. Borromeo made numerous pastoral visits, and restored dignity to divine service. In conformity with the decrees of the Council of Trent, which suggested simplifying church interiors, Borromeo cleared the cathedral of ornate tombs, rich ornaments, banners, and arms. He did not even spare the monuments of his own relatives. He divided the nave of the church into two compartments to separate the sexes at worship. He extended his reforms to the collegiate churches, monasteries and even to the Confraternities of Penitents, particularly that of St. John the Baptist. This group was to attend to prisoners and those condemned to death, to give them help and support. Borromeo believed that abuses in the church arose from clergy ignorance. Among his most important actions, he established seminaries, colleges and communities for the education of candidates for holy orders. His emphasis on Catholic learning greatly increased the preparation of men for priesthood and benefited their congregations. Reacting to the pressure of the Protestant Reformation, Borromeo encouraged the Golden League formed in 1586 by Ludwig Pfyffer in Switzerland. Based in Lucerne, the organization (also called the Borromean League) linked activities of several Swiss Catholic cantons of Switzerland, which became the center of Catholic Counter-Reformation efforts. This Inquisition-type organization was determined to expel heretics and burned some people at the stake. It created severe strains in the civil administration of the confederation, and it caused the break-up of Appenzell canton along religious lines. In 1576, when Milan suffered an epidemic of the bubonic plague, Borromeo led efforts to accommodate the sick and bury the dead. He avoided no danger and spared no expense. He visited all the parishes where the contagion raged, distributing money, providing accommodation for the sick, and punishing those, especially the clergy, who were remiss in discharging their duties. Borromeo’s manifold labors and austerities appear to have shortened his life. He was canonized in 1610, and is the Patron Saint of bishops, cardinals, catechists, catechumens, seminarians, spiritual directors, spiritual leaders, apple orchards, and starch makers, and the cities of Lombardy, Italy and Monterey, California; his aid is invoked against ulcers, stomach diseases and intestinal disorders.
We woke up at 8:00 am in our room at the Best Western in Denver, Colorado. I did my Book Devotional Reading, and we ate a very good Continental breakfast while reading the USA Today Weekender. Back in out room I did my Internet Devotional Reading. We relaxed, and at 1:30 pm we went next door to the Village Inn for lunch.
I then finished reading Trace by Patricia Cornwell via Overdrive on my tablet, and did my Book Review of the book for this weblog and for my Goodreads and Facebook accounts.
At 5:00 pm we went down to the bar, and I used Uber to get us up to Fort Collins. We arrived at Nixon’s Rocky Mountain Smokehouse and Tavern at 6:45 pm, and our friend Deb and her boyfriend Larry arrived. We then listened to the Tailgate Rockstars and drank beer and shots. Our New Orleans Pelicans lost their home NBA game with the Phoenix Suns in overtime by the score of 111 to 112. Our Pelicans (0-6, 0-2) will next play an Away NBA game with the Golden State Warriors (4-2, 1-1) on Novemer 7th. At about 11:00 pm we said our goodbyes and Ubered our way back to our motel in Denver, arriving home at 12:15 am. And I did not do my Daily Update.
Tomorrow is the First Saturday of the month, dedicated to devotions to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In the absence of any Saints to honor, we will instead note that tomorrow is the anniversary of the 1605 Gunpowder Plot in London, which had very bad effects on Catholic Emancipation in general and on Guy Fawkes in particular. I will do my Daily Update, and we will head to the Tattered Cover. At 6:00 pm we will watch our #15 LSU Tigers (5-2, 3-1) play an Away SEC College Football game with #1 Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0, 5-0). And if the Chicago Cubs can win the World Series, perhaps our Tigers can beat Bama.
Our Parting Quote this First Friday evening comes to us from Melissa Mathison, American screenwriter. Born in 1950 in Los Angeles, California, her father was the Los Angeles bureau chief of Newsweek, and her mother was a food writer and convenience-foods entrepreneur. As a teenager she babysat for the children of a family friend, Francis Ford Coppola. After graduating from high school in 1968, Mathison attended the University of California, Berkeley. Coppola offered her a job as his assistant on The Godfather Part II (1974), an opportunity for which she left her studies at UC Berkeley. With Coppola’s encouragement, she wrote a script for The Black Stallion (1979), adapted from the novel, that caught the attention of Steven Spielberg. During the filming of Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Spielberg provided Mathison with a story that she turned into the screen play for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) in collaboration with Spielberg. It was nominated for an Oscar for best original screenplay. Spielberg attributed the line “E.T. phone home” to Mathison, which is ranked 15th among the top 100 quotations of U.S. cinema by the American Film Institute. In 1982 she wrote the screenplay for The Escape Artist. She then did the screenplay for the second segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie, “Kick the Can”, credited as “Josh Rogan”, in 1983, the same year that she married actor Harrison Ford. She met the Dalai Lama in 1990, and in 1991 wrote the screenplay for the TV movie Son of the Morning Star. Mathison went on to write The Indian in the Cupboard (1995), based on Lynne Reid Banks’ 1980 children’s novel of the same name. In 1997 she wrote the screenplay for Kundun, a biographical-drama film about the Dalai Lama. She continued to work as an activist for Tibetan freedom and was on the board of the International Campaign for Tibet. She and her husband divorced in 2004. In 2008 she was the storyline consultant and did the English-language translation for the animated film Ponyo. Her last film, 2016’s The BFG, was her third collaboration with Spielberg, and the film was dedicated in her memory (died 2015): “My idea of a good fantasy is something that’s absolutely grounded in reality. And there’s a little element that doesn’t belong there – and that’s the fantasy element – that you have to react to and deal with in a completely real way.“