Daily Update: Sunday, December 11th, 2016

Third Sunday of Advent and Damasus I

Today is the Third Sunday of Advent, known as Gaudete Sunday, and the Optional Memorial of Saint Damasus I, Pope (died 384). And today Richard’s earliest call-in dropped off the calendar at the casino.

The Latin word Gaudete is translated as Rejoice, the first word of the introit of the Mass for the Third Sunday of Lent: ‘Gaudéte in Dómino semper: íterum dico, gaudéte. Modéstia vestra nota sit ómnibus homínibus: Dóminus enim prope est. Nihil solíciti sitis: sed in omni oratióne petitiónes vestræ innotéscant apud Deum’. This can be translated as ‘Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, rejoice; let your forbearance be known to all, for the Lord is near at hand; have no anxiety about anything, but in all things, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God’ (Philippians 4:4-6). On Gaudete Sunday rose-colored vestments may be worn instead of violet, which is prescribed for every other day in the season of Advent. In churches which have an Advent wreath, the rose colored candle is lit in addition to two of the violet colored candles, which represent the first two Sundays of Advent. Despite the otherwise somber readings of the season of Advent (which has as a secondary theme the need for penitence) the readings on the third Sunday emphasize the joyous anticipation of the Lord’s coming. Today’s Saint was born in Rome; his family was of Spanish origin. His father was a priest in Rome, and for a time Damasus served as a deacon in his father’s church of  Saint Laurence. Becoming a priest Damasus served as assistant to Pope Liberius. Upon the death of Liberius, Damasus was chosen as the  37th pope in a disputed election in which a minority chose the anti-pope Ursinus. The two reigned simultaneously in Rome which eventually led to violence between their supporters and false accusations of Damasus having committed a crime. His pontificate suffered from the rise of Arianism and from several schisms including break-away groups in Antioch, Constantinople, Sardinia, and Rome. However, it was during Damasus’s reign that Christianity was declared the religion of the Roman state. He enforced the 370 edict of Emperor Valentinian controlling gifts to prelates, and opposed Arianism and Apollinarianism. He supported the 374 council of Rome which decreed the valid books of the Bible, and the Grand Council of Constantinople in 381 which condemned Arianism. He was the economic patron of his secretary, Saint Jerome, commissioning him to make the translation of scripture now known as the Vulgate. Damasus restored catacombs, shrines, and the tombs of martyrs, and wrote poetry and metrical inscriptions about and dedicated to martyrs. Ten of his letters, personal and pontifical, have survived. He is the Patron Saint of archaeologists. And Richard’s earliest call-in dropped off the calendar at the casino; he now just has one call-in (for two days in a row), which will drop off of the calendar on August 6th, 2017. (I have four call-ins, but one of those will drop off the calendar on December 27th.)

Last night our New Orleans Pelicans lost their NBA game with the Los Angeles Clippers by the score of 105 to 133.

Upon waking up today I did my Book Devotional Reading; I then brought in the flag I had put out in honor of Election Day. (As usual, the person I voted for did not win the Senate runoff. (Rheta Grimsley Johnson wrote, regarding how this year’s political races have gone, “As for me, I’m sticking my head in the shifting sand and trying to focus on other things. When the truth doesn’t matter, little else does.”) I also did not bring my Santa Hat to work; I started thinking yesterday of the bad things that could happen to me wearing one without permission on the Casino Floor. (I will also note that if one wears a watch, the face cannot be larger than a Casino chip, and that earrings are not to be larger than a quarter. Among other rules.) On our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading, and (under protest from Richard, who was not in a good mood) we signed the Early Out list. He was on Mini Baccarat. I started out as the Relief Dealer for Let It Ride and Flop Poker; they closed the Flop Poker table, so I became the Relief Dealer for Let It Ride and the second Mississippi Stud table. They then sent me to the Sit-Down Blackjack Table; it was dead, and I was seriously having trouble staying awake, with my eyes crossing and uncrossing. When they closed the second Dice Table, I thought I might be getting out, but the dealer they sent to take me off of the Sit-Down Blackjack table was sending me to Pai Gow to take out the dealer on that table, so I figured that Richard and I were not getting out early. However, I was on the Pai Gow table about fifteen minutes when they tapped me out to go home early, at 7:15 am. I started reading Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith via Overdrive on my tablet, and Richard got out at 7:30 am. I continued reading Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith via Overdrive on my tablet, and Richard stopped at the Valero Corner Store in town to get gas for the truck. When we got home I went back to bed.

I did not set my alarm clock, and when I first woke up again it was 1:15 pm; I decided that I did not want to rush to try to go to Lessons and Carols at the Cathedral in Lafayette for 3:00 pm, so I went back to sleep. I woke up again at 2:15 pm, made my lunch salads for Monday and Tuesday, and ate a salad while reading the Sunday papers. I had gotten a package yesterday from the Vermont Country Store (that I did not know about until we left for work), which had the Powder Puffs I had ordered. I also got a Text Message from Nedra telling me to use her physical address instead of the mailing address I had. Our LSU Lady Tigers won their College Basketball game with the Tulane Lady Green Wave by the score of 69 to 51; our LSU Lady Tigers (7-2, 0-0) will play a home College Basketball game with the Sam Houston State Lady Bearkats (0-8, 0-0) on Wednesday, December 14th. I will finish this Daily Update, light the Advent Candles, and do some reading in the bath before going to bed. Our New Orleans Saints (5-7, 1-2) are playing an away Divisional NFL game withe Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5, 2-1) right now, and our New Orleans Pelicans (7-17, 0-4) will be playing an Away NBA game with the Phoenix Suns (7-16, 1-6) tonight; I will record the score of the game in tomorrow’s Daily Update.

Tomorrow is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Tomorrow is also the first day of the new two-week pay period at the casino, during which pay period I will be taking PTO for two days (Tuesday and Friday before Christmas). In the afternoon I will wrap up the presents for Kitten for Christmas, so that Richard and I can mail them off on Tuesday. I will also start putting up Christmas stuff.

Our Parting Quote on this afternoon of the Third Sunday of Advent, known as Gaudete Sunday, comes to us from Barbara Branden, Canadian-born author. Born as Barbara Weidman in 1929 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, she moved to Los Angeles to study philosophy at UCLA, where she became engaged to Nathaniel Branden, who shared her passion for the ideas of Ayn Rand. They arranged to meet Rand at her home in the San Fernando Valley in 1950, and were swept into her inner circle. Weidman graduated from UCLA in 1951, and later earned a master’s degree in philosophy from New York University, where she studied under Sidney Hook. When she and Nathaniel Branden married in 1953, Rand and her husband, Frank O’Connor, served as the matron of honor and best man. The next year her husband began a romantic affair with Rand (who was twenty-four years his senior) with the reluctant permission of both spouses and in accordance with the principles of Objectivism; Rand’s husband would vacate their house twice a week to allow for their trysts. This relationship continued for three years. While their respective spouses had knowledge of the affair and nominally accepted it, Branden later said it led to “years of pain” and “enormous harm”, describing it as a “sacrifice”. In 1958 the Brandens formed the Nathaniel Branden Institute to promote Rand’s ideas through lectures and books. She and her husband co-wrote Who is Ayn Rand? in 1962, and her essay in the book was the first biography of Rand. When it was written, Rand considered Branden to be one of the most important proponents of Objectivism. In 1968, when Rand terminated her association with Nathaniel Branden after she discovered that he had become involved with actress Patrecia Scott more than four years earlier, she likewise disassociated herself from Barbara Branden for keeping this fact from her. The details of these events remain controversial, and Branden divorced her husband that same year. In 1986 she published another biography of Rand, The Passion of Ayn Rand. The book was made into an Emmy-award winning motion picture in 1999 starring Helen Mirren as Rand, Eric Stoltz as Nathaniel Branden and Julie Delpy playing Barbara Braden. She contributed the lead essay “Ayn Rand: The Reluctant Feminist” to the anthology Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand, wherein she argued that the way Rand lived her life made it a feminist manifesto, even as Rand had disagreements with feminism. Branden was estranged from her cousin Leonard Peikoff, Rand’s chosen intellectual and legal heir after Rand’s break with Nathaniel Branden. She served as the Executive Director of the Nathaniel Branden Institute, and gave a series of lectures on “Principles of Efficient Thinking” in 2007 (died 2013): “There is never any valid reason for not being in full mental focus.”

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