Today is a Friday in Lent, so today is a Day of Abstinence from Meat. Today is also the First Friday of the month, dedicated to devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Today is the Memorial of Saint John Baptist de la Salle, Priest (died 1719). And today is also World Health Day, and the birthday of my friend Danette, from my retreats with the Jesuits in Grand Coteau (1955).
Each Friday during the l
Lenten season is a day of Abstinence from Meat. (Before the Reformation, all of western Europe was abstaining from meat on every Friday as a religious norm; even before explorer John Cabot discovered the Grand Banks off of Newfoundland in 1497, scattered boats from Europe were fishing for Atlantic cod, which keeps well, to supply Europe with fish on Fridays.) The First Friday of each month is a day dedicated to devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Turning to today’s Saint, John Baptiste de la Salle was born in 1651 at Rheims, France; he studied for the priesthood in Paris but quit to care for his brothers and sisters upon the death of his parents. When his siblings were grown he returned to the seminary. Becoming Canon of Rheims, France in 1667, he was ordained in 1678, and became a Doctor of Theology in 1680. He was the spiritual director of the Sisters of the Holy Infant who were devoted to teaching poor girls. In 1681 he founded the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools (Christian Brothers), which established and supported academic education for all boys. He liquidated his personal fortune, and his Brothers expected him to use it to further his education goals; but he surprised them by saying they would have to depend on Providence. The money (about $400,000) was given away to the poor in the form of bread during the great famine of 1683-1684. John kept enough to endow a salary for himself similar to that which the Brothers received so he would not be a burden on them. He instituted the process of dividing students into grades, established the first teacher’s school, and started high schools and trade schools. In 1950 he was proclaimed the Patron Saint of all teachers of all youth by Pope Pius XII; he is also the Patron Saint of educators, school principals, and the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. Today is World Health Day. In 1948, the World Health Organization (WHO) held the First World Health Assembly. The Assembly decided to celebrate April 7th of each year, with effect from 1950, as the World Health Day. The World Health Day is held to mark WHO’s founding, and is seen as an opportunity by the organization to draw worldwide attention to a subject of major importance to global health each year. World Health Day 2017 aims to mobilize action on depression, with the theme being Depression: Let’s Talk. Today is also the birthday of my friend Danette, from my retreats with the Jesuits in Grand Coteau (1955).
On getting up to get ready for work today, I posted to Facebook that today was World Health Day and did my Book Devotional Reading, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading. Before we clocked in I called the Pharmacy and renewed a prescription. When we clocked in, Richard was on a Blackjack table, and I was the Relief dealer for Mini Baccarat and Pai Gow, and (once at the beginning of the shift) I broke the Flop Poker table.
After work we went to the Pharmacy, and I found that my prescription will not be ready for me to pick up until Tuesday after work. On our way home I read the May 2017 issue of Consumer Reports. Once home I ate my lunch salad and read the morning paper; Richard and I then watched (via Hulu) three episodes of Rick and Morty: “Pilot”, “Anatomy Park”, and “M. Night Shaym-Aliens!” (we did not watch the second episode of the first season, “Lawnmower Dog”, because we had seen it at Matt and Callie’s house). We then watched MST3K Episode 702 The Brute Man with the short film The Chicken of Tomorrow. I am about to watch Jeopardy!, and then I will head to bed. This evening our #13 LSU Tigers (20-10, 5-4) will play the first of three Away College Baseball games with the #15 Arkansas Razorbacks (22-6, 7-2), our #8 LSU Lady Tigers (31-7, 7-2) will play the first of three Away College Softball games with the #12 Alabama Lady Crimson Tide (32-6, 8-4), and our New Orleans Pelicans (33-45, 6-10) will play an away NBA game with the Denver Nuggets (37-40, 5-9).
Since we have no Saints to honor tomorrow, we will note that in 1974 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, Hank Aaron hit his 715th Major League Baseball career home run to surpass Babe Ruth’s 39-year-old record. We will work our eight hours, and in the afternoon I will do my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration, eat lunch at McDonald’s, then go to the 4:00 Anticipated Mass for Palm Sunday. Our #13 LSU Tigers will play the second of three Away College Baseball games with the #15 Arkansas Razorbacks, our #8 LSU Lady Tigers will play the second of three Away College Softball games with the #12 Alabama Lady Crimson Tide, and our New Orleans Pelicans will play an Away NBA game with the Golden State Warriors.
Our Friday Afternoon Parting Quote comes to us from Johnny Hart, American cartoonist. Born as John Hart in 1931 in Endicott, New York, he was raised in a casually religious family, and he attended Christian Sunday School regularly. Although his formal education ended with high school he was fascinated by the Bible from a young age. His first published work was in Stars and Stripes while he served in Korea as an enlisted member of the United States Air Force. Returning in 1953, he published cartoons in The Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s Weekly and other magazines. Hart’s biggest success, B.C., was created in 1957 and began national daily newspapers appearances on February 17th, 1958. He also co-created and wrote the comic strip The Wizard of Id, drawn by Brant Parker, which has been distributed since November 9th, 1964. With the release of The Wizard of Id in 1964 Hart became one of only four cartoonists to have two comic strips appearing in over 1000 papers each. He won numerous awards for his work, including the National Cartoonists Society’s Reuben award for B.C. in 1968 and The Wizard of Id in 1984. In 1977 there was a distinguishable shift in his spirituality, and he and his wife began attending a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in Nineveh, New York. Hart’s increasingly deep religious faith, and the staunch political conservatism that accompanied it, came to be the source of considerable controversy in the later years of his life; he gave politically inflammatory interviews, and showed an increasing tendency to incorporate his religious and political themes and ideals into his comic strips, especially in B.C. Some newspapers refused to print strips with overtly religious themes or, as with the Los Angeles Times, relegated them to the religious section of the newspaper. Two strips in particular were controversial. The B.C. strip for April 15th, 2001, which was Easter Sunday, portrayed a menorah with seven candles progressively burning out as the strip captions ran the words of Jesus Christ. At the end, the outer arms of the candelabra broke away, leaving a Christian cross, with the final panel portraying the opened and empty tomb of Christ. Critics including the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee argued that the strip portrayed replacement theology, that is, the conception of Christianity as supplanting Judaism. Hart offered an apology and claimed that he had meant the strip to be a tribute to both religions. Another B.C. strip, which ran November 10th, 2003, showed an outhouse with a traditional crescent, which a character entered with a vertical graphic “SLAM”, only to ask, “Is it just me, or does it stink in here?” Critics including the Council on American-Islamic Relations claimed that the combination of the vertical bar and the “SLAM”, as well as the crescent moons both in the sky and on the outhouse, made the strip a slur on Islam. Hart denied that it was anything but an outhouse joke. At the time of his death of a stroke, his wife reported that he was at work at his drawing table; the co-creator of The Wizard of Id, Brant Parker, died just eight days later (died 2007): ”Science Fiction: Any scientific acclaim that omits God.”