Today is Holy Thursday, also know as Maundy Thursday. Today is also the Optional Memorial of Saint Martin I, Pope and Martyr (died 655). In the secular world, today is Thomas Jefferson’s Birthday (1743) and the Eighth Anniversary of this Edition of my Weblog, read daily by my Four or Five Loyal Readers and my Legion of Followers.
On Holy Thursday morning all of the priests and deacons gather in the Cathedral of their diocese for the Chrism Mass with their Bishop. The Chrism Oil (used in the Catholic sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and Holy Orders), the Oil of the Catechumens (used in the Sacrament of baptism), and the Oil of the Sick (used in the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick) for the whole diocese are blessed by the bishop, then all the priests renew their vows. After Mass the oils are distributed to each parish’s representatives (i.e., the priests and deacons of a parish). In the evening in each parish is held the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, which initiates the Easter Triduum, the three days of Friday, Saturday and Sunday that commemorate the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. The blessed chrism and oils are brought in procession to their proper place in the church, and after the homily the Washing of Feet takes place. This action gives the day its other name of Maundy Thursday, from the Latin phrase “Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos,” “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another,” the statement by Jesus in the Gospel of John (13:34) by which Jesus explained to the Apostles the significance of his action of washing their feet. The service concludes with a procession taking the Blessed Sacrament to the place of reposition, with a period of Eucharistic Adoration at the place of reposition; the altar in the church is then stripped of all coverings. Technically, Lent ends with the start of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, but all my life I have continued my Lenten penance until I go to Mass for Easter, and I see no reason to stop doing so at this point in my life. (I can wait a few more days for chocolate and other forms of caffeine.) Today’s Saint was born sometime at the end of the 6th century or beginning of the 7th century near Todi, Umbria, in the place now named after him (Pian di San Martino). He served as the papal apocrisiarius or legate at Constantinople for Pope Theodore I, and was held in high repute for his learning and virtue. Martin was chosen as the 74th pope in 649 without the approval of the Emperor in Constantinople; not seeking the approval of the Emperor had an air of rebellion about it. Immediately after his accession he conducted the Lateran Council of 649 which condemned the Patriarch of Constantinople for the heresy of Monothelitism, which claimed that Christ had no human will. This Council put Martin in outright opposition to the Emperor, who ordered the arrest of the Pope. This took some time, but in 653 the Pope was arrested at the Lateran Palace and was transported (with indignities, if not outright torture) to Constantinople. The Patriarch of Constantinople repented of his Monothelite stance, and Martin was saved from execution; but he was exiled to the Crimea. Under duress, he allowed the election of a new Pope, and died soon after from damage done to him during his imprisonment. Pope Martin I is thus considered a Martyr, and is the last Pope to have been martyred. Today is the Celebration of Thomas Jefferson’s Birthday, which took place on this date in 1743. He was an American Founding Father who was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, served as the Second Vice President of the United States under President John Adams from 1797 to 1801, and served as the Third President of the United States from 1801 to 1809. A proponent of democracy, republicanism, and individual rights motivating American colonists to break from Great Britain and form a new nation, he produced formative documents and decisions at both the state and national level. This day was recognized by Franklin D. Roosevelt as part of Presidential Proclamation 2276, issued on March 21st, 1938. More recently, President George W. Bush issued proclamation 8124 on April 11th, 2007, stating that “… on Thomas Jefferson Day, we commemorate the birthday of a monumental figure whose place in our Nation’s history will always be cherished.” Today is also the Eighth Anniversary of this version of my Weblog; my previous version of this Weblog had been on a WordPress blog hosted by Yahoo!, and when it died (with no hope of recovery, which made me decide to no longer deal with Yahoo!, except for using Flickr), I began this blog on April 13th, 2009, on a free WordPress weblog. And I thank my Four or Five Loyal Readers and my Legion of Followers for checking in with me from time to time to see what I have to say. (I will admit that I do use the previous year’s entry, or previous years’ entries, to help me do my Weblog. Some things don’t change much from year to year; and I’m told some of my Loyal Readers skip down anyway to see what I’ve been up to, without reading the data about the Saint of the Day and / or the Historical Event of the day and without reading about my Quotable Person Who Died On This Date In History. But I do make changes, and appreciate all who pay attention.)
Last night our New Orleans Pelicans won their last NBA game of the regular season (they are not going to the playoffs) with the Portland Trail Blazers by the score of 103 to 100. Our Pelicans thus finish the season with 34 wins and 48 losses (6 and 10 in divisional play). Better luck next season, guys!
I woke up at 7:45 am and did my Book Devotional Reading. After I read the morning papers and ate my breakfast toast, we watched MST3K Episode 706 Laserblast, which was the last episode of the very short seventh season and the last episode originally aired by Comedy Central (the crew did not know if the show would be picked up by another network; it turned out to be the last one with Dr. Clayton Forrester, played by Trace Beaulieu, who also voiced Crow). I then came to the computer and worked on Advance Daily Update Drafts for my weblog.
Richard and I left the house at 12:30 pm, ate Chinese at Peking, and then Richard got my salad supplies for me at Wal-Mart. When we got home I worked on my weblog, then I ironed my Casino pants, apron, and shirts, and made my lunch salads for Saturday (not Friday) and Sunday. Richard went to bed, and I watched Jeopardy!. I then came to the computer to do today’s Daily Update. I will then go to bed; I have not been feeling at my best lately, so I will not be going to the Mass of the Lord’s Supper this evening. Michelle was to fly out of Houston and arrive in South Carolina at noon EDT, and Callie and our granddaughter were to be flying out of Baton Rouge and arriving in South Carolina at 5:00 pm EDT. Our #8 LSU Tigers (23-11, 7-5) will be playing a Home College Baseball game with the Ole Miss Rebels (21-12, 6-6).
Tomorrow is Good Friday, a day of Fast and Abstinence for the Catholic faithful. Tomorrow is also National Pan America Day. It will be a Heavy Business Volume Day at the casino, and also a Paid Holiday, so Richard and I will get paid time and a half for our eight hours worked tomorrow at the casino. On my breaks I will read 25% of Shanghai Girls by Lisa See via Kindle on my Tablet. I will try to go to the Good Friday Service at 3:00 pm; but I will definitely have boiled crawfish tomorrow afternoon. Our #11 LSU Lady Tigers (32-9, 8-4) will be playing an Away College Softball doubleheader with the #25 Ole Miss Lady Rebels (26-13, 3-9), and our #8 LSU Tigers will be playing another Home College Baseball game with the Ole Miss Rebels.
Our Parting Quote this Holy Thursday evening comes to us from Günter Grass, German novelist. Born in 1927 in the Free City of Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland), as a teenager he served as a drafted soldier from late 1944 in the Waffen-SS, and was taken prisoner of war by United States forces at the end of the war in May 1945. He was released in April 1946, and was a co-founder of Group 47, an influential literary association in Germany organized by Hans Werner Richter in 1947. Trained as a stonemason and sculptor, Grass began writing in the 1950s. In 1953 he moved to West Berlin and studied at the Berlin University of the Arts. In his fiction he frequently returned to the Danzig of his childhood. Grass is best known for his first novel, The Tin Drum (Die Blechtrommel, 1959), a key text in European magic realism. It was the first book of his Danzig Trilogy, the other two being Cat and Mouse (Katz und Maus, 1961) and Dog Years (Hundejahre, 1963). From 1960 he lived in Berlin as well as part-time in Schleswig-Holstein, and in 1961 he publicly objected to the erection of the Berlin Wall. His works are frequently considered to have a left-wing political dimension, and Grass was an active supporter of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). His literary style combined elements of magical realism, with a penchant for questioning and complicating questions of authorship by intermingling realistic autobiographical elements with unreliable narrators and fantastic events or happenings that created irony or satirized events to form social critiques. His literature is commonly categorised as part of the German artistic movement known as Vergangenheitsbewältigung, roughly translated as “coming to terms with the past.” The 1977 novel The Flounder (German: Der Butt) was based on the folktale of “The Fisherman and His Wife”, and dealt with the struggle between the sexes. The Tin Drum was adapted as a film of the same name, which won both the 1979 Palme d’Or and the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. In the 1980s Grass became active in the peace movement and visited Calcutta for six months. A diary with drawings was published as Zunge zeigen, an allusion to Kali’s tongue. During the events leading up to the reunification of Germany in 1989–90, Grass argued for the continued separation of the two German states. He asserted that a unified Germany would be likely to resume its role as belligerent nation-state. This argument estranged many Germans, who came to see him as too much of a moralizing figure. In 1999 the Swedish Academy awarded him the Nobel Prize in Literature, praising him as a writer “whose frolicsome black fables portray the forgotten face of history”. The 1999 book My Century (German: Mein Jahrhundert) was an overview of the 20th-century’s many brutal historic events, conveyed in short pieces, a mosaic of expression. Grass in 2001 proposed the creation of a German-Polish museum for art lost to other countries during the War. The Hague Convention of 1907 requires the return of art that had been evacuated, stolen or seized, but some countries refused to repatriate some of the looted art. In 2002 Grass returned to the forefront of world literature with Crabwalk (German: Im Krebsgang). This novella, one of whose main characters first appeared in Cat and Mouse, was Grass’s most successful work in decades. It dealt with the events of a refugee ship, full of thousands of Germans, being sunk by a Russian submarine, killing most on board. In 2006 Grass published the first volume in a trilogy of autobiographic memoirs. Titled Peeling the Onion (German: Beim Häuten der Zwiebel), it dealt with his childhood, war years, early efforts as a sculptor and poet, and finally his literary success with the publication of The Tin Drum. In a pre publication interview Grass for the first time revealed that he had been a member of the Waffen-SS, and not only a Flakhelfer (anti-aircraft assistant) as he had long said. As Grass was for many decades an outspoken left-leaning critic of Germany’s failure to deal with its Nazi past, his statement caused a great stir in the press. In 2008 he publish the second volume of his memoirs, The Box (Die Box). He published the third volume of his memoirs, Grimms Wörter, in 2010. On April 4th, 2012, Grass’s poem “What Must Be Said” (German: “Was gesagt werden muss”) was published in several European newspapers. Grass expressed his concern about the hypocrisy of German military support (the delivery of a submarine) for an Israel that might use such equipment to launch nuclear warheads against Iran, which “could wipe out the Iranian people”. And he hoped that many would demand “that the governments of both Iran and Israel allow an international authority free and open inspection of the nuclear potential and capability of both.” In response, Israel declared him persona non grata in that country (died 2015): “Even bad books are books, and therefore sacred.”