Daily Update: Friday, April 21st, 2017

Easter Friday and Anselm of Canterbury

Alleluia! Today is Easter Friday, the Sixth Day in the Octave of Easter. Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Anselm, Bishop and Doctor (died 1109). And Early Voting continues in Louisiana for the Municipal General Election on April 29th. Since it thundered on February 21st, today should be cooler than usual (give or take a few days).

Our Gospel from John 21:1-14 tells us that “Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We also will come with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” They answered him, “No.” So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.” So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish. So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards, dragging the net with the fish. When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.” So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three large fish. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.” And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they realized it was the Lord.” (There are any number of quite tortured explanations for the exact number of fish that were brought to shore, but so far as I know, no one has explained why Jesus had fish broiling before those one hundred and fifty-three large fish were dragged onshore.) Today’s Saint was born to the Italian nobility in 1033 at Aosta, Piedmont. At age fifteen Anselm wanted to enter religious life, but his father prevented it; he therefore turned to other worldly pursuits. Upon the death of his mother, at the age of twenty-three he argued with his father, fled to France, and became a Benedictine monk at Bec, Normandy in 1060. He studied under and succeeded Lanfranc as prior of the house in 1063, and was made Abbot in 1078. Because of physical closeness and political connections, there was frequent travel and communication between Normandy and England, and Anselm was in repeated contact with Church officials in England. He was chosen as reluctant Archbishop of Canterbury, England in 1092; officials waited until he had fallen ill before attempting to convince him to take the post. As bishop he fought King William Rufus’s encroachment on ecclesiastical rights and the independence of the Church, refused to pay bribes to take over as bishop, and was exiled for his efforts. He travelled to Rome, Italy and spent part of his exile as an advisor to Pope Blessed Urban II, obtaining the pope’s support for returning to England and conducting Church business without the king’s interference. In 1100 King Henry I invited Anselm to return to England, but they disputed over lay investiture, and Anselm was exiled again, not returning until 1106 when Henry agreed not to interfere with the selection of Church officials. Anselm opposed slavery and obtained English legislation prohibiting the sale of men. He strongly supported celibate clergy, and approved the addition of several saints to the liturgical calendar of England. He was one of the great philosophers and theologians of the middle ages and a noted theological writer. He was far more at home in the monastery than in political circles, but still managed to improve the position of the Church in England. He was chosen as a Doctor of the Church in 1720 by Pope Clement XI. And Early Voting continues in Louisiana for the Municipal General Election on April 29th. Finally, since it thundered on February 21st, today should be cooler than usual, give a day or two on either side; and our high for Saturday is due to be 84°,  while our high for Sunday is forecast to be 67°.

Last night, while I was continuing my reading of The Hobbit Party: The Vision of Freedom That Tolkien Got, and the West Forgot by Jonathan Witt and Jay W. Richards, Richard got home from Baton Rouge at 5:30 pm.

When I woke up today to get ready for work I did my Book Devotional Reading. On our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Eighth Day of my Divine Mercy Novena. When we clocked in, Richard was on Mini Baccarat, and I was the Relief Dealer for Mini Baccarat, Pai Gow, and a Blackjack table. On my breaks I continued reading Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment by Deepak Chopra via Kindle on my tablet.

After we clocked out, we went to the Pharmacy, where I picked up a prescription for Richard and one for me. On our way home I continued reading Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment by Deepak Chopra via Kindle on my tablet. Once we got home, Richard replaced the dryer vent, and I ate my lunch salad and read the morning paper. I then came to the computer, and did Advance Daily Update Drafts for this weblog. And, since I am fairly tired, I will finish up this Daily Update and continue reading The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life by James Martin before going to bed for the duration. Tonight our #8 LSU Tigers (25-12, 9-6) will begin an Away College Baseball series with the #13 Kentucky Wildcats (26-12, 10-5), and our #16 LSU Lady Tigers (33-12, 8-7) will begin a Home College Softball series with the #9 Tennessee Lady Volunteers (39-5, 11-3).

Tomorrow is Easter Saturday (Alleluia!), and the Seventh Day in the Octave of Easter. Tomorrow we have no Saints to honor, so we will note that tomorrow is Earth Day. Weather permitting, one can see the Lyrid Meteor shower in the predawn hours. Early Voting concludes tomorrow in Louisiana for the Municipal General Election on April 29th. And tomorrow is my brother Michael’s birthday (1955). We will work our eight hours at the casino, and I will continue reading Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment by Deepak Chopra via Kindle on my tablet. In the early afternoon I will go to the Adoration Chapel to do my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration, then I will eat lunch at McDonald’s and then go to the 4:00 pm Mass for the Second Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday). Our #16 LSU Lady Tigers  will play their second Home College Softball game with the #9 Tennessee Lady Volunteers, and our #8 LSU Tigers will play their second Away College Baseball game with the #13 Kentucky Wildcats.

Our Parting Quote on this Easter Friday (Alleluia!) afternoon comes to us from M. H. Abrams, American literary critic. Born as Meyer Howard Abrams in 1912 in Long Branch, New Jersey, he was the son of Eastern European Jewish immigrants and the first in his family to go to college. He earned his baccalaureate degree from Harvard in 1934, and won a Henry fellowship to Magdalene College in the University of Cambridge, where his tutor was I. A. Richards. He returned to Harvard for graduate school in 1935 and received a master’s degree in 1937 (the same year he married) and a Ph.D. in 1940. During World War II he served at the Psycho-Acoustics Laboratory at Harvard. He described his work as solving the problem of voice communications in a noisy military environment by establishing military codes that were highly audible, and inventing selection tests for personnel who had a superior ability to recognize sound in a noisy background. In 1945 Abrams became a professor at Cornell University. The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition was his first book, published in 1953; Abrams wrote that until the Romantics, literature was typically understood as a mirror reflecting the real world in some kind of mimesis, whereas for the Romantics, writing was more like a lamp, the light of the writer’s inner soul spilled out to illuminate the world. Literary theories, Abrams argued, can be divided into four main groups: Mimetic Theories (interested in the relationship between the Work and the Universe), Pragmatic Theories (interested in the relationship between the Work and the Audience), Expressive Theories (interested in the relationship between the Work and the Artist), and Objective Theories (interested in close reading of the Work). The literary critics Harold Bloom, Gayatri Spivak and E. D. Hirsch, and the novelists William H. Gass and Thomas Pynchon were among his students at Cornell. In 1962 he was the founding editor of The Norton Anthology of English Literature, and was the editor of the article  “The Romantic Period (1798–1832)” in that anthology. In his introduction to Lord Byron, he emphasized how Byronism relates to Nietzsche’s idea of the superman. In the introduction to Percy Bysshe Shelley, Abrams said, “The tragedy of Shelley’s short life was that intending always the best, he brought disaster and suffering upon himself and those he loved.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature did not include Anglophone writers from places such as Canada, but it did include writers from various places in the British Isles, for instance, William Butler Yeats, who was appointed a senator in the Irish Free State. Abrams served as General Editor for the first seven editions of The Norton Anthology of English Literature before handing the job to Stephen Greenblatt, a Shakespeare scholar and Harvard professor. Abrams was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1963. The Milk of Paradise: The Effect of Opium Visions on the Works of DeQuincey, Crabbe, Francis Thompson, and Coleridge was published in 1970. In 1998 Modern Library ranked The Mirror and the Lamp one of the 100 greatest English-language nonfiction books of the 20th century. His last book, The Fourth Dimension of a Poem and Other Essays, was published in 2012 (died 2015): “[I went into English because] there weren’t jobs in any other profession…, so I thought I might as well enjoy starving, instead of starving while doing something I didn’t enjoy.”

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