Sunday, 2 June 2013

St. Vitus & A Special Feast Day

A priest friend in South Sudan a few years
ago celebrating this feast day with young

Sending out joyful greetings to you all on this wonderful Solemnity of Corpus Christi (Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ).  This is truly one of my most favourite feast days. 

Icon "St. Vitus", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013

Here is my icon of St. Vitus. I had told you some time ago, I think, that I was asking for his intercession regarding the Restless Legs difficulties. While I was asking for his intercession, I felt inclined to “write” an icon of him. As best I could tell, he was a teenage boy with a big nose, big ears and an unshakable faith in our Lord Jesus. Let me tell you what I found out about him and explain some of the things you see on this icon. 

Saint Vitus was from Sicily. He died as a martyr during the persecution of Christians by co-ruling Roman Emperors Diocletian and Maximian in 303. Vitus is counted as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers of the Roman Catholic Church. Saint Vitus' Day is celebrated on June 15th in the Roman Church in those places where it is still celebrated. 

According to legend, St. Vitus was a 13-year-old son of a senator of Lucania.  He resisted his father's attempts, which included various forms of torture, to make him turn away from his faith.  He fled with his tutor Modestus and Modestus's wife Crescentia, to Lucania.  He was taken from there to Rome to drive out a demon which had taken possession of a son of the Emperor Diocletian. This he did, and yet, because he remained steadfast in the Christian Faith, he was tortured together with his tutors.  By a miracle an angel brought back the three to Lucania, where they died from the tortures they had endured. Three days later Vitus appeared to a distinguished matron named Florentia, who then found the bodies and buried them in the spot where they were found. 

Over the centuries, the cult of St. Vitus became very popular in Slavic lands, where his name was Sveti Vid.  In Croatia alone, 123 churches are dedicated to St. Vitus.  In Hungary he has been venerated as Szent Vid since the early Middle Ages.  Serbs celebrate St. Vitus Day as well. Vidovdan is the name given to St. Vitus Day in Serbia among those of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Since they use a different Church calendar, they celebrate the feast of St. Vitus on June 28th.  Interestingly, when looking at Serbian history, we see that on this day, June 28th, occurred the famous Kosovo battle of 1389. As well, on June 28, 1914 the assassination of the Austro-Hungarian crown prince, Franz Ferdinand, occurred which triggered the First World War.  But back to the story of St. Vitus:  As part of his torture, St. Vitus was threatened with boiling oil. When even this failed to change his faith, Vitus was thrown into the oil. A rooster was thrown into the oil with him, sacrificed as part of the ritual against sorcery – something St. Vitus had been charged with after casting out a demon from the son of Diocletian and refusing to give credit for this healing to the Roman gods. Thus a rooster became a symbol for Vitus, and its connection with early rising led to St. Vitus’s patronage and protection against over-sleeping.  By the way, the boiling oil failed to do any serious damage to our saint but evidently it finished off the rooster quite tastily!

 For obscure reasons, some 16th century Germans believed they could obtain a year’s good health by dancing before a statue of Saint Vitus on his feast day. This dancing developed almost into a mania, and was confused with neurological disorder Sydenham's Chorea, the nervous condition later known as Saint Vitus Dance, the saint being invoked against it.  His connection with such “dancing” led to his patronage of dancers, and later to entertainers in general and in particular. 

I had thought that since my Restless Leg problems cause me to have to keep moving my legs almost constantly – sometimes for hours during the night – which seems a bit related to dancing – that maybe, just maybe, St. Vitus could be a help to me in finding a way to control this terrible affliction. Thus far, his intercession does not seem to have made any significant difference!  Of course, the Lord is always telling me that I need to learn holy patience – so, maybe, this is just the Lord’s way of trying to teach me to be joyfully patient in all circumstances! He does things like that, you know!  Anyway, I will keep trying:  St. Vitus, pray for me and for everyone with this awful disease.



Well, Braden went on a play date recently with a lovely young lady and by the time the visit ended, he had made a new girl- friend.  Although she is younger than he, this is an interesting change for him from his previous girlfriend who was in the category of what I would call and "older woman" (I think she is close to 2 years and he is only going to be one at the end of June!).  Below are photos of the visit including one of their first kiss -- soooo sweet.  Enjoy!

Braden had a date with a much younger woman!   So far she doesn't seem to object to his flirty ways!  Actually, as cute as she is, she is probably quite the flirt herself!

I'm sure Braden doesn't mind the adoring looks this attractive, young lady seems to be giving him!  Such a difference from his previous dates with that other, older woman!!  (Remember, we are talking "older" and "younger" here in terms of months, not years!!)

See how sweetly they are playing together.  Braden is even generously sharing the toys with her!
Maybe this will turn out to be The ONE!!!

Ah, what a precious moment to capture on film -- their first kiss!  Of course, to the best of my knowledge, Braden still hasn't gotten the idea that a kiss on the cheek is supposed to be a "closed-mouth" kiss!  No, he still tends to gently include his new teeth in the action!

I will keep you informed as to how things are working out for the couple -- so long as Braden's mom continues to send me photos I should be able to stay abreast of Braden's "fast" moves!  Of course, Braden still hasn't told his other lady friend (the one who cries so much and doesn't like to be kissed) about his new involvement.  I don't know...  things could get a bit uncomfortable!  Keep checking,  this is a story that could rival "The Young and the Restless"!!



Suki likes these hot, sunshine-y days!
Suki has been up to her usual activities since last I reported on her.  At the moment, for example, she is curled up in her box in the closet where she went after having a BIG lunch which left her so full that she did not beg for more -- for a change.  Instead she wandered into the bedroom where she did the required after meal grooming while sitting on my bed before making her way into the closet.  

Actually, it is rather funny to watch her each time she ventures into the closet...  She always approaches the slightly open the door (left that way especially for her) as though she is creeping up on unknown territory where some enemy might be lurking.  It takes her  a half a minute or so to actually decide to venture into the closet and this is done in a hesitating manner as though she is prepared to run at a moment's notice should something menacing emerge for the darkness.  Once she is inside, she becomes much less cautious and I hear her bumping into and over items as she crawls back to her bed.  There is an actual pathway I have left for her which leads directly to her bed, but she seems to prefer to crawl over the various items on the floor instead!  

The only time she doesn't follow this pattern for entering the closet is when the fire alarm goes off -- then she makes a mad dash for that closet, knocking the door open if it is almost closed and leaping over every obstacle until she reaches the safety of her bed.  [Actually, the back of the closet in the bedroom is probably the quietest place in my apartment whenever that alarm goes off.]  What a cat!

I was going to tell you a story about Suki and the stylus I use on my iPad, but I think I will have to save that for next time.  Instead, I will tell you about myself.

Actually, there is not a great deal to tell as, at the moment, everything is pretty much as it has been:  not great, but nothing beyond my God-given ability to endure!

My big news is that my dear friends, Brenda and Charles, got married yesterday in Alabama.  You may recall that I had planned to be there with them and then when things went badly after the surgery in February, I had to cancel my trip.  I thought of them so often throughout the day yesterday and so I was delighted to receive a phone call today from my friend, Gene, who lives down there and attended the wedding and the reception.  He was able to confirm that they are now married and everything went well.  I also quizzed him about who was there -- trying to get as many details as possible.  It wasn't easy as although men can be excellent reporters, they just don't consider so many of those details that matter to a woman to be of any great importance!

As for the computer, it is obviously up and running again.  The repairs turned out to be critically necessary and the cost included a new hard drive.  So, I should be OK for a while now.

The only appointment coming up this week is with my family doctor who I am hoping will be able to help me find some way to get some agency to cover the cost of this new medication which is making such a huge difference in my quality of life.  If I can't find anyone to help me with the cost and my diagnosis remains unchanged, then I will have to stop taking it and return to being at risk for having those awful sleep attacks again -- and the physical damage that goes with them.  Please keep this matter in your prayers.

Well, I was able to watch most of the Holy Hour to celebrate the Solemnity of Corpus Christi with Pope Francis.  It was broadcast on both Salt & Light and EWTN and was shown live from 11 to 12 here as it was actually happening from 5 to 6 p.m. in Rome.  The Communion Ministers arrived from the Cathedral during that hour so I missed about 15 minutes of the broadcast, but that was actually a very wonderful thing to have happen in the middle of a holy hour anyway.  God always has excellent timing.  Now we will wait and see the results of this world-wide prayer effort, praying for the world and the Church.  I think this is a wonderful idea and I really hope that our Holy Father will do this again very soon.

I pray that all of my readers are doing well.  Thank you for the emails that some of you send to me.  Even if I don't answer them, please know that I am thinking of you and praying for your concerns.  

Now, on this glorious feast day, let us all pray for that the peace of God, which is beyond our human understanding but which alone can soothe our souls, asking that God's peace may flow into us and through us out to the whole world.  "Let there be peace on earth, Lord, and let it begin with me."
Mother of our Eucharistic Lord, pray for us.
St. Vitus, pray for us.

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