What about the Phillies in 2016?
May 17, 2016
I have made it clear that I expect the Chicago Cubs to win it all this year. From my study of Major League Baseball History, and by the leading, I believe, of the Holy Spirit, I predict that the Cubs will break out of the several curses they’ve been under. These curses are from Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. These curses have nothing to do with the devil’s Billy goat curse, or the prediction from “Back To The Future,” that had the Cubs finally winning in 2015. As far as I can see it, that’s probably why the Cubs didn’t win last year – so no credit goes to a movie and ALL the credit can go to the God of Israel. From the “Curse of Three Finger Brown” in 1912 when they cut the only MLB player to have the name of an especially blessed man in the Bible, Mordechai, on the exact day of his Jewish birthday (his birthday on the Hebrew calendar); to “The Curse of the Bambino, Chicago-style”, for the Cubs’ rude treatment of Babe Ruth (another blessed individual) in both the 1918 and 1932 World Series’ ; to the “Curse of the Hebrew Hammer” , for the Cubs’ nasty Anti-Semitic treatment of the greatest Jewish slugger ever to play MLB – Hank Greenberg (ANOTHER blessed individual) in both the 1935 and 1945 Fall Classics; to their disrespectful treatment of ANOTHER blessed individual – Leo Durocher. The greatest Jewish pitcher who ever lived (the only pitcher voted as one of the top Four Living Players in 2015), Sandy Koufax, also cursed them by throwing his only Perfect Game against the Cubs at Dodger Stadium in September of 1965. Jake Arrieta’s no-hitter against the Dodgers – in Dodger Stadium, the exact location of “The Curse of the Koufax Cadenza”- reversed that curse in 2015. Finally – last, but not at all least – the Cubs hired the same Jewish man to be their Team President, Theo Epstein, who was the General Manager of the Boston Red Sox when THEY broke their “Curse of the Bambino” in 2004. The Babe’s Called Shot, which, according to Ruth himself, was his greatest moment on a baseball field, cursed the Cubs for 84 years, from 1932 to… 2016.
So – what about my favorite team, the Phillies? Have I abandoned them? May it never be! I got the Phillies going a long way this year – maybe being the team the Cubs beat to get to the Series. I’m going to re-post some of the essays I wrote last year about the Phillies. This first one will be on Aaron Nola. I have not changed anything below. I think it’s significant that his name is “Aaron” , named after a blessed person in Scripture, Moses’ brother, the progenitor of the priestly line and the one who received the Aaronic Covenant. Is it not also Providential that the Cubs most blessed pitcher, Jake Arrieta, has the name “Jacob” – who was re-named “Israel” by Yahweh.
6th Elul 5775 (August 23, 2015)
I wanted to see if Aaron Nola’s name had any providential significance. At first, I was stymied by the fact that ‘NOLA” is used as shorthand for “New Orleans, Louisiana”, and knowing that Aaron Nola is from Louisiana (he went to LSU), I was a little baffled. But – nobody in America is named after where they come from. So, it wasn’t long before I figured it out – more than likely he’s named after the city near Naples, Nola, Italy.
Now, that seemed to make sense – good to have a fellow Italian-American on the Phillies. Unless his name is a shortened form of something else (like, say, Nolanski), I could be pretty sure of his heritage. Also – the fact that he went to Catholic High School in his hometown seemed to clinch it.
What is significant about Nola in Italy, then? It’s interesting; in ancient times, it was a significant place because of its location on the road between Rome and Naples. According to Wikipedia: “Nola, though losing much of its importance, remained a municipium with its own institutions and the use of the Oscan language. It became a Roman colony under Augustus, who died there in 14 AD.” Fascinating – of all the places that the greatest Roman emperor could have died, he died in Nola. Maybe, considering Nola’s later Christian importance, this was a sign of how weak and insignificant even the greatest of Earth’s rulers are compared to Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Continuing: “Later it became an important site of Christian pilgrimage and hospitality, after the Christian senator Paulinus relocated to the town, eventually becoming bishop.” Saint Paulinus of Nola was a “major theologian and a writer of the late Western Roman Empire, and who is also credited with inventing the church bell (campana in Italian, taking its name from Campania).” Nola was also the home of Saint Felix of Nola. The church erected by Paulinus in honor of St. Felix in the 4th century is extant in part.
“Felix of Nola (d. ca. 250) was a Christian presbyter (an ordinary elder in the church, not a bishop) who sold off his possessions in order to give to the poor, but was arrested and tortured for his Christian faith during the persecution of the Roman emperor Decius (r. 249-51). He was believed to have died a martyr’s death during the persecution of Decius or Valentinian (ca. 253), but is now listed in the General Roman Calendar as a confessor of the faith, who survived his tortures.”
“When bishop Maximus fled to the mountains to escape the persecution of Decius, Felix was arrested and beaten for his faith instead. He escaped prison, according to legend being freed by an angel, so that he could help bishop Maximus. Felix found Maximus alone, ill, and helpless, and hid him from soldiers in a vacant building. When the two were safely inside, a spider quickly spun a web over the door, fooling the imperial forces into thinking it was long abandoned, and they left without finding the Christians. A subsequent attempt to arrest Felix followed, which he avoided by hiding in a ruined building where again spider web was spun across the entrance convinced the soldiers the building was abandoned. The two managed to hide from authorities until the persecution ended with the death of Emperor Decius in 251.”
More from Wikipedia about Felix (who sounds like the real deal – I would believe, from these facts of his life, that he truly loved the Savior – “After Maximus’s death, the people wanted Felix to be the next bishop of Nola, but he declined, favoring Quintus, a ‘senior’ priest who had seven days more experience than Felix. Felix himself continued as a priest. He also continued to farm his remaining land, and gave most of the proceeds to people even poorer than himself.” Sounds genuinely humble – a good sign that he was a saved individual.
More: “Legend assigns to Felix a martyr’s death either in the year 255 under Emperor Valerian (253-260) or, in another version, in the general persecution instigated by the Emperor Decius (249-251). According to Butler, Felix died in a good old age, on the fourteenth of January,”
And, finally: “Saint Felix was imprisoned at a time of furious persecutions and underwent harsh torture. When at length peace was obtained, he returned home and in poverty lived a withdrawn life until old age, an unconquered confessor of the faith” That last line clinches it for me – I look forward to seeing brother Felix in Glory!
If Aaron Nola is like Felix of Nola, he’s a guy that I want on my team. Another win on the way to the pennant! Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles! I have nothing to do with it – it’s in the hand of the One who made the heavens and the Earth!