Daily Update: Thursday, May 26th, 2016

Corpus Christi (Traditional) and Philip Neri

Today is the traditional date of the Solemnity of The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi), although in America the Solemnity will be celebrated this coming Sunday. And today is the Memorial of  Saint Philip Neri, Priest (died 1595).

The appearance of a feast to the Body and Blood of Christ was primarily due to the petitions of the thirteenth-century Augustinian nun Juliana of Liège. From her early youth Juliana had a veneration for the Blessed Sacrament, and always longed for a special feast in its honor. In 1208 she reported her first vision of Christ in which she was instructed to plead for the institution of the feast of Corpus Christi. The vision was repeated for the next 20 years but she kept it a secret. When she eventually relayed it to her confessor, he relayed it to the bishop, who made it a feast in his own diocese. In 1264 Pope Urban IV issued the papal bull Transiturus de hoc mundo in which Corpus Christi was made a feast throughout the entire Latin Rite, the first papally sanctioned universal feast so honored. In most locations it is held the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, to highlight the connection with the Institution of the Eucharist on Holy Thursday. In the United States and some other countries the solemnity is held on the Sunday after Trinity Sunday, and thus on the Second Sunday after Pentecost. Today’s Saint was born in 1515 at Florence, Italy; though he was related to Italian nobility, Saint Philip Neri came from a poor family. Known as a pious youth, he was taught humanities by the Dominicans. He moved to San Germano in 1533 to help some of his extended family with their business, and while there would escape to a local Dominican chapel in the mountains. Having received a vision that he had an apostolate in Rome, Philip cut himself off from his family and went there. He was befriended by Galeotto Caccia who took Philip in and paid him to tutor his two sons. He wrote poetry in Latin and Italian, and studied philosophy and theology; when he tired of learning, he sold all his books and gave the money to the poor. He began to visit and care for the sick, and for impoverished pilgrims, and founded a society of like-minded folk to do the same. A friend of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, he lived in the city as a hermit, although at this time he was still a layman. During Easter season of 1544, while praying in the catacomb of San Sebastiano, he received a vision of a globe of fire that entered his chest, and he experienced an ecstasy that physically enlarged his heart. With Persiano Rose, he founded the Confraternity of the Most Holy Trinity, and began to preach, with many converts. He possessed a playful humour, combined with a shrewd wit. Known as the Saint of Joy, he considered a cheerful temper to be more Christian than a melancholy one, and carried this spirit into his whole life. In 1550 he considered retiring to the life of a solitary hermit, but received further visions that told him his mission was in Rome. Later he considered missionary work in India, but further visions convinced him to stay in Rome. Finally becoming a priest in 1551, he heard confessions by the hour, could tell penitents their sins before they confessed, and had the gift of conferring visions. An enemy of solemnity and conventionality, when some of his more pompous penitents made their confession to him he imposed salutary and deflating penances on them, such as walking through the streets of Rome carrying his cat (he was very fond of cats). When a novice showed signs of excessive seriousness, Philip stood on his head in front of him to make him laugh. In every case there was an excellent point to his pranks: to combat pride, or melancholy, or hero-worship. Pope Gregory XIV tried to make him a cardinal, but Philip declined. His popularity was such that he was accused of forming his own sect, but was cleared of this baseless charge. In 1575 he founded the Congregation of the Oratory (Oratorians, a group of priests dedicated to preaching and teaching), but which suffered from accusations of heresy because of the involvement of laymen as preachers. In later years he was beset by several illnesses, each of which was in turn cured through prayer. He is the Patron Saint of joy and laughter, of the City of Rome, and of the United States Special Forces.

Last night our #7 ranked LSU Tigers (seeded #5 in the SEC College Baseball Tournament) beat #4 ranked (and #4 seeded) Florida by the score of 5 to 3; it is more accurate to say they won the game today, as the game started at 8:41 pm and lasted for 14 innings until 1:48 am, making it the longest game in SEC Tournament history.

I woke up today at 8:00 am, and, after reading the morning papers and eating my breakfast toast, I did my walking exercise around the neighborhood; my Map My Walk app said I walked 2.18 miles in 48.26 minutes. (I understand that there are people who become addicted to exercise; I can safely say that I am not one of those people.) I then did my Book Devotional Reading, and did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Seventh Day of my Corpus Christi Novena.

Richard and I left the house at 12:15 pm, and at the Hit-n-Run I purchased my Powerball and Louisiana Lotto lottery tickets for Saturday night’s drawing. At Wal-Mart we got groceries and my salad supplies, and at Little Caesar’s we got pizza pizza. We arrived home at 1:15 pm, and we ate pizza pizza for lunch. I then worked on my weblog, doing a couple of Advance Daily Update Drafts. I then made my lunch salads for Saturday and Sunday (I will eat my Tuesday salad tomorrow for lunch), then watched Jeopardy! And I will now finish this Daily Update and get ready for bed. Tonight our #7 ranked LSU Tigers (seeded #5 in the SEC College Baseball Tournament) will be playing #2 ranked (and #1 seeded) Mississippi State; I will record the score of the game in tomorrow’s Daily Update.

Tomorrow is the Optional Memorial of Saint Augustine of Canterbury, Bishop (died 605). Richard and I will return to the casino for the start of our work week. And after lunch I will do my exercise walking. Since tomorrow is the Quarterfinals in the SEC College Baseball Tournament, depending on how LSU does on Thursday, they will play in the Quarterfinals with an as-yet-to-be-determined opponent and at an as-yet-to-be-determined time (the tournament is double-elimination).

Our Parting Quote on this Thursday afternoon comes to us from Art Linkletter, Canadian-born American radio and television personality. Born as Gordon Arthur Kelly in 1912 in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, he was abandoned by his family when only a few weeks old and was adopted by the Linkletter family. When he was five his family moved to San Diego, California, where he graduated from high school at age 16. During the early years of the Great Depression he rode trains around the country doing odd jobs and meeting a wide variety of people. In 1934 he earned a bachelor’s degree from San Diego State Teachers College (now San Diego State University) (SDSU); while he attended San Diego State, he played for the basketball team, and was a member of the swimming team. He had previously planned to attend Springfield College, but did not for financial reasons. He earned a degree in teaching, but took a job as a radio announcer at KGB-FM in San Diego, as radio paid better than teaching. Linkletter directed radio programs for fairs and expositions in the mid-1930s, and married in 1935. In the 1940s he worked in Hollywood with John Guedel on their pioneering radio show,People Are Funny, which employed audience participation, contests, and gags and served as a prototype of future game shows on radio and television. House Party was launched as a radio show in 1945, and ran on radio off and on through 1967. He also acted in the movies People Are Funny (1946) and Champagne for Caesar (1950). In 1950 Life with Linkletter debuted as a television show; Under the title Art Linkletter’s House Party, the show premiered on CBS television on September 1st, 1952 and had become television’s longest-running daytime variety show by the time it completed its run on September 5th, 1969. The show’s best-remembered segment was “Kids Say the Darndest Things”, in which Linkletter interviewed schoolchildren between the ages of five and ten. The popularity of this segment led to a TV series with the same title hosted by Bill Cosby on CBS-TV from January 1998 to June 2000, and a series of Kids Say the Darndest Things books. Two were illustrated by Charles Schulz in a rare non-Peanuts approach. During the segment’s 27-year run, Linkletter interviewed an estimated 23,000 children. In the 1950s Linkletter became a major investor in and promoter of the hula hoop. Meanwhile, People Are Funny became a television show in 1954 and ran until 1961. and he was the commentator on the opening day celebrations of Disneyland in 1955. He guest-hosed The Tonight Show three times in 1962, and in 1963 Linkletter became the endorser and spokesman for Milton Bradley’s The Game of Life. His picture appeared on the box with the statement “I Heartily Endorse This Game”, and also on the $100,000 bills featured in the game. He wrote his autobiography, Confessions of a Happy Man, in 1960, His 20-year-old daughter, a student at UCLA, died on October 4th, 1969 by jumping out of her sixth-floor kitchen window. Linkletter claimed that she committed suicide because she was on, or having a flashback from, an LSD trip, and spoke out against drugs to prevent children from straying into a drug habit. His record, We Love You, Call Collect, recorded before her death, featured a discussion about permissiveness in modern society. It featured a rebuttal by his daughter, called Dear Mom and Dad. The record won a 1970 Grammy Award for the “Best Spoken Word Recording”. In 1980 he published another autobiography, I Didn’t Do It Alone: The Autobiography of Art Linkletter As Told to George Bishop. A Republican, he became a political organizer and a spokesman for the United Seniors Association, now known as USA Next, an alternative to the AARP. He was also a member of Pepperdine University’s Board of Regents. He received a lifetime achievement Daytime Emmy award in 2003. In 2005, at the age of 93, he opened the Happiest Homecoming on Earth celebrations for the fiftieth anniversary of Disneyland. Half a century earlier, he had been the commentator on the opening day celebrations in 1955. For officiating at both events, he was named a Disney Legend (died 2010): “Things work out best for the people who make the best of the way things work out.”

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