Alleluia! Today is the Second Sunday of Easter, the Eighth Day in the Octave of Easter, and Divine Mercy Sunday. Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint George, Martyr (died about 304) and the Optional Memorial of Saint Adalbert of Prague, Bishop and Martyr (died 997). Today is also World Book and Copyright Day. Today is National Tax Freedom Day 2017, and at sunset tonight begins Yom haShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Divine Mercy Sunday is dedicated to the devotion to the Divine Mercy Devotion promoted by Saint Mary Faustina Kowalska (died 1938) She was a Polish nun who reported a number of apparitions, visions and conversations with Jesus which she wrote in her diary, later published as the book Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul. The three main themes of the devotion are to ask for and obtain the mercy of God, to trust in Christ’s abundant mercy, and finally to show mercy to others and act as a conduit for God’s mercy towards them. Her diary further stated that anyone who participates in the Divine Mercy Mass and receives the sacraments of confession and Eucharist on this day is assured by Jesus of full remission of sins. The devotion was actively promoted by Saint Pope John Paul II, who was Polish, and who had a great devotion to Sister Kowalska. On April 30th, 2000, the canonization of Faustina Kowalska took place and the Sunday after Easter was officially designated as the Sunday of the Divine Mercy (Dominica II Paschae seu de divina misericordia) in the General Roman Calendar. The Divine Mercy image (also commissioned by Jesus through Saint Faustina Kowalska’s diary) is often carried in processions on Divine Mercy Sunday, and is placed in a location in the church so that it can be venerated by those who attended the Mass. Saint John Paul II, Pope, decreed in 2002 a plenary indulgence associated with this devotion; to gain a plenary indulgence, a person must exclude all attachment to sin of any kind, even venial sin, must perform the work or say the prayer for which the indulgence is granted, and must also fulfill the three conditions of sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and praying for the intentions of the Pope. Turning to our Saints, all that is known for sure of Saint George is that he was a soldier and a martyr, who died about 304; the rest is legend. The best known story of him is from the Golden Legend (1260), which relates that a dragon lived in a lake near Silena, Libya. Whole armies had gone up against this fierce creature, and had gone down in painful defeat. The monster ate two sheep each day; when mutton was scarce, lots were drawn in local villages, and maidens were substituted for sheep. Into this country came Saint George. Hearing the story on a day when a princess was to be eaten, he crossed himself, rode to battle against the serpent, and killed it with a single blow with his lance. George then held forth with a magnificent sermon, and converted the locals. Given a large reward by the king, George distributed it to the poor, then rode away. Due to his chivalrous behavior (protecting women, fighting evil, dependence on faith and might of arms, largesse to the poor, and not being eaten by dragons), devotion to Saint George became popular in Europe after the 10th century. In the 15th century his feast day was as popular and important as Christmas. He is the Patron Saint of England; the celebrated Knights of the Garter are actually Knights of the Order of Saint George. The shrine built for his relics at Lydda, Palestine was a popular point of pilgrimage for centuries. We also honor Saint Adalbert of Prague, Bishop and Martyr (died 997). Born about 957 in Libice nad Cidlinou, Bohemia (part of modern Czech Republic) with the name of Vojtěch, he was of the Bohemian nobility. Going into religion, he took the name of Saint Adalbert of Magdeburg, the archbishop who had educated and converted him, after his mentor’s death. He was made Bishop of Prague (in the modern Czech Republic in 982. A friend of Emperor Otto III, the new bishop encouraged the evangelization of the Magyars. Opposed by the nobility in Prague and unpopular in the area, he withdrew to Rome, Italy and became a Benedictine monk, making his vows in 990; Pope John XV sent him back to Prague, where he met more opposition from the nobility, and returned to Rome. There being no hope of his working in Prague, he was allowed to (unsuccessfully) evangelize in Pomerania, Poland, Prussia, Hungary, and Russia. He and his fellow missionaries were martyred by Prussians near Koenigsberg (Danzig) at the instigation of a pagan priest. He is the Patron Saint of Bohemia, Hungary, Poland, and Prussia. Today is also World Book and Copyright Day, a yearly event organized by UNESCO to promote reading, publishing and copyright. The date had been used by Catalonian booksellers since 1923 to celebrate the works of the author Miguel de Cervantes, who died on this date in 1616 according to the Gregorian Calendar (the one we now use). In 1995 UNESCO decided that World Book and Copyright Day would be celebrated on this date because of the Catalonian festival and because the date is also the anniversary of the birth and death (four hundred years ago today) of William Shakespeare. (However, because during the lifetime of Shakespeare England was still using the Julian calendar, he actually died ten days after Cervantes.) Today is also National Tax Freedom Day, when on a national average basis Americans have worked enough to pay for their 2017 taxes. (My Two or Three Loyal Readers may go to the National Tax Freedom Day website to see when Tax Freedom Day 2017 occurs (or occurred) in their own states; it occurred in Louisiana on April 10th). And today at sunset begins Yom haShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. (Shoah, meaning “calamity”, is the standard Hebrew term for the Holocaust.) It was inaugurated on 1953, anchored by a law signed by the Prime Minister of Israel David Ben-Gurion and the President of Israel Yitzhak Ben-Zvi. The original proposal was to hold Yom haShoah on the 14th of Nisan, the anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising (April 19th, 1943), but this was problematic because the 14th of Nisan is the day immediately before Pesach (Passover). The date was moved to the 27th of Nisan, which is eight days before Yom Ha’atzma’ut, or Israeli Independence Day unless the 27th would be adjacent to Shabbat, in which case the date is shifted by a day. Yom haShoah opens in Israel at sundown in a state ceremony held in Warsaw Ghetto Square at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes Authority in Jerusalem. During the ceremony the national flag is lowered to half mast, the President and the Prime Minister both deliver speeches, Holocaust survivors light six torches symbolizing the approximately six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust and the Chief Rabbis recite prayers.
Last night I continued reading The Hobbit Party: The Vision of Freedom That Tolkien Got, and the West Forgot by Jonathan Witt and Jay W. Richards, and our #16 LSU Lady Tigers lost their second Home College Softball game with the #9 Tennessee Lady Volunteers by the score of 4 to 6.
When I woke up to get ready for work, I posted to Facebook that today was World Book and Copyright Day, that today was Tax Freedom Day, and that Yom HaShoah would begin at sunset. I did my Book Devotional Reading, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading. When we clocked in at the casino, Richard was on Mini Baccarat. I was on Macau Mini Baccarat, closed that table, was then sent to close the Let It Ride table, changed Blackjack cards, then became the Relief Dealer for Pai Gow and Mini Baccarat.
On our way home from work I continued reading Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment by Deepak Chopra via Kindle on my tablet. We stopped at Twisted Wings and brought home barbequed pork for our lunch; the Acadiana Advocate was never delivered today, so I ate my barbequed pork while working on my June 2017 photos for this weblog. I then followed the dulcet sounds coming from the television set, and with Richard I watched A Hard Day’s Night (1964), which is a movie I have always loved. I then came to the computer to do today’s Daily Update. Our #8 LSU Tigers lost their third Away College Baseball game with the #13 Kentucky Wildcats by the score of 2 to 10; our #8 LSU Tigers (26-14, 10-8) will next play an Away College Baseball game with the Tulane Green Wave on Tuesday, April 25th. And our #16 LSU Lady Tigers won their third Home College Softball game with the #9 Tennessee Lady Volunteers by the score of 1 to 0; our #16 LSU Lady Tigers (34-14, 9-9) will next play a Home College Softball game with the South Alabama Lady Jaguars on Tuesday, April 25th. And when I finish this Daily Update I will continue reading in The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life by James Martin.
Tomorrow Yom haShoah continues, and tomorrow is the Optional Memorial of Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen, Priest and Martyr (died 1622). Tomorrow is also the 35th Anniversary of when Richard and I first met. 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. After work I will pick up prescriptions at the Pharmacy, and when I get home from work I will make my lunch salads for Tuesday and whenever, and eat one of my salads.
Our Parting Quote on this Divine Mercy Sunday (Alleluia!) afternoon comes to us from Richard Corliss, American film critic. Born in 1944 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he attended St. Joseph’s College, Philadelphia (now Saint Joseph’s University), obtaining a bachelor’s degree, before progressing to Columbia University to earn a master’s degree in film studies. Corliss resided in New York City with his wife, Mary Yushak, formerly a curator in the Film Stills Archive of the Museum of Modern Art. He wrote for many magazines, including the National Review from 1966–1970, The New Times, Maclean’s, and SoHo Weekly News. Corliss had a lengthy association with Film Comment magazine, serving as its editor from 1970 to 1990. Corliss covered movies for the magazine and for time.com simultaneously. He brought Jonathan Rosenbaum to Film Comment as a Paris correspondent. Despite working for the National Review, a conservative magazine, Corliss was a self-described “liberal”. In 1980 he joined Time. Although he started as an associate editor, he was promoted to senior writer by 1985. At Film Comment, Corliss helped draw attention to the screenwriter in the creation of movies. Corliss challenged Andrew Sarris’s idea of the Director as author or auteur of this work. Corliss had been one of Sarris’ students at New York University (NYU); the two remained friends until Sarris’ death. Corliss used to work on the board of the New York Film Festival, but resigned in 1987 after longtime head Richard Roud was fired due to his challenging of editorial direction of the festival. In a 1990 article, Corliss mentioned his mother clipping movie ads with quotes of his and posting them to her refrigerator door. Corliss wrote for time.com as well as the print magazine including a retired column about nostalgic pop culture called That Old Feeling. He wrote occasional articles for Time; in a 1993 Time magazine movie review of The Crying Game, Corliss subtly gave away the spoiler of the film, by spelling it out with the first letters of each paragraph of his review. He was an occasional guest on Charlie Rose’s talk show commenting on new releases, mostly during the 1990s with Janet Maslin and David Denby. His last appearance on the show was in December 2005 to talk about the year in film. Corliss also appeared on A&E Biography to talk about the life and work of Jackie Chan, and appeared in Richard Schickel’s documentary about Warner Brothers. Corliss attended the Cannes Film Festival along with Roger Ebert and Todd McCarthy for the longest period of any American journalist. He also attended festivals in Toronto and Venice. Lolita, Corliss’s third book, was a study of Vladimir Nabokov’s book and Stanley Kubrick’s film. Later Corliss wrote an introductory essay for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: A Portrait of the Ang Lee Film. Corliss also admired the Pixar movies, including listing Finding Nemo as one of his and fellow Time critic Richard Schickel’s 100 all-time greatest movies. With recent Pixar releases Cars and Ratatouille Corliss had access into the studio’s inner workings. Corliss along with Schickel made a 100 Greatest movies list, and Corliss alone created lists of the 25 greatest villains, the 25 best horror films, and the 25 most important films on race. In addition he was on the 2001 jury for AFI’s 100 Greatest movies list. Corliss had movies on his top ten lists that Schickel rated the worst of the year. These included 2001’s Moulin Rouge!, 2003’s Cold Mountain and 2004’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. In August 2004, Stephen King, criticizing what he saw as a growing trend of leniency towards films by critics, included Corliss among a number of “formerly reliable critics who seem to have gone remarkably soft – not to say softhearted and sometimes softheaded – in their old age.” Despite challenging Siskel and Ebert in his Film Comment article, “all thumbs”, Corliss praised Ebert in a June 23th, 2007 article “Thumbs up for Roger Ebert.” Corliss later appeared in Ebert’s book Awake in the Dark in discussions and debates with Ebert about film criticism where “all thumbs” was reprinted. Corliss appeared in the 2009 documentary film For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism, confessing that he was the film critic who, in the 1970s, coined the term “Paulettes” for the ardent followers of The New Yorker‘s film critic Pauline Kael, a label which stuck (died 2015): “To transport picturegoers to a unique place in the glare of the earth, in the darkness of the heart – this you realize with a gasp of joy, is what movies can do.”