Thursday, August 26, 2010

A bit of time off

August 26, 2010

The 100th Birthday of Mother Theresa of Calcutta

Peace and Good,

This past week I was at a retreat house in Faulkner, Maryland (run by the Jesuits) giving a retreat to a group of Maronite seminarians. There were six of them. The Maronites are an Eastern Rite centered in Lebanon. They are of the Syrian tradition. In the East, there are two major tendencies. One is the Greek tradition such as the Byzantines and the Melkites. The other is the Syriac tradition. The Maronites were founded in Syria, and they migrated to Lebanon over the course of time. They now have two dioceses in the United States. It was interesting to compare the traditions in the East and the West. This is especially true when one considers the Gospel of John which was the major theme for the retreat of the week. As I would speak of the Gospel, the seminarians would speak of the Eastern Fathers and how they had said exactly the same thing. This makes sense, for the Gospel of John was written in this world. It is filled with a profound spirituality which is the characteristic of the Eastern Church. It really made me want to read more of those fathers.

I am taking a week off this week, staying at a condo that the friars have in Ocean City. I'm not too much of a sitting of the beach person. I do love to hear the waves. Ten minutes of them and I am totally calm. I am spending most of the week reading and cooking for myself.

I have finished a few works this week. One was a novel called The Surrendered by Chang-rae Lee. It is a very interesting work. It has stories about China and Korea during the Second World War and the Korean Conflict. It travels to the US as well as Italy. There is quite a bit of violence due to the wars. All of the characters are very flawed characters. They do the best they can, but their baggage is so great that the best they can do is not all that good. It was well worth reading.

A second work is called from Yao to Mao by Kenneth Hammond. This was a course from the Teaching Company that gives a very long study of the history of China from its earliest days until the present. It was very well done.

A third work was a book called The Perfect Heresy: The Revolutionary Life and Death of Medieval Cathars by Stephen O'Shea. This is the story of a heresy that surfaced around the time of St. Francis and St. Anthony of Padua. It was a dualistic heresy which spoke of the good and the bad and how they were totally opposed. The Catholic Church first fought against them with words, but then attacked them with a crusade. Some of the episodes were brutal. As the Catholics were invading one town, a soldier asked the monk leading them how they could distinguish who was Catholic and who was heretical. His answer was that they should kill them all and let God sort out the good from the bad.

Much of the warfare was not all that religious. It was the attempt of certain medieval lords and the king of France to conquer territory, using religion as a sanctimonious excuse. This is not to say that there were not real, honest attempts to bring people back to the faith (e.g. St. Anthony, St. Dominic). Overall, though, it is a sad story.

This is my schedule for the next few months:

08/28/10 - 09/03/10 - St. Francis of Assisi Friary, Mishawaka, IN 46544 p.o.c. Br. Paschal (Novitiate Talks)

09/11/10 - 09/16/10 - Holy Rosary Cluster, Elma, IA 50628 p.o.c. Fr. Ray Atwood (Parish Mission)

09/18/10 - 09/23/10 - Sacred Heart, Newburgh, NY 12550 p.o.c. Sr. Mary McCarthy/Most Reverend Dominick J. Lagonegro (Parish Mission)

09/25/10 - 09/29/10 - St. John, the Apostle, Kingston, Ontario p.o.c. Fr. David Collins (Parish Mission)

10/02/10 - 10/06/10 - St. Raphael, Burlington, Ontario p.o.c. Fr. Maurice Richard (Parish Mission)

10/08/10 - 10/10/10 - Priestfield Retreat Center, Priestfield, WV p.o.c. Carolyn Protin (SFO Retreat)

10/14/10 - Dominican Retreat Center, McLean, VA 22101 p.o.c. Sr. Agnes (Evening for Married Couples)

10/15/10 - 10/17/10 - Dominican Retreat Center, McLean, VA 22101 p.o.c. Sr. Agnes (Men's Retreat)

10/22/10 - 10/26/10 - St. Julia Church, Siler City, NC 27344 p.o.c. Reverend James Fukes (Parish Mission)

11/06/10 - 11/11/10 - Sacred Heart, La Plata, MD 20646 p.o.c. Fr. Ron Potts (Parish Mission)

11/13/10 - 11/18/10 - St. Alphonsus, Wexford, PA 15090 p.o.c. Fr. Peter P. Murphy (Parish Mission)

God bless and Shalom,
fr. Jude


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