Sunday, December 12, 2010

Baltimore - Rome

December 12, 2010

Our Lady of Guadalupe / Gaudete Sunday

Peace and Good,

Well, I travelled back to Rome and will be here for three weeks. (What a joy, sleeping in the same bed for three whole weeks.) This week, after I got over some of the worst jet lag, I have been taking care of some projects. I edited a number of reflections for the daily reflections, wrote a new article for the Messenger magazine from Padua, wrote a report for our next definitory meeting which begins tomorrow, etc. I was so busy with the projects that when I went outside Saturday for something, I realized that I had not been outside the front door since I arrived on Wednesday. I'll have to watch that, it's so easy to get caught up in what you're doing.

The various Assistant Generals have been out on the road since the last meeting. They have been coming back home one by one, and it is great to see the joy on the friars faces to see them home again. It reminds me of the scenes when the disciples were sent out by Jesus and when the first friars were sent out by St. Francis and then came home. We have stories to share with each other from Paraguay, Poland, Kenya, Tanzania, Vietnam, Australia, the States, etc.

This coming week and a half are filled with meetings. I will be here at home (Santi Apostoli) for Christmas day, and then the day after I will head up to Assisi for a private retreat.

I finished a couple of books. The first was Alexander of Russia by Henri Troyat. Alexander was the czar who defeated Napoleon when he invaded Russia. He is a complex figure. He wanted to be liberal in his ideas, as long as it didnàt have to be applied to real life, e.g. the fact he did not liberate the serfs in his own country. He was the grandson of Catherine the Great. She wanted him to succeed her, but died before that could be made public. He allowed for some army friends to assisinate his father (who was definitely a loser), and he suffered from guilt for this for the rest of his life. This is not the first book I have read by Troyat. He is an excellent author, but one has to be willing to invest a lot of time because none of his books are short.

The other book I finished was called Cod by Mark Kurlansky. As an author, Kurlansky has cornered an interesting section of the market: food. In this book, he shows how cod fed massive portions of the population in Europe from the Middle Ages. It was considered to be a source of weaalth from the new world alongside silver and gold. He speaks of how it became a cheap source of protein for the slaves on the sugar plantations in the Carribean, indirectly supporting that horrific institution. He also speaks about the collapse of the fishing stock and how desparate life is now for cod fishermen. He even include a number of recepees for cod from earlier days and the present. It was a good read.

I hope you have a good week.

fr. Jude


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