Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Madrid - Ellicott City - Mishawaka

August 30, 2011

Peace and Good,

Last Sunday was the last day of World Youth Day in Madrid. I flew out the next morning, and considering that there were hundreds of thousands of young people flying out, the airport wasn't really as chaotic as I would have thought.

I flew right into Ellicott City (Baltimore) where I spent the next few days catching up on doctor's appointments and other little projects. I always set aside mindless projects for the days after I travel when the jet lag keeps me from being able to think all that well.

I was on the east coast during the earthquake. I have been in earthquakes in a number of countries, and right away realized that this was at least a moderate one. I wasn't all that surprised when it measured 5.8.

I also just got out of Baltimore before the hurricane closed the airport. It was a bit bumpy on the way up, but once we got past the storm, things were radically different.

I am in Mishawaka (South Bend, Indiana) this week to give a workshop to the novices on the gospels and the psalms. There are seven of them from England, Nigeria, and the US. St. Francis told us that the style of life that we were to live was to live the Gospels, so it is good to know them well. Likewise, we pray the psalms several times a day when we pray our Divine Office, so it good to know that the symbolism means for they were written over 2,000 years ago in a primitive language (Biblical Hebrew).

I finished a few works. The first was a set of CD's called Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. It is about two sisters who start out in Shanghai just before World War II and who emigrate to the States where they face innumerable difficulties because of their being Chinese. The book is good both for knowing another culture and realizing how prejudiced we as a nation were against east Asians.

A second work was Callista: A Tale of the 3rd Century by John Henry Newman (Blessed Cardinal John Newman). He writes about a martyr for the faith in North Africa. His style of writing in ponderous, with long, meaningful speeches. Sometimes, it is better to imply things without having to say it out loud over and over again.

The third work was the Death of Ivan Ilich by Leo Tolstoy. This was a masterpiece of literature in which he recounts the thoughts of a man who is dying and the reactions of his friends and family. They cannot really understand, they blame him for his illness, etc. He feels all alone and confused and angry. He slowly longs for the death that will set him free from his terrible suffering. It is truly worth reading.

Hope you have a good week and a great Labor Day Weekend.

fr. Jude


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