Monday, May 14, 2012

Bacau - Rome - Chicago

May 14, 2012 Peace and Good, I finished off the second of the two retreats that I was giving in Romania. This was a different type of a group with its own dynamic. Not bad, just different. The province of Romania is quite large (over 250 friars) and quite young, and you can sense that when you talk with the friars. It will take time for them to mature as a group, and that only comes slowly. On Saturday I flew back to Rome. It was a good flight. I was in the middle of a group of men who were very loud. I thought that they might be from Naples in southern Italy. The people from Naples know how to have a good time. The city is not organized, but no one really cares all that much. The friars who were on the same flight told me that they were not even Italians, they were gypsies. They travel to Italy to plan in the gypsy bands that visit the restaurants. That explained everyting. Yesterday I flew from Rome to Chicago for an extraordinary chapter of our province out here. That will be held tomorrow, and then back to Rome on Wednesday evening. I finished some reading: Underneath by Kealan Patrick Burke This is a twisted short story of high school years. There are bullies, the girl everyone makes fun of, the boy who is beaten up and eventually takes his revenge, cutting, etc. But that is only the start of the strangeness. I didn’t realize til later that the author writes mainly ghost stories, so now the strangeness makes sense. I wouldn’t say it was a pleasant read, but it was at least interesting if at the same time troubling. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris This is a book that I have avoided reading (and I haven’t seen the film either) because it just seemed too gory. It is, in fact, messy to an extreme, but it was well written. This was the abridged version that I have read, but it was very, very good. It is about two mass murderers and an FBI agent. One is in a criminal psychiatric institute and is a cannibal but also a psychiatrist, so he is incredibly astute. The other kills woman to form a “woman” suit because he was refused a sex change operation and wants to become a woman whatever way he can. Reaper by Rachel Vincent This is a short story about a teen age male banshee who dies in an accident (offering his life in place of his brother’s). He is brought back to life to be given the job of reaper, one who helps the soul of a dying person leave the body and head on to the next stage. This is another of those books written for young people which speak about the afterlife and what expects one. There are vampire stories, wolf men, etc. It is almost as if young people are not finding the answers for their mystical search in traditional ways and so they are looking into other sources. I think we should see this trend as a symptom and not as a problem. What does it suggest for the way we present our faith? What are we missing? I hope you have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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