Monday, June 25, 2012

Ellicott City

June 25, 2012 Peace and Good, I have been at Ellicott City all this week, taking care of a few writing projects and recovering from the massive jet lag that I had from my trip from Rome to South Korea to California to the east coast. I am more or less caught up now, and am feeling much better. I have begun to write a series of short articles for our magazine in Great Britain. The magazine publishes somewhere around 60,000 to 70,000 copies per month, and it is distributed free. It receives enough donations to pay for the magazine and a large portion of the costs of the formation of our friars. Up to this past year, Bishop John Jukes, one of our friars who was the bishop of Kent, was a monthly contributer. I will now be taking his place, which for me is a real honor. Bishop John was a really fine man. While I am in Ellicott City, there is also the opportunity to take care of Doctor and Dentist visits. This Thursday I had a dentist visit to prepare a couple of teeth for crowns that were badly needed. Well, it turned out to include a root canal, and I ended up being in the dentist chair for six hours. The dentist and staff were wonderful to me, and they understood that with my crazy schedule, it all had to be done in one sitting. Yet, it was a bit of an ordeal. In situations like that, I always try to think of someone who is going through a crisis (physical, psychological, vocational) and I offer up the difficulty for that person. I always find a certain peace descend upon me when I do that. I have finished some reading: Spore by Ian Woodhead This is a short story about the outbreak of an infection caused by spores that kills off first older people and then younger. Sometimes I wonder what type of background the authors of some of these stories has had. It is really violently descriptive of the evil mother of the main character, who causes the infection of her own son after all but torturing and imprisoning him to take care of her. Not exactly a story I would recommend for easy reading. Nero by Jacob Abbott This is another one of Abbott’s biographies for young people. It does not break any new ground, and certainly doesn’t reflect some of the latest thinking about Nero (that some of what was said against him was the propaganda of people who wanted to curry the favor of those who overthrew him.) Yet, it is good to read one of these outlines to remind oneself of the basic details in the story. American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson by Joseph Ellis I have to admit that Jefferson is not my favorite of the founding fathers. He was sneaky (at times openly denying some of the political intrigue of which he was the author). He fought against needed societal constraints such of a federal government capable of governing. (He wanted the absolute minimum of government possible.) He spoke against slavery, but yet kept many slaves himself (and even argued for the extension of slavery into the west in the 1820’s). He saw things in black and white (as many of the other founding fathers did), tarring a feathering (verbally) his Federalist opponents. Yet, he was at times brilliant and tremendously insightful. The best part of the book was the overview of the correspondence between Jefferson and Adams in their old age. It was carried on for 14 years, ending only shortly before the death of both men (ironically, on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence). He also helped to found the University of Virginia at Charlottsville. Ellis is a masterful historian. His books give great insight into this early American period. This is both a good read and a must for those who want just a bit more insight into this mysterious figure (hence the title, for like the Sphinx, he is difficult to classify). The most insightful comment he makes is that while the other founding fathers began with the idea of a government of the people which would protect the rights of that people, Jefferson began with the rights of the individual and spoke of a government which would least endanger those rights. Hope you have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


Post a Comment