Monday, June 4, 2012


June 4, 2012 Peace and Good, This has been a rather quiet week. I have been in Rome all week. The early part of the week was doing a number of projects that had been put off (reports for our definitory, daily reflections on scripture, etc.) Then Wednesday and Thursday we had a definitory. This was the shortest one that I have attended so far. On Friday, one of the American provincials, fr. Justin, from Immaculate Conception Province, arrived. I have been with him off and on in these days. This coming week, we have a meeting with the seven presidents of the zones (we call them conferences and federations) of our order. We do this every year, but this year it is especially important as we get ready for our General Chapter (meeting of all the provincials and delegates from throughout the world). We will be holding it in Assisi from mid January until mid February. That is when a new general will be elected (or the present one re-elected), as well as his definitory. That includes myself, and I am either ready to continue or to go home. It is a really good feeling to not need to have this responsibility. Some friars are crushed if they are not re-elected. That would certainly not be my reaction. I have more than enough to do with my writing and giving retreats to keep me busy for the rest of my life. Whatever the Holy Spirit wants…. I will probably be posting next week’s entry later this week and not on the weekend. This Saturday I will be heading to Seoul for the provincial chapter. Since I did the visitation during this past January, I must be present to give the report at the chapter itself. Then, off to California for a couple of days, and then on to the east coast. I have finished a few books: The Prometheus Project: Stranded by Rouglas E. Richards This is the third of the Prometheus Project books. The premise is that an alien city has been found underground in Pennsylvania. A scientist couple are instrumental in its exploration, and their children sneak in and join the team. In this volume, there is the question of what the fourth dimension must be like. The hope in the book is to stretch one’s concepts of what some other form of being might be like. Also, there is the question of behavioral activity among animals. All of these books are intended to teach scientific information in a palatable way. It is an easy read, and enjoyable. The History of Standard Oil by Ida Tarbell This is a muckracker’s history of the foundation of Standard Oil company by John D. Rockefeller, Sr. In the 1870’s and beyond. I read this at the same time that I was reading a biography of Rockefeller by Ron Chernow. This was good because it gave me a different view on some of the machinations that Rockefeller resorted to corner the market on refining oil in the United States until Standard Oil controlled 90% of the industry. He did this especially by obtaining rebates from the railroads for the oil that they carried from the main center of production (northwestern Pennsylvania). Not only did he receive money back for each barrel of oil that he shipped, he was able to receive that same rebate for every barrel of oil his competitors shipped. This caused the industry to center upon Cleveland, while that centered in northwestern Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia to suffer. This particular volume is more of an attack on his practices than an honest evaluation of what he did. Dragged into Darkness by Simon Wood This is a series of short stories by the mystery writer Simon Wood. I have read one of his mystery novels, but these are very different. They are all a bit bizarre. There is a pilot whose plane begins to crash because he has lost faith in the fact that planes can fly. There is a story of a mysterious creature found in a volcano during the war by the British which is able to read minds anywhere in the world. The catch is that it eats human flesh, so the only person who communicates with it must falsify a bit of the information to insure that some of the raids will fail, producing tons of human flesh. There is even the shrunken head genre within this collection. Have a good week. Shalom Fr. Jude


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