Saturday, June 9, 2012


June 9, 2012 Peace and Good, I have been in Rome all of this week for a second week of meetings. This time our definitory met with the heads of the various conferences throughout the world. There are seven of them (Asia, Africa, North America, Latin America, Mediterranean Europe, Central Europe and Eastern Europe), the same number of assistant generals of the various areas. We talked about how things are going in their areas, getting ready for General Chapter, a couple of projects that the order has begun, etc. We actually ended the meeting early, so yesterday was spent correcting the English of one of our friars’ doctoral thesis. He did it on philosophy, and that is not my favorite field. Fortunately, I don’t have to understand what he is writing, I only have to correct the grammar. Considering that English is not his first language, he has done an incredible job. I am now half finished (it is well over 300 pages long) I have also been writing some articles for one of our magazines in England called the Crusader. They print 70,000 copies and distribute it free of charge. People are so generous with donations that it pays for the printing and helps pay for the costs of our friars in formation. Today I head off to Korea with our Assistant General for Asia. There will be a provincial chapter there this week, so I am on my way to give the report on my visitation performed several months ago. Then on Thursday I will fly into California to visit an ailing provincial there. The following has been my reading this week: The Spanish Bow by Andromeda Romano-Lax This is a very, very good novel about three musicians and their relationship and adventures. Two of them are Spanish, and the other is an Italian Jew. The hero of the story, Feliu, was born just before the Spanish American war during which his father died in Cuba. He becomes a cellist, and eventually joins up with a conceited pianist and a troubled violinist. The title of the book is taken from the idea that he received a bow from his father in a package received after the father’s death. Feliu is a troubled character. Even his birth was nearly fatal, for he was a breach birth in the days that this was incredibly dangerous. By the end of the book, one doesn’t know whether to like Feliu or pity him. This is a book that I would highly recommend. Heidegger’s Glasses by Thaisa Frank The basis of this story is that there was a department established by the Nazi’s during the war to respond to the undelivered letters which the Nazi’s had forced deported people to write as soon as they arrived in their concentration camps. It is not clear whether this was for paranormal reasons (so that their ghosts could rest) or to serve as propaganda when the war would end (for they intended to establish a museum filled with the answers showing that the holocaust reports were not real). Heidegger, the great philosopher, writes a letter to his Jewish optician with whom he has had a correspondence for years, asking for his new set of glasses. Now, this team must respond to Heidegger’s letter as if they were the optician (who was sent to the camps and is dead) so that Heidegger will not suspect the truth about his friend’s death. The heroine of the story is a Polish Catholic lady who runs the team and manages to provide their needs and even luxuries for them. She invents a plan to write such a strange letter to Heidegger that he will insist on seeing his friend who is in Auschwitz. The action of the story is beautiful, touching, painful, and yet funny. The book is well worth reading. Titan: the Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. by Ron Chernow Ron Chernow is well known for writing long, exhaustive biographies. I read one on Alexander Hamilton. This one deals with John D. Rockefeller, Sr. He tries to be honest and fair in his approach to his character. He is not afraid to point out the contradiction between a man who could be ruthless in business and yet extravagant in charity. He also follows a bit of the lives of the children and grandchildren, all of whom suffered either from his at times distant fathering or from the riches which they inherited. Until Bill Gates, he was probably the greatest philanthropist in the world. He started funding sectarian charities (Baptist), but slowly branched out to many other areas, but especially medical research. The book is very good, but very long (almost the size of a Michener novel). I hope you have a good week. Shalom Fr. Jude

1 comment:

  1. I'm catching up on my reading and went first to the Companions site, and saw your article on "Praying for the intercession of the Saints", thank you so much for such a clearly written article and for posting it where it is easy to find. I hope you write more on the practices of the Church. Very truly yours, BARBARA MARTIN