Monday, July 23, 2012


July 23, 2012 Peace and Good, I hope you are well. I have been in Rome all this week for meetings. This was our regular definitory which lasts from Monday morning until Saturday lunch time. We are getting ready for our General Chapter this coming January. Representatives from over 80 jurisdictions throughout the world (over 40 different countries) will be gathering in Assisi for four weeks to discuss the future of the order. There will also be elections for our Minister General and his definitory. My term finished then for I am filling in for my predecessor who passed away two years ago. If the friars feel that the Spirit is calling me to serve for another term, that would be six years. I am ready for either. If I am to stay in Rome, that is fine. If I am called to another apostolate, that would be fine as well. The weather here in Rome has been quite warm this week. Thank goodness that much of our building is now air conditioned. That is not at all guaranteed over here, because Italians are deathly afraid of drafts. They think that it is bad for one’s liver. (Of course, it’s not the wine they drink, but rather the drafts.) I will be home here in Rome for the next few weeks catching up on a number of projects that had to be put off for quite some time. It is a good feeling to know that I will be able to finish these things. I have finished a few books. The first one by Kadare was really incredible. It gives one insight to a very different culture and I highly recommend it. The Ghost Rider by Ismail Kadare The author is Albanian, and wrote mostly during the time of the control of Albania by the communists. Many of his works had to be smuggled out of the country, and he had to be careful what he wrote about lest the government crack down upon him. This is a story which takes place in medieval Albania in which a young woman who had married and travelled to a distant land suddenly shows up at her mother’s doorway. She claims that her brother brought her home. The only problem is that her brothers (nine of them) had all died of a plague shortly after her marriage and her departure. Both she and her mother immediately collapse and they both die shortly afterwards. The police investigator of the village must get to the bottom of the truth lest people begin to say (which was already happening) that her brother had come back from the dead. By the end of the story one realizes that it has less to do with the question of whether someone had risen from the dead or not. It was all about the promise that the brother had made to his sister to bring her back to her mother if and when she was needed. In Albania, this is called a besa. It is a promise but also a matter of honor. Albania lie between the east and the west, between the Christian and Muslim world. Its entire understanding of itself would shortly be shaken by war and confusion. The people needed something on which they could relay. The besa, honor, gave them an interior guide which could direct their conduct. We could also think of its importance in a communist system in which out author was writing. The government wanted to control everything, but they could not control a man’s self-worth if he was a man of honor and integrity. Crush by Alan Jacobson This is the story of an FBI profiler who goes on a vacation to the wine country of California with her boyfriend, only to be caught up in the investigation of a serial killer. She, herself, almost becomes a victim. She works with and against the local police. There are the usual questions of the FBI and local jurisdiction, mixed in with a dose of local dirty politics. The serial killer proves to be illusive, possibly because while some of his killings are simply his own agenda, others seem to have a financial stake. The book ends without tying up all the loose ends, a choice made by the author to leave room in the story for a sequel. Maximum Ride by James Patterson James Patterson has set up a cottage industry of co-authoring books of various different styles. This is the story of a group of teen age mutant children. They have been genetically altered so that they have wings and other unusual abilities. Bad people are constantly trying to capture them or kill them. The dialog is intended to be wise-guy cool, something an adult would think that a teen ager might say. This is an easy read, funny in parts. The bottom line of this particular volume is to combat global warming. Not exactly rocket science, but something that can help one to relax. I hope you have a good week. Shalom Fr. Jude


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