Monday, August 20, 2012

Buffalo - Ellicott City - Ocean City

August 20, 2012 Peace and Good, Hope you are well. I have managed to get a couple of weeks off to visit relatives and rest. I flew up to Buffalo to visit my brother and his family and my sister. I have not had too much of a chance to see them since I was stationed in Rome. It was good seeing them and catching up on how things are going. I am now on the Eastern Shore of Maryland at Ocean City. The friars have an apartment here which we can use to unwind. The weather has not been all that good, but that doesn’t make too much of a difference. My idea of a vacation is to relax and read and say my prayers and not do much of anything else. I finished a few books. They are: Russia Against Napoleon by Dominic Lieven The is an exhaustive account of the French invasion of Russia during the days of Napoleon. Lieven asks why the Russians were able to defeat the French. One of his responses is that they were much better in supplying their troops with food, horses, and weapons. Furthermore, he shows how the strategy of retreating and drawing the French deep into Russia was the right path. By the time that the French arrived at Moscow, they had already lost much of their strength. They had to retreat for want of supplies, and the retreat destroyed their remaining strength. The scene then shifts to Germany where the troops of Russia join forces with those of Prussia and Austria to fight Napoleon’s newly constituted army. In the early days of the offensive of 1813, it was a close run thing. Napoleon could have easily won. It was the strength and insight of Czar Alexander of Russia that helped keep the coalition together until the allied troops entered Paris and overthrew Napoleon. From Jesus to Constantine: a History of Early Christianity by Bart Ehrman This is a series of 24 lectures from the Teaching Company which speak about the growth of Christianity from its beginning until the time that it was declared the state religion of the Roman empire. The lecturer is good and fair in his treatment of the issues. For me, it was nothing all that new, but it is always good to go over some of the things that one thinks that one knows to remind oneself of them. He asks questions about the background of the faith, how was it that it was so successful, what happened during the persecutions, how did it develop a liturgy, a hierarch, a belief, etc. I do not agree with all of his interpretation of scripture texts, but he is not too bad. And, like I said, it is always good to have a review. Mr. Murder by Dean Koontz Typical of many of the books by Dean Koontz, this is a very violent book. It is about the intersection of two men, one a novel writer with a family and the other a mass murderer for hire. The mass murderer turns out to be an exact clone of the author and is seeking the truth of his life, for all he knows about life is what he has learned from the movies. There are many twists and turns, and it is filled with the dread that one often finds in a Koontz book. His books are not for the squeamish, but it is a good read. Have a good week. Shalom Fr. Jude


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