Tuesday, November 20, 2012


November 20, 2012 Peace and Good, This week has been glorious. I have been home, sleeping in the same bed for more than a few days. It is great to get back to a routine and not have to improvise every day depending on where one is and what one is expected to do. This past week I have working up to catch up on some projects and get ahead. Next week I will be given an extensive number of pages to translate from Italian to English for the General Chapter. I will be doing this translation because I was present at the meeting in which this material was developed so I know the nuances of the phrases used. I think it will be around 150 pages in all. Most of it is rather straight forward, but it is still a lot of work to do. So I have been writing my articles for the Messenger of St. Anthony in Padua. I am up to date up to the August edition. I finished some articles for the Crusader Magazine in England. I sent them the articles up to the February edition. Today I finished off the daily reflections up to Christmas eve. We have had some visitors from my province as well. One of the friars came in from England to refresh his Italian for a month, and another came in to attend a workshop here in Rome. It is good to have them around. Our provincial, fr. James, is arriving this evening. We’ll have a good sized group for Thanksgiving. We have been having fall weather. Some days are quite nice, while others are quite rainy. It is cool, not yet cold. The Tiber River has been very, very high due to rains they received in the north of Italy. Hope you have a good holiday. I have finished these books: A World on Fire by Amanda Forman This is a history of the relationship between the United States (northern and southern states) during the civil war and Great Britain. It was not an easy relationship. Great Britain had its reasons to be angry at the US after the way that it had treated Great Britain during various wars of its own (e.g. a rebellion in Canada, the Crimean War, etc.). Ironically, some of the things about which the north complained most bitterly were exactly things that the US had done to Great Britain. Shortly after the beginning of the rebellion, Great Britain declared its neutrality and more or less stuck to this commitment throughout the war. One of the things that truly complicated this relationship was the fact that Seward was our secretary of state. He was a very political man, and he used the opposition card to rally support for his and Lincoln’s policies. He would rail against Great Britain, even threatening to go to war against it in order to avoid having to respond to problems that the administration did not want to face. There were also a large number of volunteers and also men who were drafted (legally and illegally) into the armies of the north and the south during the war. The book tells the stories of many of them. The book is really an excellent, honest portrayal of a complicated issue. The Secret Agent: a Simple Tale by Joseph Conrad I love Conrad’s writing. The other books that I have read of his had to do with far off places (Africa, the South Seas). This one takes place in England. An agent of an imperial power is told to place a bomb in Greenwich in order to shake the confidence of the English people. The agent gives the bomb to his brother in law who is mentally slow, and it blows up. The investigation demonstrates the pettiness of the British police force. The spy himself is a pitiful character living a pitiful life. There is none of the heroics and action of a Bourne episode. It sounds a lot more like a group of moderately talented people pretending to be something they clearly are not. There is deception by people who claim to be working for the betterment of humanity (the agent who treats his wife with little or no regard, even after he is responsible for the death of her brother, the revolutionary who steals the wife’s money and sends her off to her suicide, etc.) One is left with a sense of sadness at how people act and live. Chopin: the Man and his Music by James Huneker This was one of the free books that I received from Kindle. It gives a short biography of Chopin, and then goes on at length considering the various aspects of his music. For me, the biography was the most important point, although if someone was really into music, I am sure the second part of the book would be more interesting. The biography, unfortunately, was less informative than I would have liked. This Polish musician lived a short but interesting life, dying in what he considered to be exile in Paris. God bless and Shalom Fr. Jude


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