Monday, December 31, 2012

Rome - Assisi - Rome

December 24, 2012 Peace and Good, This past week we had our second last definitory for the term. We will have one more in January to take care of last minute details before the General Chapter which begins on January 19th. You can see the fatigue in the faces of all of the definitors. This has been a long haul, and we are reaching the end of the journey. I am always fascinated how we can discuss the situation of the friars in so many different lands. This time, from what I can remember, we discussed Chile, Columbia, Brazil, US, Poland, Italy, Belgium, Holland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, China, Philippines, Japan, Zambia and Ghana. That is from what I can remember. On Friday I took a train up to Assisi to visit a couple of friends and get some prayer time in before our chapter begins. Once it begins, there will be an awful lot of business to take care of. Assisi is quite a bit bolder than Rome and it has less sunlight because of a winter fog that covers it for days on end. I had an interesting incident while I was there. I was praying in the Basilica of St. Clare before the San Damiano Cross, the cross which spoke to St. Francis telling him to rebuild the church. When I finished, I walked out into the main body of the church and realized that the sisters had locked me in during the lunch break. Fortunately there were still a couple of sisters in the church to let me out. I came back to Rome yesterday evening, and I will be here for the Christmas celebrations. Then the day after Christmas I will fly out to Toronto to visit family and friends. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas. I have finished these books: Horror and C..p: 11 Short Stories by Joshua Scribner Joshua Scribner is a very creative science fiction, horror author. This is a series of eleven very short stories, each not more than a couple of pages long. Some of the themes covered are when a group of goblins torments a couple in their new home. A neighbor comes over and explains that the goblins are only hungry and since the toilet is blocked, they are starving for their usual fare (fill in the blank). In another, a man has a switch given to him by his psychiatrist to turn on and off his impulse to smoke. Little does he know that the switch is also connected to his wife’s impulse to murder him. One very short selection has a couple arguing whether they should tell others about a tsunami that is approaching. It turns out the couple are cats, and they abandon their family for higher ground. Each of the stories comes across as a short “Outer Limits” selection. His writing is always entertaining, if not a bit strange. Tudor Rose: The Story of the Queen who United a Kingdom and Birthed a Dynasty by Margaret Campbell Barnes This is the story of Elizabeth of York, the daughter of King Edward who dies early after a dissipated life. She is the niece of King Richard III who kills her two young brothers and then seems to want to marry her after his son and his own wife die. She eventually marries Henry VII who conquers the kingdom with a very poor claim for the monarchy other than conquest. Henry is the founder of the Tudor dynasty. He is not the warmest of men, more like a calculating machine. Yet Elizabeth remains a faithful wife. She is the mother of Arthur who died before he reigned and of Henry VIII. This is a fictional historical account which is quite good. The Eagle has Landed (Liam Devlin) by Jack Higgins I have come to like this author. He tells a very good tale. This is a story that takes place during the Second World War. Hitler has challenged the army intelligence to be as creative in their efforts as his special forces were when they rescued Mussolini from a mountain top prison. A plot is launched to capture or kill Churchill when he visits a small town in northern England along the coast. One of Germany’s few spies, an elderly Boer woman who is still angry at England for conquering her people in South Africa, is spying for the Nazis. An IRA agent is sent in to help her in the plans. The commandos arrive and all heck breaks out. The book is written with more sympathy, at times, for the Germans and the IRA agent than for the allies. It reminds us that not all Germans were Nazi monsters (although it makes clear that some were). Likewise, it reminds us that not all of the allied troops were knights in shining armor. It is a very good book. I have to apologize that this is late. I had written it on Christmas Eve, but I forgot to post it until today. Yesterday a couple of friends pointed out that there had been no posting since December 17th. I was so confused because I remember writing this. It was only last night that I put two and two together. Have a great New Years. Shalom fr. Jude

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