Monday, December 10, 2012


December 10, 2012 Peace and Good, I hope you are all well. I have been in Rome for the past week. We are getting ready for our General Chapter, and I have been asked to translate some of the documents for that chapter. This includes the Minister General’s report and the new proposals for the next six years. (We call this the Instrumentum Laboris, or the “working document”). I was at the meetings that put together these documents, so I know a lot of the reasons why things were said the way they were. There is just over 100 pages to translate. So far it is going well. I have finished one entire document and am about a third of the way through the second one. I should finish everything by this Saturday, which is very good because the next week we have a General Definitory all week long. Furthermore, the General Secretary was hoping to e mail these documents out to all the friars who will be present at Chapter sometime before Christmas, and my translation will be ready in plenty of time. We have been celebrating our novena for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception this past week. Every evening we have Mass and a different cardinal is invited each day. I was one of the main concelebrants two of the evenings. This is the first time that I concelebrated with a cardinal. It has been very, very cold in Rome these past week. It is always a bit damp, but it has been bitterly cold also (at least bitterly cold by Roman standards – the Minnesota folks would consider this to be a balmy Spring day). I finished a few books: A Most Wanted Man by John le Carre I listened to this book in an abridged form. It was one of those books that was so good that I wish I had the unabridged version. It is about a young man from Chechnya who had been arrested by the Russians, the Turks and even the Swedes. He is seeking asylum in Germany. He also turns out to be the heir of a considerable fortune left him by his Russian father (who had conceived him by raping his Chechen mother). Issa, the young man, seems out to be an absolute innocent. He is helped by a German asylum lawyer and the banker who cared for his father’s fortune. The secret services of Germany, Great Britain and the US all get involved. One ends up wondering who is telling the truth and where moral good and evil actually lie. It is very, very good. The Americans: The Colonial Experience by Daniel Boorstein This is a series of essays on the various colonies and what made each tick. We hear about the Puritans of New England. They were not all that concerned with doctrinal purity as much as unity in government. There were the Quakers of Pennsylvania who were so concerned with doctrinal purity (which included pacifism) that they did not foresee protection against the Indians for their settlers in more dangerous areas. Then there were the planters of Virginia who founded an aristocracy which controlled the government of the colony. Borstein then passes on to culture. He speaks of how culture developed differently in America than it had in Europe. It was not bound by history and tradition. The book continues with all sorts of issues such as the colonial attitude toward literature, the press, the military, etc. The book is well documented and helps you to understand what our country was like before our revolution. It is not a difficult read, and it is insightful. One comes to realize how much of a miracle it was that the thirteen separate colonies with their separate cultures, religions, etc. were able to gel as one nation. Widows by Ed McBain This is another of Ed McBain’s detective novels. He presents some detectives in a precinct and usually deals with two crimes which they must solve. In this case, a girl friend, a wife and a former wife along with a man and his dog are all gunned down by a mysterious killer. The other case is the father of one of the detectives is murdered in his shop by a couple of drug addicts. The novels are a good read, but they are a bit confusing when you first start reading his worked because he shifts from one character and story to another without any notice. Eventually you get used to it and they are an entertaining read. Hope you have a good week. Shalom Fr. Jude


Post a Comment