Sunday, January 27, 2013

Assisi - Spoletto - Foligno - Assisi

January 27, 2013 Peace and Good, I am writing from Assisi where we have just completed our first week of the General Chapter. The first days of any chapter are dedicated to an evaluation of how things are going. We had reports from the Minister General and a good number of his collaborators. We had some long discussions in groups concerning what they reported and what we see. This week we pass to the elections of those who will lead the order for the next six years. I have been asked to preach the homilies at the Masses for the first two weeks. They asked me to try to tie the readings to what we are doing any particular day. I give the homily in English and Italian, and it has been translated in written form into the other two official languages of the order: Spanish and Polish. It is an incredible responsibility, because I am helping to set the tone of what we are doing in the chapter hall. So far it has gone very well, thank God. We took a field trip to Spoletto (the town where the Spoletto music festival is held every year) and Foligno (a city about 20 km from Assisi). They are beautiful medieval cities built on the hill sides (as are almost all of the cities in Umbria, this part of Italy. In Foligno we visited the Church where one of our blesseds, Blessed Angela of Foligno, is buried. We are hoping that she will soon be canonized, possibly even during this year of faith. I have finished these books: Mr. B. Gone by Clive Barker This is a typical Clive Barker work: strange and violent. It is the story of a minor demon , Jackabob Botch, who ends up being fished up onto the material world. He wanders around with one of his demon friends killing and doing evil deeds. The story seems almost cute such as C.S. Lewis’ version in the Screwtape Letters. But then in typical Clive Barker style, there are scenes of incredible, tasteless violence. This is the first book that I have ever read that begins with the character depicted in the book begging the reader to burn the book. It turns out that the character has been imprisoned in the book for hundreds of years, and he only wants to be liberated for his prison. Over and over again the demon begs, demands, threatens the reader to burn the book, even saying that he would kill the reader at the end if he doesn’t burn the book. There are moments in the book which are almost theological. Yet, it doesn’t reach the heights of a C.S. Lewis work. Glass House by Patrick Reinken This is a rather interesting book. It starts out with an episode occurring in a South African diamond mine. A man is trying to smuggle a pink diamond out, and he gets caught and is tortured to death. It is only later that one discovers whether he is a good man or a bad man. In the meantime, we hear the story of a woman lawyer who is asked to defend an executive of a security company who is accused of sexual harassment. It turns out that this is not the first time that he has been accused of this offense. The story develops quite well as one discovers the connection between this man and the diamond mines and war for control of other mines that is going on half a world away. The lawyer slowly discovers the truth about all of this and plots to exact true justice in the case. Gideon’s Sword by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child I have read a couple of books written by this pair of authors about FBI agent Pendergast. This book is about an agent for a top secret private organization named Gideon Crew. He bears quite a similarity to Pendergast in his reasoning power and his ability to outsmart the most nefarious criminal mind. In this case, Crew is trying to intercept a Chinese scientist who is bringing the designs for what might be a powerful new weapon to the United States. There are various secret agents trying to get the same information, and Crew has to do battle against them and their designs by himself. It is quite good, but a bit contrived at points. I hope you have a good week. Please keep us in your prayers as we meet in Assisi for our General Chapter. Remember, if you have any intention you would likee me to remember at the tomb of St. Francis, simply e mail it to me at God bless and Shalom fr. Jude


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