Monday, July 22, 2013


July 22, 2013 Peace and Good, It is such a joy to write just one city name in the label for the post. I have been in Chicago all this past week. Part of the reason I was here was to be present during the gathering of those who have been out of formation for zero to five years. This is a type of mentoring for those who have recently finished formation to help them with their adjustments to the full time ministry. I gave one talk, one homily, and I was present for the prayers and meals. I did a lot of informal consulting and sharing during those times. Part of my reason for being in Chicago was simply to take some time off. Chicago is a great city to visit. I went over to the Art Institute and just sat in front of some of my favorite paintings, especially those by El Greco. I will be here until toward the end of the week. We have the investiture for those beginning their novitiate (in which they receive their religious habits for the first time). We also have the first profession of vows for those who are just finishing novitiate. Then I will be heading down to Costa Rica for a meeting. This will be my first time down there. I hear it is beautiful. I finished a few books: The First Assassin by John J. Miller This is a fictional account of a couple of Southern plots to attack the north in the days immediately following the inauguration of President Lincoln. One involved blowing up the Capitol building, and the other was a plot to assassinate the president. The man in charge of protecting the president during the inauguration must then ferret out the plot to harm Lincoln against the orders of the head of the army, General Scott, who tells him to stop his investigation. The book is well written. Brothers, Rivals, Victors by Jonathan Jordan This is the story of three of the most important American generals during the Second World War: Eisenhower, Bradley and Patton. They are portrayed well without any form of hero worship. Ike comes across as an excellent manager and politician who was not a great combat general, but was just the right man to lead a multi-nation coalition. Bradley comes across as a reserved methodical general who did the right thing, but was at times a bit cautious. Patton comes across as a bull in a china shop who was the best general when it came to exploiting the weaknesses in the enemy. They were all friends and rivals. Their friendship waxed and waned, depending on what was happening. The most unpredictable of them all was Patton who had a tendency to say outrageous things that landed him (and his bosses) in trouble. The story is well written and enjoyable. The Lives of Great Christians by Professor William Cook This is one of the teaching company courses: 24 lectures long. It is a series of short biographies of great Christians throughout history. The professor presenting the lectures is Catholic, so many of the stories are about Catholics, including St. Francis, St. Clare, St. Maximilian Kolbe, etc. It also deals with the topic of monasticism in terms of the desert fathers, St. Benedict and the monks who live at Mt. Athos in Greece. Reformation figures such as Jan Hus, Martin Luther and the Wesley brothers are also seen. In modern times, he speaks of the choice to rebel against authority during the Nazi regime, the civil rights movement in the States, and liberation theology. He gives a good overview of the various topics. It is very, very difficult to cover 2,000 years in 24 lectures, but Cook does a creditable job of it. I hope you have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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