Sunday, July 28, 2013

July 28, 2013 Peace and Good, This week has been quite restful. I was in Chicago for about two weeks, and this week we had two celebrations. The first is called investiture when the men considering entering the order begin their year of novitiate. This is a year of prayer and discernment. They have their novitiate at a town outside of South Bend, Indiana called Mishawaka. There were seven men this year, three of whom are from England. Then the day after we had the profession of those who were completing their year of novitiate. They take the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience for a period of three years. At the end of that period, they can decide to take those vows for the rest of their lives. Saturday I flew down from Chicago to Costa Rica. I was an interesting journey. The first part from Chicago to Miami was fine, but then when we got to Miami, we were stuck on the tarmac for about twenty minutes. Given that I had an hour to make the next flight and the gate was at the other end of the airport, it was a run. I made it, but my luggage did not (not that I expected it to given the rush). When I got to San Jose in Costa Rica, the line up for passport control was never ending. It took me about forty minutes to get through that, and then I had to wait to see if my suitcase would arrive. When it did not, I had to make the report and that took time. By the time I got out, the friar waiting for me had taken off (which I don't blame him at all). I had the addresses of two of our friaries, but the addresses were incomplete, and the phone numbers weren't for the friaries, they were for the apostolates associated with the friaries which were closed on Saturday. So, I got into a taxi and he took me to another taxi just outside the airport that could accept my credit card. We tried calling the numbers I had, but no luck. We went into the town where the friars lived which was near the airport, and stopped at the first Catholic Church to ask, but there was a baptism going on and no one was available. We met a man outside the Church whom we asked, and he didn't know - but he continued to phone around until he got an answer and ten minutes later we were at the friary. In changing the taxi and asking the man for help, I got the sense that everyone only wanted to help me. Remember, too, I don't speak Spanish, so everything was in Italian or English, which none of them spoke well. Somehow we understood each other. So far the Costa Ricans are everything I hear of them, friendly and very, very helpful. I am here for a meeting of the Costa Rican friars with the friars from Honduras to talk about joining their jurisdictions. The Latin American assistant is here too, and my presence is really symbolic to show that we support this move in Rome. I will leave for Rome on Thursday. I finished a few books: The Blue Nowhere by Jeffrey Deaver This is a detective novel about a hacker on the computer who wants to play video games, but who confuses what is real with what is virtual. He begins to kill people and he has to be tracked down by a group of cyber-detectives with the aid of a brilliant hacker who is currently in prison. The book is good. Deaver explains any difficult term or abbreviation or concept. It is well done. There are mysteries which are not solved to the very end of the book. Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World by Margaret Macmillan This is the history of the negotiations that occurred in Paris at the end of the First World War. The resulting treaty, the Treaty of Versailles, has often been cited as one of the major causes of the Second World War. The author of this book presents the treaty as a messed up document, but probably about the best when one considers the countries and their varying demands and the personalities who were to say the best “difficult.” While Woodrow Wilson had proposed his fourteen points as the basis for a peace after the war, he and the other negotiators applied them when it was convenient and not when it was not. He treated eastern European minorities much better than Arab or African. He ignored the dignity of the Chinese in favor of the Japanese. The agreements certainly sparked a rebellion and a war in Turkey that ended in the forced ethnic cleansing of coastal Turkey (of the Greeks) and Crete and other areas of Greece (of the Turks). We see a horribly complicated process that did not end all that well. The books is not overly heavy, but neither is it a light read. If you’re interested in this period of history, it is a must read. The Arms of Nemesis by Steven Saylor This is another one of Saylor’s books about Gordianus the Seeker, the detective during the days of Julius Caesar. This one is about a man who is killed and the culprit seems to be his slaves. This is occurring during the rebellion led by Sparticus which convulsed the Roman empire. Crassus, the owner of the villa where the man was killed, has decided to kill all 100 of his slaves there unless Gordianus can find the killer. He does, but it is a roundabout investigation. The dialog is very credible, the historic data enlightening, and the background information informative. I very much enjoy Saylor’s books. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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