Monday, July 15, 2013

Los Angeles - Chicago

July 15, 2013 The Feast of St. Bonaventure Peace and Good, This has been a good summer week in which the only major thing that I had to do was to travel from LA to Chicago. I am staying with the friars at their house of studies on Kenmore Avenue, a few blocks from Loyolla University. I have been catching up with my daily reflections and am a month ahead, which is great because for the past few months I have been lucky to be a week early. I am giving a talk to some of our friars who are here this week for a period of continuing education. This are friars who have recently finished their formation (from very recently up to five years ago). We have found that these early years after formation are critical as the friars adjust from formation houses to normal houses in the friaries. There are about twenty friars here this week from the various provinces in the States. Next week I will attend a couple of celebrations in a friary near here. Otherwise, I now have a chance to slow down a bit and catch up on some writing projects. I finished a few books. Tales of the Jazz Age by F. Scott Fitzgerald This is a series of short stories that take place during the 20’s. There is the story of a young man who is known as a “jelly bean,” a gad about town who doesn’t get all that involved in life. There is the story of a costume party in which a man and a woman who were engaged but broke it off during a fight end up getting married by mistake. There is a story of a party at the end of the war told from the perspective of a series of different people involved in the action. There is the story of Benjamin Button which was made into a film not all that long ago. There is a sad story about two couples whose lives fall apart, one when a wife cannot accept the limitations of her life and the other when a young man is struck down by a stoke and his wife lovingly cares for him until he dies. They are generally good stories, but one gets the impression in many of them that the characters are looking for something in life which they just cannot find. Agent Garbo: The Brilliant, Eccentric Secret Agent Who Tricked Hitler and Saved D-Day by Stephan Talty This is the story of a double agent whom the British used to make Hitler and the Nazi High Command believe that the D-Day invasion was going to occur at Calais and not Normandy. Thus, even many days after the initial invasion, Hitler held back his Panzer forces awaiting what he thought would be the main invasion, and this gave the allies the time to consolidate their beachhead. Garbo was a Spanish national who offered to be a spy for the Germans in Madrid. He eventually made his way to England and worked for MI5, the British spy agency. He made the Germans believe that he had set up a spy network with 27 operatives, all of whom were fictional. He was highly trusted by the Germans, so much so that a couple days after D-Day, when he sent a message that this was not yet the main invasion, Hitler changed his orders concerning troop deployment. This probably saved thousands of allied lives and insured the success of the invasion. This is a good book which shows the human element in the story. The Lighter Side of Darkness: Nine Flash Stories by Joshua Scribner This is a series of very short horror stories. I have read a number of his other works. He mixes horror with comedy and irony. These are very short stories, none more than three pages long. Yet he has the gift of giving enough information to set up a punch line. I enjoy his writings, even if some of them are a bit bizarre. I hope you have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


Post a Comment