Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Sydney (Australia) - Nadi (Fiji) - Chicago - Milwaukee

November 5, 2013 Peace and Good, Well, I left Australia on the 28th which happened to be my feast day. That meant I got to celebrate it twice because I was flying over the international date line (but what a miserable way to celebrate it - on an airplane all the way). Leaving Australia, I flew through Fiji and changed planes there. My travel agent always seeks the cheapest fare, and sometimes it involves a few stops here and there. This is a very long flight - four hours to Fiji, another ten to Los Angeles, another four to Chicago, not counting the lay overs in Fiji and Los Angeles. I passed through LAX only a week before the shooting there. There is one thing that I have a habit of doing which I would hope more and more of us would do. After I pass through security, I always look for a TSA agent and thank him or her for keeping us safe. You should see the look of apprehension when I first say something, and then the look of gratitude when I thank that person. I arrived in Chicago on the evening of the 28th. The next day I traveled about an hour to Marytown in Libertyville, Illinois where there is a large friary (15 friars) for visitation. They have 24 hour Eucharistic adoration, and they really try to follow the example of St. Maximilian Kolbe. I enjoyed my stay with them. Yesterday, I drove from there to Milwaukee where we man a huge Basilica, St. Josaphat. The friars first took over this church at the turn of the 20th century and it was over 2 million dollars in debt. It was in danger of going bankrupt. The friars found a way to pay the entire debt in a very short amount of time. It is magnificent, and in fact is used as a site for operas and concerts throughout the year. Interestingly, it was built from materials salvaged when a building was torn down in Chicago. Today I head to Rockford, Illinois to continue my visitation. These are the books I have finished: The Fifth Queen and How She Came to Court by Ford Madox Ford This is a biographical account of how the fifth wife of Henry VIII, Katherine Howard, came to the court of Henry VIII and how she was chosen as a maid of honor to Princess Mary who eventually became Queen Mary. The court was filled with intrigue, and Katherine, who was a proponent of Catholicism at a time when Anglicans and Lutherans were beginning to fight for primacy, felt herself to be a fish out of water. She was caught up in the plots and counterplots around the throne. The book is written by a 19th century English author, trying to use the speech patterns of the 16th century. It makes the book a little difficult to read for a modern author, but it does give one insight into the snake pit that the court of Henry VII became. Mystical Tradition: Christianity by Luke Timothy Johnson This is the second section of a three part study of the mystical tradition by the Teaching Company. This part deals with the mystical tradition, starting with the mysticism found in the New Testament and considering other manifestations of that tradition throughout history. Johnson deals with the eastern and western monastic tradition, the mysticism of England and Spain, of the mendicant tradition, of the Protestant reformation, etc. It does not seem to be as in depth as his study of the Jewish tradition which I finished a while ago. The third part will be the Muslim tradition. The Red Cotton Fields by Michael Strickland This is a saga about two families, one a plantation owner’s family and the other the overseer’s family. It takes place for the most part in Georgia, not far from Savannah, just before the Civil War. There are love stories, successful and frustrated. The book tries to tell the story of the difficulties just before and during the Civil War from a Southern perspective. The difficulty is that in trying to use the language and mentality of the pre-war whites, the author uses language that is racially offensive. It is one thing to feel that one has to use that language once in a while, but it seems as if the author glories in it (as well as in stereotypes of blacks as mindless children who must be protected from freedom). Sitting at the feet of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewishness of Jesus Can Transform Your Faith by Ann Spangler I bought this book on Kindle both because it was on sale and it had an interesting title. It turned out to be quite good. It speaks about how Jewish people lived at the time of Jesus. Some of the insights help one to better understand why Jesus did and said what he did. For example, it was common in those days to say the first couple of words of a verse and the hearer would understand that the rest of the verse or passage was intended. That would explain why Jesus said, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me” on the cross, for the rest of Psalm 22 which ends in a thanksgiving for the rescue that the person expected. It speaks of the Sabbath and feast celebrations. Overall, it is not a scholarly book or too intense, but what it offers is quite good. I hope you have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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