Monday, January 20, 2014

Pismo Beach - Hermosa Beach - Pismo Beach - Arroyo Grande

January 20, 2014 Peace and Good, I have begun my visitation of the California province this week. I had a meeting with the provincial definitory to get an overall perspective of the province at this moment. The next day I drove down to the Los Angeles area, to Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Hermosa Beach (not far from Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach). I drove back to Pismo Beach and visited the friars there in St. Paul Parish and its affiliate houses. Today I visited our friary in Arroyo Grande which is not all that far from Pismo Beach. There are around 45 friars in the province in the States (plus another 13 in Vietnam). The province is relatively young in comparison with our other provinces in the States. For a number of years they were not getting vocations, but they have had better fortune in these past couple of years. The weather has been incredible these days. After 0 degree weather in Chicago, it was around 80 degrees here. The house where they put me up here in Pismo Beach has a beautiful view of the beach. Tomorrow I travel to Coalingua for the funeral of one of their elderly friars and for a visitation with the two friars stationed there. They on to San Francisco where we have three friaries. Here are the latest books I finished: The Telephone Poles by G.K. Chesterton This is an interesting short story about two men who are walking and compare the beauty of a line of telephone poles to that of a stand of pine trees. The pines are wild and disorganized, while the telephone poles are organized and uniform. It is the question of natural beauty vs. the beauty of civilization. Unbound: A Practical Guide to Deliverance from Evil Spirits by Neal Lozano This is a book on how to seek and assist in the spiritual deliverance of people who are troubled by demons. It is not a spooky book that sees demons residing everywhere. In fact, the author goes out of his way to de-emphasize speaking of demons. He nevertheless speaks of how we can be oppressed by things which hold us in bondage and how the Lord wants us to be free. He gives a number of case examples to help understand the points he is trying to make. He respects psychology and other social sciences. He finds a good blend of body and soul throughout his presentation. I found the book fascinating and consoling. There is certainly a loving message contained therein. I would recommend it for people who have tried everything to be free of temptations and weaknesses and who feel trapped. The Nightmare by C.K Chesterton This is only a short reflection on how we might let our imagination run wild a bit, but we have to try to keep things in their place. Beasts and ugly things are not to be worshipped or placed in the place of God and the angels. Even heavenly things might appear to be beastlike. Think only of the seven eyed and horned lamb of the Book of Revelation, but they are to be understood and kept in their symbolic place as opposed to seeing them running around our world. It was almost as if he said that nightmares and frightening stories are fine as long as they are understood to be that and not made into something more (as many of our recent zombie and vampire films have done). My Aunt, Jane Austen: A Personal Biography of Jane Austen This is one of a series of short biographies on famous authors that I am reading. I was quite interested in Jane Austen because her books have made a tremendous hit lately, and as of yet I have not read any of her works. I thought this biography might be a good intro to her work and her person. The problem is that this particular biography is short on detail. It is a loving recount of the life of a person who led a rather unspectacular life, and who became much more famous after she had died than while she was still alive. It is interesting to note, however, the whole reaction of the literary set to the idea of a woman author, and especially a woman fiction writer. Most serious authors did not believe that women could produce anything other than sweet poetry. Jane Austen proved them very wrong. From what I gleaned from this short biography, she proved them wrong by giving good portraits of rather normal people interacting. I do want to put one or two of her books on my must read list. I hope you have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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