Sunday, September 21, 2014

Tegucigalpa - Rome

September 21, 2014 Peace and Good, I hope you are all well. We finished up our meeting in Honduras and a week ago Friday, I flew back. I had gotten this ticket through and it was a very good price. However, the connections made the journey unending. I had a five hour lay over in Miami and another six hour layover in London, so it took me about 26 hours to get back to Rome. This week we have been locked up in a meeting room for our definitory. Once again, we are discussing documents, changes in structures, and interventions for places all over the world. We pass from continent to continent talking about these things. The discussion are really productive because we work at not talking set positions, but rather work to discern together what the Lord wants us to do. When we are not comfortable with a response, we go back and discuss it some more. I have been breaking in my new computer. My old one gave up the ghost in Saigon, and fr. James, my provincial, was able to bring me a new one that I ordered over the internet down to Tegucigalpa. One of the men who works at the provincialate set up most of what was needed, but there are always a few glitches. Most of them are now in order. Computers are great when they work, but when they don't..... This week the whole definitory (ten of us) are headed to a retreat house outside of Siena for our annual retreat. This means that I will be in Italy for two and a half weeks in a row, which must be some sort of record. Once October 1st comes, I will be on the road again for quite some time. Last night I visited with my sister-in-law's in laws. I know them from various family events, and they are wonderful people. I am in Rome so infrequently that it is good to be around when people are passing through. I have finished some reading: See Them Die by Ed McBain I have already read a number of books by Ed McBain. He writes policeman novels. This one takes place in a part of the city inhabited by Puerto Ricans and it involves especially the hunt for and apprehension of a Puerto Rican criminal who has become the hero of some young gang members. There are, as is true of all of his books, some side stories. There is the beautiful young woman who meets a sailor. There is Luis, the owner of a coffee shop and his relationship with a bigoted cop. The books are well written and filled with action and reflection. Afraid by Jack Killborn This is the first part of a trilogy. It deals with a Red Op Operation. The soldiers sent into a small village are US mercenaries who have been specially trained to be vicious. They have a chip implanted in their brain to insure that they will complete whatever mission they are assigned. They are searching for a man who has a video of one of the Red Op’s earlier mission in which they massacred an entire village in Vietnam. This is a very violent book, but the premise is interesting. Not everyone would enjoy it because of the graphic violence. Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie I enjoy every book I read which has been written by Agatha Christie. She has a great way of writing a story that makes one want to enter into the narrative. This is a story about Hercule Poirot who must solve a murder mystery without any physical evidence. He has to use his psychological gifts in order to discern which of four murderers committed the murder which Poirot has been invited to resolve. There are twists and turns. A window washer shows up towards the end, out of the blue. While I was at first disappointed with Christie for throwing in a character who had not yet been mentioned, it turns out that this is not quite true. This is a good mystery read. The Butcher’s Boy by Thomas Perry This is the story of a professional assassin and the Justice Department agent who comes across his trail. The assassin works for the Mafia, but he keeps his distance from them. For some reason, they decide that he must die, and the rest of the book involves his flight and revenge. The book is well written and quite enjoyable reading, even given the gory nature of the book. The Thirty Years War by Samuel Gardner I had often read of the destruction of the Thirty Years War. This was a war fought mostly in the territory of the German Empire which left a large part of the population either dead or destitute. It was over religion, but the boundaries kept shifting, especially with the intervention of Spain, France, Sweden, etc. None of the major leaders come off looking all that wise or heroic. Many plainly sold out their country for hope of gain. They all ravaged and murdered at will. It is a sad, sad story. This book tells it well. The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker This has to be one of the best books that I have read all year. It is an unusual story. The Golem is a mythical creature that was built from clay which became a slave of its master. The golem in this story is a woman who was built in Poland by an evil rabbi. Her husband died on the trans-Atlantic journey, so she is without a master. She is adopted by a kindly rabbi who cares for her until she can care for herself. The Jinni is a desert creature made of fire. This one had been captured by an evil wizard who imprisoned him in human form and in a container. He was freed by a Syrian metal worker in New York who befriended him. The Golem was pure service and servitude, the jinni was pure will and caprice. They learn from each other through their adventures and both become more of a complete person. The book is very, very well written. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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