Friday, May 1, 2015

Mesilla Park (New Mexico) - Rome

May 1, 2015 The Feast of St. Joseph, the Worker Peace and Good, I have been back in Rome this week for one of our General Definitory meetings. We have met from Monday til yesterday. The other definitors will be back in session next week, but I am taking off this coming Sunday to head to Chicago for the episcopal ordination of one of our friars, John Stowe, who has been named the bishop of Lexington, Kentucky. The trip back to Rome from El Paso (the nearest airport to Mesilla Park) was eventful. The first flight had some mechanical difficulties and we had to deplane. After about an hour, we took off and actually made up a bit of the time because of a strong tail wind. Nevertheless, when we got to Chicago, we had to sit on the tarmac for a good amount of time because our gate was not ready. Fortunately, I had a good amount of time between flights. The next flight from Chicago to Rome was even worse. We had a delay of three hours because of a number of mechanical difficulties. We did finally take off and the flight was fine. This was my third delay (or in one case cancellation) due to mechanical difficulties in ten days. This week, one of our older friars in our house, fr. Luigi Costantini, passed away. He has worked for the General level of the Order for fifty years. He was the recording secretary at every General Chapter since the 1970's. He was 91 years old, and was in fairly good health until a couple of weeks ago. We will miss his presence here. I finished some books and stories this week: Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind by Ellen Brown and John Wiley This is not the book Gone with the Wind, but rather the book that explains who Gone with the Wind was written and sold. Margaret Mitchell wrote the book in sections over the years. She never felt it was ready for people to see, but a friend mentioned it to someone who then requested permission to see whether their publishing house would be interested. She put it together as much as she could and sent it off. The publishing house was very interested, and she worked like the devil to make it ready in time for publishing. She and her husband were shocked at its success, and the rest of her life she fought a double battle: to preserve her privacy, and to fight for what she considered her just rights against her publisher, the movie people, foreign publishers, etc. She died when hit by a car while crossing a road to go to a film with her husband. Binary by Michael Crichton A multi-millionaire who is disgusted with politics as it is being exercised decides he is going to do something about it. He steals the components for nerve gas and plans to kill a massive number of people during one of the political conventions in San Diego. The agent investigating the plot must not only figure out what this perpetrator is doing, but also how he is playing off against his own personality (for the millionaire had stolen the agent’s file and knows his psychological assessment and is using it against him). The River by Flannery O’Connor This is the story of a young boy who spends the day with a sitter who takes him first to her home, and then to the river where a famous preacher is performing healings that day. These experiences are all new to the boy, and he eventually wanders away from his family to return to the river. There seems to be a choice between believing in the power of the Spirit and living one’s life the way one always had (which involved partying and drinking, things that the boy’s parents seem to know well). Avanti: Mussolini and the Wars of Italy 1919-1945 by J. Lee Ready This is an account of Italy’s war effort during World War II. At times, the author is objective, giving the positive and negative side of the battle. At other times, the author is very, very prejudiced against anything which would hint of cowardice or lack of organization on the part of the Italians. He openly attacks the British, Americans, Germans, etc. The book is interesting, but one has to wonder how much the account has been colored by the conclusions that the author is trying to push. Odd Thomas: You are Destined to Be Together Forever by Dean Koontz This is a novella in the Odd Thomas series. Odd can see ghosts, and they lead him to various adventures. This is sort of a prequel in which he and his beloved girlfriend Stormy receive a card from a mechanical fortune teller which predicts that they will be together forever. This is sort of tragic, for Stormy is killed at the end of the first Odd Thomas full book, but it might be a foretelling of an everlasting future that, like most of what happens to Odd, cannot be measured according to our earthly standards. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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