Saturday, January 23, 2016

Rome - Assisi

January 23, 2016 Peace and Good, These past two weeks can be summarized in the following words: meetings, meetings, meetings. We finished off our definitory a week ago (for the most part for we still had a short session when we arrived in Assisi). Then this past week we were in Assisi with about 50 of the major superiors of the Order (half of them - the other half will come in September). The purpose of the meeting was to let them get to know each other. We in Rome are at the center and all the information eventually filters in to us, but it does not necessarily make it from one end of the world to the other. There were mixed language small groups (which is a challenge, but well worthwhile). We had a pilgrimage to LaVerna, the place where St. Francis received the Stigmata, the wounds Jesus had impressed in the flesh of St. Francis. All throughout this week I was the preacher at the Masses for the group. I have become a type of court preacher for the Minister General. I have a talent of being able to preach short homilies that get the point across, and which tie in both with the readings of the day and also the topics we were discussing in the meetings. I enjoy preaching, and this gives me an opportunity to share with the friars. We came back to Rome by van this morning, and tomorrow morning I will be heading out to the States. I will be there for about a month, travelling here and there for meetings, workshops, etc. The plan is Atlanta, Jacksonville, Baltimore, San Antonio, South Bend and West Palm Beach. Then it will be back to Rome for a couple of weeks. I finished some books: The Knight’s Cross Signal Problem by Ernest Bramah A train crashes into another train, resulting in the death and injury of a number of passengers. The train singleman claims that the signal was red, while the train conductor claims that it was green. A blind investigator is able to determine that, in a sense, both of them were right and the fault of the accident lies with another party who caused the accident for his own personal reasons. Sun King by Bob Shacochis This is the story of a man who travels to Argentina to go fishing for dorado, a famous golden covered ferocious fighting fish. He is led by a legendary guide who gave up a career to take up this work which he loves. The fisherman is not terribly successful, but what little he does succeed in catching creates a dream in his mind that refuses to go away. Touch of the devil by Jack Higgins This book reminds me a bit of the movie where they called out all the retired secret agents for one last round of excitement. Three ex-IRA men are fighting a battle that goes far beyond the war in which they fought so many years ago. One of them has become a murderer for hire while the other two have had (and truthfully always had) a different route. One of the good guys has to be broken out of a maximum security prison on a desolate island to join in the adventure. The bad guy is working for the KGB and also for his own ends for he has no scruples. There is also a French woman who is a war correspondent who is in love with the hero (anti-hero) of the story. It is not one of Higgins’ best, but even his second best is better than most authors. The Coin of Dionysius by Ernest Bramah A detective is trying to find out whether an ancient coin is authentic or simply a copy. He goes to a coin dealer, but that man is not able to help him since this is a specialized skill. He recommends an expert who turns out to be an old acquaintance of the detective. Since they have known each other, the expert, a Mr. Carrados, has lost his sight, but he turns out to be a more effective detective than the one who can see. The Wisdom of the Talmud by Rabbi Ben Zion Bokser The first section of this collection of spiritual writings was simply a collection of segments taken from the Old Testament. This section is quite different. It is a collection of articles on the Talmud: its formation, its content, etc. It is a nice introduction to this collection of Jewish laws and commentaries. Coming from a Christian background, one can see how similar are many of the ideas contained therein, and also how they diverge. Lions of the West: Heroes and Villains of the Westward Expansion by Robert Morgan This is a long and wonderfully written account of many of the people who helped to settle the West of the United States. This includes such well known figures such as President Jefferson, Kit Carson, Davy Crocker and General Fremont, the Pathfinder. It also includes some figures that people, in general, are not familiar with such as Nicholas Trist who negotiated an end to the Mexican-American War. We get to see both their personalities and how they interacted on a larger screen. It is a must read for anyone interested in this period of history. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


Post a Comment