Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Ellicott City, MD - Reno, NV

March 14, 2017 Peace and Good, I hope you are all well. This past week I had a couple of meetings with the definitory of Our Lady of Angels Province and its provincial. This is my home province, and it extends all along the East coast of the US. I also preached a retreat to the post-novitiate students from our house in Silver Spring. This is an interprovincial house, and there were students from all four US provinces on retreat. The topic of the retreat was the Letter to the Hebrews. I did a lot of preaching on this book earlier in the year, so the topic was fresh in my mind. On Friday evening I also gave a talk at the shrine in Ellicott City on the Passion Narratives in the four Gospels. There were over 100 people there, which was a great turnout. Sunday I flew into Reno to do my visitation here. The friars have been serving in the Cathedral for the past 30 years, although they just announced that this will be their last year here. There are three friars serving here. This afternoon I fly out to Los Angeles where I will visit our friary in Hermosa Beach. I will then meet with the California definitory, and that will complete my visitation here. It has gone quite well. I have one more province in the Mid-West to visit this year. The shift in the weather has been something. When I left Baltimore, it was freezing, literally. Here in Reno it is around 70 during the day. I have finished some reading: Beautiful Brains by David Dobbs Why is it that teenagers have such a tendency to take unreasonable risks. This scientific study speaks of the fact that during the adolescent years, the brain goes through a series of processes which could be compared to a rewiring of the circuits. Many of the stop gaps that are present in older brains are just not yet developed in the teenage brain. Thus, when we accuse a teenager of not thinking something through, it is not as if the teenager has not tried. Still, speaking in terms of evolution, what would have been the advantage of going through a process such as this? The author explains that it would have been most helpful occurring in the period when the young adult was expected to fend for himself/herself. This ability to take risks would be most useful as that person separated him/herself from the tribe. Furthermore, the author explains that scientists have discovered that the teenage brain sets the teenager up to need more contact with peers than people of another age group. The teenager draws his/her cues on conduct from the people that surround him/her, and that those people are preferably peers. The Mask by Dean Koontz This is a horror story involving a young woman who is the victim of some form of reincarnation in which the tragedy of her death is repeated over and over again in succeeding generations. Some ghosts who are good and loving try to forestall the latest repeat of this tragedy by warning those involved of the impending danger. As always, Koontz is an expert both in language skills and the ability to build a spirit of terror. Pope Francis Encountering Truth This is a collection of notes taken upon 186 of Pope Francis’ daily homilies at the chapel in the St. Martha residence where he lives. His Masses there are celebrated for those staying at the residence as well as for a small group of those who have received invitations. The homilies are down to earth, and reveal many of the central messages of his pontificate. I have to admit that I don’t especially like the style of his preaching (it is a bit too repetitive for me, and the examples used don’t speak to me), while I very much enjoy the message. Fisherman’s Bend by Linda Greenlaw This is the story of a policewoman from Miami who gives up the big city to work as a deputy sheriff and insurance investigator in seaside Maine. The story is fairly well told, but I would not say it is the best written book that I have ever read. It is the kind of book that one might read for relaxation and not having to think all that much. What You Don’t Know Can Kill You by Jason Daley This is a fascinating study on why people seem to panic about certain possibilities that are very rare (e.g. radiation poisoning, airplane accidents) when they don’t about probabilities that are very high (e.g. high cholesterol, lack of exercise, car accidents). What is the mechanism that causes this disconnect and this failure to judge things objectively? Rule Number One by Bev Vincent A policeman takes a ride along for a trip around his beat. The ride along is a beautiful woman who is writing an novel about police work, or at least that is what she has told him. What she really is is a plant who wants to learn about police procedure so that she and her accomplices might rob a jewelry store. They story is well written. Hope you have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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