Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Rome - Mount St. Francis, IN

July 4, 2017 Peace and Good, Happy Independence Day! I spent the past week in Rome at our definitory. We actually finished a bit early, so I was able to work on a couple of projects. One was to get ahead in daily podcast reflections since I will be travelling a lot this month. I was quite successful on that. The other was to do some editing for an Asian Christian magazine that is being published by our Theological Faculty in Rome. I am the English editor of the magazine, and some of the authors really don't know English grammar all that well. On Saturday I was able to finish the second last article for a publication coming out later this year. In these next weeks, I must finish the last one. On Sunday I flew from Rome to Dallas and then on to Louisville. In June I did a visitation of the houses of Our Lady of Consolation Province in the Southwest. Now I am starting the Midwest portion of the province. I will be in the States until the end of the month when I then head back to Rome. The weather in Rome has been uncommonly hot and humid until the last day I was there. Then suddenly the humidity broke and we had a great day. That evening we had a cook out on the fourth floor terrazza of our friary, and it was a glorious evening. I finished some reading in these days: Batavia by Peter Fitzsimons This is the true story of a ship wreck in the islands off Australia in the 17th century The boat was a treasure boat on its way to Jakarta to bring money to buy the spices that were so important for the Dutch East India Company. While the admiral in charge of the boat takes sailors on a four week trip to seek assistance in Jakarta, a band of unscrupulous pirate like mutineers seizes control and begin to cull men, women and children in order to cut down the numbers so that those who remain might survive. The murders take on their own logic, however, as the band becomes more tyranical and murderous. It is an awful story that leaves one truly shaken. Consent to Kill by Vince Flynn This is the first novel by Vince Flynn that I have read. I have seen his name and titles for his books, so I was interested in reading this book. It is about an American anti-terrorist Rambo type figure who is fighting against the Islamic attack on this country. The evil figure in the book is the minister of cult in Saudi Arabia who is secretly funding an attempt to assassinate the hero. As a spy novel, it was quite good and avoids some of the more egregious mistakes of some of the other authors in this genre. Deng Ziaoping: A Revolutionary Life by Alexander Pantsov This is an extensive biography of the leader of China after Mao. It gives an honest appraisal of the figure, including the good elements as well as the bad (which verge on the evil). It shows how he manages to survive a number of falls from grace, and how he tried to balance his life and his politics in order to survive in the Kafkaesque era of Mao. The book gives a good overview of the infighting before, during and after the Maoist communist era. A Case of Need by Michael Crichton This is an older novel, written when Abortion was illegal in most states. It takes place in Boston, and a pathologist at a hospital investigates the accusation against a fellow doctor that he performed an abortion that resulted in the death of a young woman. The doctor blamed does perform secret abortions, but he is not the one who performed this abortion. The complicating factor is that the young woman is the daughter of an old Boston family who have considerable pull in the city. Roman Britain by Henry Freeman This book speaks of the inhabitants and culture of the inhabitants of Roman Britain before the invasions of Julius Caesar (unsuccessful) and that of Claudius Caesar (successful). It tries to identify the inhabitants of Britain before the arrival of the Romans (which is quite difficult), it speaks of how Roman culture was already quite present even before the Romans arrived, and it deals with how the Romans did and did not affect the culture of the British Isles. Insomnia by Stephen King This is a rather long book which deals with an elderly man and woman who are suffering from insomnia. This leads them to be able to see the auras that surround people around them. They also encounter three mysterious figures who are like the Fates of Greek myths. Two of them are neutral harvesters of those who are dying, but one is evil and capricious. The novel is intertwined with the story of an abortion proponent who is coming to Darey to give a speech, and the attempt of radical anti-abortionists to stop her at any cost. The book presupposes other levels of reality which the two elderly heroes are able to enter due to their gifts received as recompense for the insomnia. Hope you have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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