Sunday, December 3, 2017

Ottawa - Rome

December 3, 2017 Peace and Good, I returned from Ottawa to Rome where we are holding a marathon definitory meeting. It is planned to go from Monday of this past week up to the vigil of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. There are two reasons for the longer meeting this time. The first is that December is when we get the reports of the General Secretaries of our staff. These are the friars who are in charge of various offices which deal with the Secular Franciscans, the Poor Clares, the promotion of the causes of Blesseds and Saints, etc. We are also meeting with the provincials and definitories of the provinces of Italy. They have not been doing all that well in these years, so we want to continue to have a dialog with them to help them in any way we can The weather here has been rainy, which is very good because there was a bad drought all throughout the summer. It is cool, but not really terribly cold. I will be here until December 9th when I begin a long trip (Boston, San Jose, Costa Rica, San Francisco, Sydney, Melbourne and back to Rome. I finished some books: Outlaw by Ted Dekker Ted Dekker is a child of missionaries in Iryan Java, the Indonesian part of the island of New Guinea. He recounts a story of a woman missionary and her infant son who are captured by a savage band of natives. They suffer untold indignities and are at times tortured and almost put to death. The woman had originally intended to share the faith with these people, but she comes to share it in a way that she would never have expected. Her love and that of her son in the face of violence create a new way of seeing reality in the Tulim Valley where they found themselves. The Dutch East India Company by Charles River Editors The Dutch East India company was a great trading empire founded by the Dutch traders and centered in the Indonesian Islands. It was not founded for the advance of civilization, but rather for the accumulation of riches. This was not all that favorable for the inhabitants of this area. The Dutch played on divided loyalties here much as the English did in India. They were certainly guilty of what today would be called war crimes and crimes against humanity. Even though the Dutch remained masters of Indonesia until after World War II, the company’s importance slowly faded as time went on. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon by Charles River Editors This was long considered to be one of the seven wonders of the world, even in ancient times. The problem is that while there are some inconsistent descriptions of its layout, there is no archaeological evidence that it every existed in Babylon. One of the possibilities that the author posits is that it really existed in Nineveh, the Assyrian capital, which was occasionally also called Babylon. There is a lot of theory in this treatment but not a lot of firm information. Hades: The History, Origins and Evolution of the Greek God by Charkes River Editors This is an overview of the Greek treatment of the god Hades. While this god was a brother of Zeus and one of the Greek pantheon, it was nevertheless different from the other gods. It did not reside, for example, on Mt. Olympus. It resided in the underworld. Greeks did not perform the same type of sacrifices to this particular god. This god was not one whom one would adore to ask for favors, but rather one whom one tried to placate so that it would not do something bad to one. The Greek treatment of Hades and the underworld was eventually mirrored in Livy’s Aeneid and Dante’s Divine Comedy. Tyre by Charles River Editors This is a short history of the great trading city of Type on the shore of what today is Lebanon. While it formed a sea borne empire that stretched from Spain to Palestine, it was nevertheless subject to the great powers that surrounded it for all of its history (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, etc.). It was the motherland for settlers who ended up in Carthage and who created first a dependant entity and then eventually an empire in its own right. How Rome Fell by Adrian Goldsworthy I listened to this book about the fall of the Roman empire from the first moments in which there were difficulties up to its eventual dissolution. Goldsworthy is a good scholar and is fair in his treatment of causes and effects. This is a fairly long treatment of the topic, but every bit of it is worth reading. I certainly intend to search for more books by Goldsworthy. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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