Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Monte Argintario - Rome - Assisi - Rome -Arroyo Grande (CA)

April 4, 2018 Peace and Good, A Happy Easter to all. I finished the retreat in Monte Argintario and we travelled to Rome for the Triduum. Good Friday I had to take a quick trip up to Assisi for a couple of meeting with our English novices and their Novice Director. The three novices from the custody of Great Britain/Ireland are in Assisi for the year, and I went up to see how things were going. The Easter Vigil was well done this year. It lasted about two and a half hours, but everything was well organized. The Exultet was sung with guitar accompagnment, and it was really beautiful. We had a baptism and confirmation of an adult during the Mass. On Easter Monday I flew to California to give a workshop to our novices in Arroyo Grande. I flew from Rome to Munich, then to San Francisco, and then finally on to San Luis Obispo. When I got into Munich I saw that the connection to San Francisco was going to be three hours late. San Francisco is a large and somewhat complicated airport, and I thought I would never make the connection. The United Airline representative was on the jetway and gave me a coupon to get an expedited passport control. The security people let me take a fast track on security. Someone, both I and my luggage made the flight. When I got to the gate for the San Luis Obispo flight, it was already boarded, and the man checking the tickets even said that they never expected me to make the connection. I finished some reading: Poland by James Michener This is typical of Michener’s books – it is enormous. It gives stories about people all throughout the history of Poland, with the largest section dedicated to the Nazi period. It is very well written, and it gives a good insight into the Polish personality – a grandiose hopeful people who are generous in their service to their nation. I would always recommend Michener’s books as long as you have the time to read them. 1924: The Year that Made Hitler by Peter Ross Range This is an account of the events of 1923 and 1924 in the life of Adolph Hitler. In 1923 he organized the Beer Hall Puntch, and then in 1924 he was tried and imprisoned. He used his imprisonment to write his infamous memoir Mein Kampf. The Beer Hall Punch comes across as a comic opera rebellion, but Hitler used the subsequent trial as a stage to publicize his theories. It didn’t help that the judge and the whole judicial system of Bavaria were most sympathetic to the rightist movement. They treated Hitler with kid gloves, and released him long before he should have been (in clear contrast with how they treated Communists or Socialists). The book is good. The Cossacks: The History and Legacy of the Legendary Slavic Warriors by Charles River Editors This is a short account of the Cossacks, a group of ex-slaves and ex-serfs who escaped to the plains of southern Ukraine to produce a new people who were famous for the warlike disposition. They were often used by the Czars to put down rebellions with extreme violence. They were strong defenders of the Russian Orthodox Church. The Communists hated and did not trust them, and persecuted them throughout their regime. Stalin, for example, deported many of them to the Muslim republics during World War II. The account is well done. The Freemasons: the history of Freemasonry and the world’s most famous secret society by Charles River Editors I very much enjoy most of Charles River Editors, but this one is an exception. The scholarship in the book is very poor, and come across much more as a book of propaganda in favor of the Masons. The author takes all sort of founding legends proposed by the Masons and accepts them uncritically. I would not recommend this book at all. The King’s Curse by Philippa Gregory This is the story of Margaret Pole, one of the last of the Plantaganets during the days of Henry VIII. She and her family opposed the reforms of Henry in regard to the Church, and she was executed late in her life for supposed rebellion. Philippa Gregory tries to portray a very favorable picture of Margaret Pole and I am not sure that she was quite as innocent as she would protray her. Nevertheless, Gregory does show the decline in the mental balance of the king and the murderous consequences of this. Midnight by Dean Koontz This is a horror story of a scientific genius who has created a type of nanotube that programs people to be a “higher race.” The problem lies both with the definition of what a higher race might be. To that scientist, it meant a lack of emotion as well as incredible healing power. Unfortunately, the nanotubes also give people the possibility of regressing to a lower form of humanity – becoming savage beasts that kill others. An FBI agent, a sister of a murder victim and a young girl who is running away from her now savage parents team up with a terribly wounded Vietnam veteran to fight this plague. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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