Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Pismo Beach, CA - Arroyo Grande, CA - Rome

October 29, 2019 Peace and Good, I finished the parish retreat at Pismo Beach. It is a very good parish community, and I thorougly enjoyed my time there. The topic was the Gospel of Matthew. There are a lot of people there who are truly working on their spiritufal lives. Last week I was at our novitiate which is just down the street from the parish. We have five novices this year. I gave four days of presentations on the Gospels and the Psalms. Then on Saturday I gave a day of reflection to the novices of all three Franciscan Friars (Friars Minor, Capuchins and Conventuals) on the Gospel of Matthew, the gospel we are using in the liturgy this coming Church year. I flew back from California yesterday. It is a long, long journey. I am back in Rome for our definitory until Friday. I will be heading out next week to do some things in Zambia. I finished some reading: The Cambridge Medieval History: From the Rise of Constantine to the Death of Julian This is a series of presentations on the beginning of what we would call the Middle Ages. It is the first volume of many that were available at a very reduced price by Kindle. The essays are good, if somewhat technical. Some deal more with the history, while others deals with background information on the era. The Bone Collector by Jeffrey Deaver I thing that this is the first of Deaver’s books in the Lincoln Rhymes series. The detective is paralyzed and preparing to have someone assist him in suicide. He is challenged to assist finding and stopping a serial killer. He and his team are able to deduce the clues left by a killer and eventually track down the killer. The whole series is well done, and I would recommend this book and the others in the series. The Great Terror by Robert Conquest This is a very extensive treatment of the Great Terror of Stalin in the late 1930’s in which millions and millions of people were arrested and many of them killed or sent to prison camps in which many of them died. The details are abundant. The stories are horrific. One wishes that it were a horrible novel, but it is a true story. Like the holocaust, there are many who say that it is too incredible to believe, but Conquest has documented the whole affair well. The book is well worth reading, but it leaves one breathless. The Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagen This is a very, very thorough account of the Peloponnesian war between Athens and Sparta in the 4th century BC. The war went on for a long, long time and left both powers all but broken. Worse, the only way that Sparta was able to triumph was to ally itself with the enemy of the Greeks: the Persians. Athens eventually lost the war, but even more they lost their moral compass (abandoning their republican values for empire). The book is very good, but it would be a bit too much for most readers because of the level of detail in the book. Pacific Glory by PT Deutermann This is a novel about a group of people who are serving in the armed forced during the early and middle years of World War II. The author tries of give an accurate picture of what life was like for these characters, but the author is only partly successful. Hark Evidence by John Lescroat This is a murder mystery in which an attorney is called upon to defend his former father in law who is a famous judge from the charge of murdering a man who was about to marry the judge’s former courtesan. The book is OK, but not much more than that. D Day: A Captivating Guide to the Battle for Normandy by Captivating History This is a short account of the D Day invasion during World War II. Like the Charles River Editors books, it is not a book that gives great detail, but it is a good overview presentation. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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