Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Ellicott City, Maryland

April 14, 2021 Peace and Good, I hope you are all well. My period of isolation has been completed, and I am able to interact with the local community here in Ellicott City. This time through I am staying in the old Novitiate building at the top of the hill and not in the Provincialate. I had my first vaccination. I was given Pfizer, and I have my second shot on the 28th. I only had a bit of a sore arm for a couple of days. No other reactions. I have been using my time here for some classes on zoom. I have met with a local group twice and I have one more session next Monday. I will be meeting with the novices in California through zoom next week. I am also taping a series of talks with the Companions for broadcast upon their website over the next few months. I finished editing a book. Over the course of the various quarantines that I have gone through in this year, I have written two books and edited another two. I have also had a series of meeting on zoom with friars from all over. I find that an hour and a half on zoom is about as much as I can take without a break. There is something in the zoom meetings that really takes a lot of energy. I finished some reading: Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch I have listened to this book a number of years ago, and had enjoyed it tremendously. Reading it this time was even more fun. The story is of a special unit (only two policemen) in the London police force that deals with magic and other unusual phenomena in the city of London. The older, Nightingale, is hinted to be incredibly old, even if he does not look it. The younger, Peter Grant, is learning the trade. There are murders by mysterious characters, shape shifters, time travel, etc. Yet, in spite of all the unusual happenings, there is a verisimilitude in the story. I highly recommend it as an enjoyable read. The Triumph of Christianity by Bart Ehrman I have always been fascinated on how a handful of apostles and disciples managed to spread the faith to the point that most of the Roman Empire was Christian by the end of the fifth century. How did it happen? What difficulties did Christians face? Did Christianity answer a particular need in the pagan population? Were there pagan groups similar to Christianity in those days? How many Christians were there in the various eras? How quickly did the Church grow? All of these topics are treated in an objective and respectful manner. The History of the Medieval World by Susan Wise Bauer This is a masterful account of the Medieval World from the days of Constantine the Emperor to the days of the crusades. The author is not terribly Eurocentric, for she speaks of Korea, China, India, the Muslim caliphate, etc. There is so, so much information, but it is presented in an interesting manner. I would highly recommend this book. Harun al-Rashid by Charles River Editors This is the story of an Islamic leader of the Abbasid Empire who was both the greatest of its leaders but also the one who set it on the course to ruin. He is often mentioned in the Tales of One Thousand and One Nights, and is a symbol in literature both of a powerful leader but one who tended toward decadence. A Personal Problem by H. Bedford-Jones A man who is a loyal district manager must host his boss, who framed him for a theft many years before and who stole the woman he was to marry. He gets his revenge by having him sleep in a bed which is surrounded by huge cockroaches and centipedes and hunting spiders, things that the boss hates for he has a pathological fear of insects. Robert Harris by Audible Interviews This is an interview with one of my favorite authors. He has written the Cicero trilogy, a book on Dreyfus, the Ghost Author roughly about Tony Blair, and Munich, an account of the four days that led to the compromise that destroyed Czechoslovakia. In the Ruins of Empire: the Japanese Surrender and the Battle for Postwar Asia by Ronald Spector This is a very well done book that speaks about the role of Britain, France, Netherlands and the US in countries formerly occupied by Japan. Many of the countries involved did not want to return to their former colonial status, such as Korea, Indonesia and Vietnam. Then there is the role the US and Russia played in China right after the war. We see many of the tensions in these countries and the stated and implicit intentions of the parties involved. Keep safe. fr. Jude


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