Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Rome - Chicago

July 13, 2021 Peace and Good, We finished out very long definitory last Friday. We had to examine two important documents in the course of the meeting, and it went quite well. On Sunday I flew to Chicago. I will be here until Saturday when I head out to Los Angeles. I am here just to be with the friars, and to meet the new novices. I am playing these days by ear. Fortunately, Thursday, which is the day of the patron saint of this province, St. Bonaventure, there will be a friars' day at Marytown so I will get to see a number of the friars. I have also had the opportunity to speak with a number of friars one on one in these days, which is always good. Sometimes, my most important work is just done listening to what friars have to say. The weather here is very, very humid and overcast. It is not all that hot, but the humidity is very uncomfortable. Our house is located at the northern part of the city, right near the lake and Loyolla University. The flight here was long. May flights have been cancelled, so you have to take a round about route. I flew from Rome to Dallas, and from Dallas to Chicago. The trip is a bit better than before, and a little of the paperwork has disappeared. I finished some reading: The New World by Edward John Payne This is an essay that deals with the explorations in the New World and the predominant attitudes toward this universe. There are those who saw the new world as a paradise not yet destroyed by civilization (Montaigne), and those who thought that it would take great effort to make the new world a place where a decent person could live (Francis Bacon). As is true of all of these essays from the Cambridge series, it is very anglophilic. Dance Hall of the Dead by Tony Hillerman I have read many, many of Tony Hillerman’s books, and this is one of the better ones. Joe Leaphorn, an officer in the Navaho Tribal Police, must investigate the murder of one young boy and the disappearance of another. The case involves Leaphorn learning more about the Zuni traditions, especially the Cochina figures which seem to be involved in this case. There are a number of twists and turns in the story which, while unusual, prove to be very believable. The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston This is the story of a mass murderer in the city of Florence, Italy, and the investigation performed by a newspaper reporter and the crime/thriller author, Douglas Preston. The murderer is killing couples in their cars after their trysts, and mutilating the young women. While the reporter and author seem to favor one solution, the local prosecutors choose a whole different path of inquiry and begin to prosecute the reporter and Preston for their beliefs. This book speaks about the diversity of Italian cultures, and also of the mess that their legal system has become. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley I had often heard of this book, and since Audible was offering it for free, I thought this might be a good time to listen to it. It tells of a dystopian future in which the only value is happiness, even if it is drug induced. A young man who seeks more in life is destroyed by the system. The book, published in 1932, still offers a good warning to an overly technological and overly systematized world. The Battle of Antietam by Captivating History This battle produced the bloodiest day of the Civil War. It was the clashing of the forces of the South led by Robert E. Lee, and those of the North led by the brilliant but reticent General McClennan. Neither of them fought all that well that particular day. That is especially true of the forces of the north which could have easily cut off and eliminated the southern army if they had only pursued it after the battle. Imitation of Christ by Tomas A Kempis This is a meditation book written in the 1400’s representing a spiritual movement in the Netherlands. Some of its insights are brilliant, but it also proves to be a bit Manichean (the belief that only the spiritual is good and the material is corrupt and evil). It was worth reading, but I am not sure that I would recommend to anyone in spiritual direction with me without warning that person of its one sided view of life. Artemis by Andrew Scott and Charles River Editors This is a short overview of the legends and liturgical hymns that honored Artemis, the Greek goddess of the hunt, the wild and chastity. The author includes many long passages from original sources which, while interesting at first, bog one down with much unnecessary information. It is not as well done as many of the other editions of the Charles River productions. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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