Monday, August 2, 2021

Los Angeles - Ellicott City - London

August 2, 2021 The Feast of the Portiuncula Peace and Good, I flew out from LA to Baltimore so that I could participate in the simple profession and solemn profession of vows of some of our friars (four for simply profession and three for solemns). The simple profession took place in the chapel at our friary in Ellicott City, while the solemn profession was in the local church, St. Louis, in Clarksville. Both were beautiful. The solemn profession had a choir from Togo, since one of those professing was born there. After communion they played a vibrant song that had people dancing in the ailes. I was very moved. I have always felt an attraction to the African form of the liturgy which is filled with life and emotion. I flew from Dulles to London on Saturday. The flight was good. There was a considerable amount of paperwork to fill out before getting on the flight, but checking in at Washington and passing through passport control in London was easy. Today Great Britain declared that one who comes from the States does not have to quarantine any more. I had to take another covid test this morning, but that is all. Masks are not required, but they are recommended on public transport. The weather here the past couple of days was typical London - cool and rainy. Mark Twain once said that the worst winter he ever lived through was a July in London. Today, the sun has come out and it is really pleasant. I finished some reading: The Quiet Game by Greg Iles This is a story set in Natchez where a former district attorney and now an author, Penn Cage, arrives in his home town. He mentions an old murder of a black man many years before which she then puts in her newspaper. This begins a frightening series of events as the Penn Cage tries to solve the murder mystery (which seems to have been a racial crime). In the process, he and his family face incredible danger. The Aeneid of Virgil by Elizabeth Vandiver This was a twelve lecture course on the Aeneid by Virgil. This was an epic poem written toward the beginning of the reign of Augustus to give a mythic origin story for the now powerful Roman Empire. Vandiver is very good at presenting the material and the background. It is remarkable that Virgil actually wanted the text of the epic to be burned because he was dying before he could put the finishing touches on it. Augustus refused to do this, saving this masterpiece for Rome and for us. Megan Phelps-Roper by Audible Interviews This is an interview of a member of Westborough Baptist Church who left the Church and then wrote about her experience. This is the church which picketed at funerals, demonstrated at other Church functions to provoke others to violence so that they might sue them, etc. She explains why people interpreted scripture the way they did and how they actually thought that what they were doing was for other people’s benefit. Ugarit by Charles River Editors This short presentation is one of the better Charles River Editors productions. Ugarit was a city in the Mideast which was a trading center between Mesopotamia and Egypt and Greece. The population was Semitic. The ruins where not discovered until the 20th century. Among the important finds was a library of thousands of clay tablets written in a primitive cuneiform alphabet. Gideon’s Sword by Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston Child and Preston are some of my favorite authors. They have written a long series of stories about a FBI inspector named Pendergast. This volume is part of another series. This one deals with a company that performs projects for the government and others which spies would normally do. The greatest tool of the company is a very intricate system of social manipulation and evaluation. In this book, Gideon, who has a condition that will kill him within a year, is sent out to discover the secrets of a Chinese scientist who was coming to the US. Sherman makes Georgia Howl by Charles River Editors This is the account of one of the most controversial actions of the Union army during the war. It speaks of Sherman’s conquest and destruction of the city of Atlanta, and then his march to the sea in which he left a path of destruction. He is still despised in the south for what he did. The excuse on the part of Sherman was that he had to destroy the backers of the rebellion, including their manufacturing and capacity to provide food for those who were fighting. The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner This is a fictional biography of Queen Juana la Loca, Juana the mad. The author speaks of her marriage to a Hapsburg heir who turns out to be unfaithful and power hungry. He treats her badly in many ways. She eventually poisons him. Her reign was clouded by the fact that Ferdinand (the husband of Isabella) closed her away and ruled in her stead. The author prefers to speak of her as totally innocent and manipulated by the men around her. She avoids speaking of the mental illness of some sort that does seem to have affected her. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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