Sunday, September 5, 2021


September 6, 2021 Peace and Good, This past week we met in definitory. During the week, we end up discussing events and needs from all over the world. Sometimes it makes your head spin when you have talked about situations in North America, Africa and Asia, all within a couple of hours. I have been translating a big project, a manual called Franciscan Discipleship (64 pages) over these past couple of weeks. I should finish the first draft this week, which puts me a bit ahead of schedule. I will be attending another meeting all this week. It is for the new provincials and secretaries of the provinces who were elected in this past year. We will be conducting this at the Seraphicum, our house of theology at the edge of the city. The weather has been warm. The European Community has just downgraded the status of the US again, making it a bit more difficult to enter. I am heading to the States this Sunday which will not be a problem, but coming back might be a bit tricky. I finished some reading: Great Masters: Tchaikovsky: His Life and Music by Robert Greenberg This is a Teaching Company course on the life and music of the great 19th century Russian composer Tchaikovsky. His personal life was strange. He married one of his groupies, but all but had a nervous breakdown when he moved in with her because he was gay and could not live as a heterosexual. He was also a pedophile who was forced to commit suicide because he had an affair with the son of a high ranking member of the royalty. His music well illustrates his profound psychological turmoil, as Greenberg well illustrates. Peoples and Cultures of the World by Edward Fisher This is a series of lectures by an anthropologist who gives some insights into the organization of various cultures and their economic systems. The professor goes here and there, from the Amazon to Polynesia to the US. Some of the insights are very valuable, others less so. The Korean Woman by John Altman This is the story of a North Korean woman who has been trained by the secret services of that country to be a sleeper spy in the United States. At the same time, there is an American secret service agent who is trying to launch a group of missiles against North Korea to catch them unprepared (in spite of the logical consequences to the South). The story is well developed. Blood Territory by Mark Whittaker This is the story of an investigator who travels to the northern territory of Australia to try to determine who had murdered a young man there. The police had arrested one of his former best friends and imprisoned him. Yet, there are other suspects, including the police themselves for the man murdered had submitted a lawsuit against the police for beating him up. Accidental Presidents by Jared Cohen This is the story of the various vice presidents who had taken over the presidency when their predecessors died in office (whether by illness or assassination). Some of them proved to be quite successful, e.g. Harry Truman. Others were non-entities who had been chosen for their office for political reasons. Probably the most successful of all had been Theodore Roosevelt who became president when McKinley had been killed in Buffalo, NY. This is a good book in the tradition of David McCullough. Odd Thomas: You are Destined to be Together Forever by Dean Koontz This is a novella in the Odd Thomas tradition. He is a fry cook in a California village who can see ghosts who come to him so that he might intervene on their behalf. The writing is great, and the reader is even better. Odd comes across as a decent young man who is doing the best he can in bewildering circumstances. The Seven Story Mountain by Thomas Merton This is the book by Merton which has been compared with St. Augustine’s Confessions. It is the autobiographical story of how he went from a Bohemian family with no beliefs to a Trappist Monastery. It is written in Thomistic language so I found its terminology a bit dates, but overall it presents a good story of how Merton abandoned a meaningless life for something which responded to his deepest hunger. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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