Thursday, January 6, 2022

Rome - Chicago - San Antonio

January 6, 2022 Peace and Good, Happy New Year to everyone, and happy Epiphany as well. I travelled from Rome to Chicago on the 29th. The 28th I had to get a PCR covid test, and waited 3 hours in line to get it. The flight from London to Chicago was delayed 3 hours, so it was a tough trip. I rested up in Chicago for a couple of days, and then flew down to San Antonio to preach a retreat to the post-novitiate students. The topic is on the Admonitions of St. Francis, 28 sayings attributed to him on how to live an everyday Franciscan life. This is a topic that I never presented before, so it required quite a bit of study and preparation, but it has been well worth it. The weather is uneven. It was very warm when I arrived, but a cold front has come in and now it goes between cold and warm throughout the day. We are on an Episcopanian camp about an hour outside of San Antonio. It is very nicely arranged, and we are all enjoying the property and the accomidations. It finish up tomorrow and head back to Chicago on Saturday. The retreat for the students in the Washington house of studies had to be cancelled because of covid. We were lucky so far. I finished some reading: The Kingdom of Alishiya by Charles River Editors This is a short study of the ancient kingdom of Alishiya. Most scholars believe it was on Cyprus. It is not clear whether it was the entire island or simply one portion of it. During its heyday, it traded with the most powerful empires in the area: Egypt, Mattan, the Hittites, etc. Their most valuable product was copper (which mixed with tin would make bronze). Its importance diminished in latter BC centuries, especially after the arrival of the Assyrians in that part of the world. New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton This is a presentation on the meaning of contemplation and an explanation of what it is and especially what it is not. The information is valuable, although Merton’s style at times is annoying (calling things stupid and foolish, etc.). I had read this book many, many years ago, but I don’t even know what I would have understood in that earlier reading given how much I have had to learn in the meantime. Shroud for the Archbishop by Peter Tremayne This is a murder story solved by an Irish nun who visits Rome to seek approval of her community’s rule in the 7th century AD. The story is clever and I suspect most of the details are accurate, but I did find a few that were questionable. In the background is the difference between the Roman and the Irish rite in these times. The War of 1812 by Jeffrey Hummel This is an audio presentation of a couple of hours on the War of 1812. It gives the background to the war, placing it in the context of the war between England and France, and how their fighting overflowed to the neutral countries. This volume is narrated by George C. Scott, so it is a very familiar voice. Roman Slaves: Facts about prostitutes, revolution, Spartacus and Roman Citizens by Ron Carver This is an odd second volume of a study of the Roman Empire. It is totally disorganized and the grammar is at best questionable. Yet, it does provide some good information, although one has to be patient with the odd style of writing. Hispanic America, Texas, and the Mexican War 1835-1850 by Christopher Collier and James Lincoln Collier This is the history of those areas of the United States that were under the control of Mexico and were eventually conquered or bought by the US. It gives a good overview both from the point of the view of the Hispanic community as well as the Anglo US republic. The Philippines by Joseph Stromberg This is a short history of the Philippine Islands, from prehistoric times to the present. It deals especially with the time that the islands were under the control of the Spanish Empire and of the United States. It is not extensive, but it gives a good overview. Keep safe. fr. Jude


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