Friday, February 11, 2022

Ellicott City - Louisville - Angola, IN - Terre Haute - El Paso

February 11, 2022 As you can see in the title for this blog, I am on the road these days. I am engaged in the canonical visitation of the Province of Our Lady of Consolation, a province that runs from Ohio and Minnesota south to Texas and New Mexico. I am travelling with the Minister Provincial, which has proven to be a very successful model for the visit (normally the two of us would visit the friary separately). At the end of each visit, we can compare notes for the good of the friars involved. Our visitation got off to a rocky start, for we were hit by an ice storm. Here in El Paso, it is supposed to reach 70 degrees today, so it has been a big challenge to pack for this trip. This afternoon we will be going to our retreat house in Mesilla Park, just across the border in New Mexico. It is great to speak with all of the friars along the way. There will be quite a few changes at chapter, and our visit is helping to sort things out. One of the important interventions we did was to announce to our parish in Angola, IN, that the friars would be pulling out. The friars had been there for about 90 years, but given the shortage of friars and the fact that the local bishop has a surplus of priests, it was time to move on. fr. Wayne and I preached at the Masses at the main church and the mission church and read the letter of the bishop, explaining the reason for the move. We have a new provincial in Chicago. He is fr. Paul Langevin. He will take office at their provincial chapter in April. I was able to check with the Minister General to give approval for Paul (for new provincials must be approved by fr. Carlos, the Minister General. I finished some reading: Building a new Nation: the Federalist Era by Christopher Collier and James Lincoln Collier This is a relatively short treatment of the early years of the US republic. The author’s goal is not to overload the reader with details that would make the presentation boring. They do a very good job of this, and I would recommend the whole series (the drama of the American Republic) to anyone. Commentary on Joel by C.F. Keil and Franz Delitzsch A short while back, someone asked me about the minor prophet Joel and what he said. I did not know a lot about the topic, so I decided to read a commentary on the prophet’s book. This is quite a technical work, and it is certainly dated, but the two scholars who produced it was unrivalled in their scholarship, and I picked up quite a bit of information going through this relatively short work. Much of it involves weighing various possible translations, and other portions evaluate theories of other exegetes, but even that technical work offered insights. Nostradamus by Charles River Editors This is a short biography of the famous author/psychic whose works are still being consulted hundreds of years later to refer to various disasters and other current events. He wrote in such a vague style, like many psychics, that one could read the text in almost any way and make it apply to almost any situation. The author of this work gives examples of some of the famous applications and why they do or do not fit the text. Francis of Assisi: the Life and Afterlife of a Medieval Saint by Andre Vauchez This is a masterful treatment both of the life and writings of St. Francis, but also how he has been treated in the time that has evolved since his death (in art, literature, etc.). Vauchez gives a fair portrait to the Saint, only challenging those interpretations which are based more upon what people would like to see in Francis rather than who he truly was. He also explains some of the dynamics which led the Franciscans to transform from a lay movement to a religious community, and how that community was shaped by the needs and demands of the larger Church. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about St. Francis. A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by W. Philip Keller This is a commentary/reflection upon Psalm 23, The Lord is My Shepherd, written by an actual shepherd. Keller had a flock of sheep in East Africa where he lived and worked, but he was also a lay minister. He gives some meaningful insight to the various phrases used in the psalm. His approach is not truly an exegetical one, as much as a spiritual reflection and application to everyday Christian life. A History of Ancient Rome by Frances Titchener This is part of the Record Books Modern Scholar series of courses. I was able to download a ton of them from my local library. This course runs from the founding of Rome to the days of the Emperor Constantine. In general, the scholarship is good, although I detected a bit of Edward Gibbons’ theories in the teaching offered by Titchener (that the fall of the Roman Empire was most of all due to its conversion to Christianity). She does not quite understand the dynamics of Church hierarchy. Otherwise, the book is well done. Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory This is the story of three sisters, the Tudors Margaret, Mary and their sister-in-law, Katherine of Aragon and their interaction. The narrative is told from the perspective of Margaret who comes across as a shrewish and selfish person. She was the queen and queen mother of the kings of Scotland. Mary, who was the widow of the king of France, comes across as a social butterfly. Katherine is presented as an overly religious and judgmental person. The flaws of each of the characters are pushed a bit much, but the book does give some insights to the dynamics of the Tudor dynasty (especially from a point of view of some women who are often not considered in other works). The Edge of the Sky by Roberto Trotta This is an audible book which presents a study of astrophysics in simple, almost childish terms. It comes across almost like a fairy tale, but at the same time it is dealing with weighty topics as the galaxies, dark matter, gravitational attraction, etc. It was an enjoyable listen. Have a good and safe week. Shalom fr. Jude


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