Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Llandundo, Wales - London - San Francisco - Santa Cruz

October 18, 2022 Peace and Good, The chapter in Great Britain/Ireland went very well. The friars were very realistic as to where they stood and what has to be done in the coming years. After the chapter I took a train to London (actually a train ride with three changes). Saturday I flew out to San Francisco, and today we begin a meeting at a retreat house in Santa Cruz (right on the ocean). It is a beautiful spot. I can hear the waves right from my bedroom, and that sound always has a way of calming me. The meeting this week is of the ministers of the various jurisdictions of the English speaking, first world establishment of friars (e.g. US, Canada, Australia and Great Britain/Ireland). We will meet until Friday evening, and then I head back to Rome on Sunday. The weather is nice, in the mid 60's. Most of the friars who are coming to the meeting are new in their job, so a lot of our work will be getting to know each other and what is expected of each one during these coming years. I finished some reading: Heart of Europe: A History of the Holy Roman Empire by Peter Wilson This is a very long, very detailed study of the Holy Roman Empire and its institutions. It is not an easy read, but it presents an enormous amount of information. Only someone who is really, really interested in this empire (at times a true empire, at others only an amalgamation of small states) should read this book. At the same time, it is a good study. Sermon on the Mount by Amy-Jill Levine This is an audiobook from Chirp books written by a professor of the New Testament who was raised in a Jewish family. She is able to draw information from the best of both of these worlds. There are times that I would exactly agree with her conclusions (e.g. she has a tendency to water down some of the more radical challenges of Jesus), her study is nevertheless quite valuable. Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch This is one of my favorite author. He has written a series of books about Peter Grant, a mixed race detective in London who studies how to be a magician so that he can investigate and regulate magical occurrences in Great Britain. He is studying under a mentor (Nightingale) who is over 100 years old. This is the first book in the series in which Peter discovers his magical talents. What did St. Francis Teach: Interpreting the Admonitions of Francis of Assisi by Jay Hammond I listened to this audiobook/course on the Admonitions of St. Francis to prepare for a retreat that I was asked to preach to the post-novitiate friars in San Antonio. The retreat has gone very well, largely to the profound study of this topic. Some of the elements of the study are a bit technical (and they could easily be skipped by someone less interested in this element in the study), but Hammond has a profound insight into the thinking of St. Francis. I listened to it at least five times over the past couple of weeks, and found new insights every time I listened to it. Moscow Rules by Daniel Silva This is a book that deals with Gabriel Allon, a spy from the Mosad, the Israeli intelligence network. In this volume, he must sort out the complicated dealings of a Russian arms merchant who was now selling anti-aircraft missiles to terrorist states and groups. As always, Silva’s books are filled with action and insight. Origins of Great Ancient Civilizations by Kenneth Harl This is a Great Courses series on ancient civilizations of the Middle East. The professor is very informative, and his presentation is very palatable. I would gladly listen to any of this professor’s presentations. Wolves and Werewolves in History and Popular Culture by Shannon Scott This is a very strange, very entertaining production by Great Courses and Audible Originals. The author speaks of the human fascination with wolves and werewolves. She presents tales about them over the ages (along with a judgment of why the stories were presented in their particular form). I wouldn’t say that this is a high academic topic, but it was enjoyable to listen to it. The Best American Short Stories 2019 by Heidi Pitlor and Anthony Doerr This is a collection of modern short stories that vary in topic but which were judged to be some of the best productions of 2019. I found almost every story to be well worth listening to, and I would highly recommend this book and the annual version of it. Some of the topics covered were things that I would never even have considered, but that made them all the more valuable to me. The Khmer Empire by Charles River Editors This is a short but very intricate history of the empire that led to the birth of the modern state of Cambodia. The book is unfortunately filled with names and battles and material that overwhelms the reader. The best part of the book is the description of the temple at Angor Wat. Emperors of Rome by Garrett Fagan This is a Great Courses production about the rise and fall of the office of emperor in the Roman States, opening with the career of Julius Caesar and closing with the reign of Constantine. The author is both informative and entertaining. This is the second time over the years that I have listened to this course, and found it just as useful the second time as it was the first. Have a oood week. Shalom fr. Jude


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