Saturday, November 19, 2022

Rome - Melbourne, Australia - Sydney, Australia

November 20, 2022 Peace and Good, This past Saturday I travelled to Australia for a canonical visitation. I actually arrived on Sunday, for the trip took about 22 hours. I used Qatar airlines, which I cannot praise enough (service, food, cleanliness, etc.) Yet, the trip goes on forever. I visited our friary in Springvale, which is near Melbourne. The friars have a parish there which has a very large Vietnamese population. The weather in Melbourne was terrible. It was quite cold, and very rainy. Furthermore, the rain comes suddenly. I would feel a few drops and see people running. I soon saw why, for the rain goes from sprinkle to downpour in seconds. On Thursday I flew up to Sydney, to the town of Kellyville. Here the weather is much nicer, mostly in the 70's. This parish has a large Philippino and Indian contingent. I celebrated Mass this morning in the parish. Tomorrow we hear to a retreat house for the assembly of the friars here. Then, on Friday I travel down to Melbourne again, and on Saturday night off to Rome again. Even here in Australia I have been hearing about the snow in Buffalo, especially Hamburg and Orchard Park which is where I grew up. I finished some books: Paul: A New Covenant Jew by Brant Pitre, Michael Barber and John Kinkaid This is a tremendous study of the theology of St. Paul. Pitre has proven to be one of my favorite theology authors. He studies all of the various manuscripts and Jewish writings to show that Paul is a Jew who believes that Jesus has come to establish a new covenant. This doesn’t sound like a tremendous discovery, but some scholars would propose that Paul was just making things up about Jesus and that his message and that of the historic Jesus were fundamentally different. The authors show that this is in no way true, and he traces the message of Paul to the Old Testament sources, showing how it is consistent with the rest of the New Testament. The Song of a Bird by Anthony de Mello This is a series of very short stories that are intended to make one reflect upon a mystical approach to God. My favorite was right at the start and it gives the title to the book. A master of theology tells his students that their ideas about God are all wrong. They ask him why they should even try, and he responds with a question, “Why does the bird sing?” The bird does not sing because it wants to make a statement, but rather because it has a song to share. Stoicism by Ferdinand Jives This is a short presentation on the origins and content of Stoic philosophy. Oddly, the author insists on throwing all sorts of unrelated material in this account, which makes it a bit confusing. Red November: Inside the Secret US-Soviet Submarine by W. Craig Reed The author dedicates his father who served in the submarine service. He also is a diver who works on a submarine during the Cold War to try to obtain secret information from the Soviet Union, often by diving into very dangerous places to tap their cables which carry information from one base to the next. The story is quite compelling. The Mind of Plato by AE Taylor This is a scholarly overview of the writings and teachings of the ancient Greek philosopher Plato. Taylore deals with the question as to the relationship between Socrates and Plato, and since what we know about Socrates is through Plato’s writings, he also deals with the question of how much of his account is accurate. He speaks of the other writings of Plato, especially the Republic. Young Einstein and the story of E=mc2 by Robyn Arianhod This is a short account of the late studies of Einstein, his marriage (which ultimately failed), and his struggle to find meaningful work, ending up in the Swiss patent office while he wrote papers which changed the way we think about mater and energy, time, movement, etc. A World Undone by GJ Meyer This is a masterful account of the First World War, from just before its origins to its conclusions. All throughout the account there are very useful excursi about the individuals, movements and politics of the times. Although the author presents mountains of material, he does it in a way that is not overwhelming or boring. Saint Peter by Hourly History This is a short biography of St. Peter. It draws upon Sacred Scripture and does not use extra-biblical sources, which limits its treatment of the story. It is a nice outline, but not much more. Versailles by Charles River Editors This is a short history of the great palace outside of Paris built by King Louis XIV and adjusted by his successors. After the French Revolution there was danger that it would degenerate into a ruin, but some creative curators found ways to preserve it up to this day. 11 Days in December by Stanley Weintraub This is an overview of the battle of the Bulge fought in December of 1944 as a last effort of Hitler to throw back the allied forces on the Western Front. The allies were greatly surprised by the attack and thrown back, but they quickly recovered and actually caused much more damage to the German forces than they caused to theirs, especially due to the efforts of General Patton. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


Post a Comment