Thursday, May 23, 2024

Chicago - Ellicott City

May 23, 2024 Peace and Good, I hope you are all well. Since I have been back from Chicago, I have been at home. I had my third immunotherapy treatment this past Monday. I have some small aches and pains, but none of them is serious and I bring all of them to the attention of my treatment team at the hospital. I cannot describe how kind and compassionate they have all been at Johns Hopkins. I really feel as if they see me as a person and not another anonymous patient to care for. I am beginning a translation of a short Italian children's New Testament for my publisher. It should only take a week or two to finish the text. I am now well ahead in daily scripture reflections (up to early July). I have been helping out more at the Shrine with confessions and Masses. I am still limited in what I can do in terms of energy. After an hour of confessions and celebrating a Mass, I have to rest for a while to do anything else. I am getting more and more concerned with the strange weather we have been experiencing over these past months. It is clearly a sign of climate change. One can argue whether it is a natural pattern or at least partially man made, but something is happening. While our country can probably deal with it for a while, some poorer countries will be devastated for they do not have the extra resources to tide them over. I have finished some reading/listening: Lex Talionis by Michael Prescott This is a novella about a man who loses his wife giving birth to a child, and then the child’s death at the hands of an inattentive driver. He is losing his mind until one night he meets a mysterious figure in his bedroom who promises to bring back his daughter if he kill someone in the next forty-eight hours. This leads to terrible qualms of conscience and a creative solution. Louis Pasteur by Charles River Editors This is the biography of the great French scientist Louis Pasteur. We still use his name in the term pasteurization which is used for the treatment of raw milk and beer. He invented the vaccine against rabbis, and worked on many practical problems that plagues French agriculture. The Kassites by Charles River Editors This is a little know people who conquered Mesopotamia and held it for around two hundred years in the period after the great Babylonian state and before the conquest of the Assyrians. I have often heard of this people but never knew much about them. This short book was very helpful. The Reconstruction Era by Hourly History This is the story, somewhat tragic, of the south from the end of the Civil War until a decade later when the federal troops were pulled out of those states. It especially deals with the problem of violence and intimidation against the blacks in the south which effectively prohibited them from voting and which subjected them to Jim Crow laws which established segregation. Myth in Human History by Grant Voth This is a Teaching Company Course of myths across the world. The professor establishes certain patterns that one would expect to see in myths. These, for example, include the stories of the jester who breaks all the rules, but who yet manages to assist humankind, even if that was not the jester’s main purpose. This overview provides some insight into the books of Joseph Campbell and Mircea Eliade. The Ancient Libyans by Charles River Editors The book speaks about the ancient tribes who came to be known collectively as the Libyans. They lived to the west of Egypt during the ancient era, almost ever as a danger and even invading and conquering the land for a while. Eventually, many of them became incorporated into Egyptians culture (as seen by the names of some Egyptian officials). The Mosque of Cristo de la Luz by Charles River Editors This is a short book on a church in Spain that was transformed into a Mosque, and then when the land was reconquered by Christians, remade into a Church. One of the most important elements in this story is the cross which had been hidden behind a wall during the time of the conquest, but which revealed itself by shining a light through a crack in the wall. Pet Sematary by Stephen King This is a typical Stephen King book, full of suspense and even horror, but also filled with tremendously good writing. The story is of a man who finds a cemetery which can bring pets back to life, but they are somehow changed in the process. His young son dies, and he buries him in the cemetery with horrific results. Brother of Jesus, Friend of God by Luke Timothy Johnson This is a series of essays collected by Luke Timothy Johnson on the Letter of James. Some deal with authorship and dating. Others deal with the literary form and the moral lessons found throughout the text. Some, unfortunately, are highly specific and not especially interesting except for those who are interested in a particular verse or two. Overall, it is a good resource. Defiance by C.J. Redwine This is the story of a large group of Jews who fled the ghettoes of Belarus and lived in the forests. The primary purpose was survival, but they also served as partisans, especially when they came under the authority of the Soviet government. Unlike other partisan groups, this one accepted the poor, the young and old, women, etc. – people who in general could not fight. The book is a bit repetitive at times, but the story is great. In Distant Lands by Lars Brownsworth This is an account of the various crusades in the Middle East. The author is very honest about the motivation of many of the crusaders (at times salvation, at times adventure, at times plunder). He is honest about the deviations that caused great scandal even in those days (the sack of Constantinople, the murder of Jews along the way, etc.). He shows how the hold on conquered territory was always tenuous due to the shortage of men and women who would settle there. He also speaks of some of the bone headed mistakes made by Christian and Muslim forces. The Modern Scholar: Hebrews, Greek and Romans: Foundations of Western Civilization by Timothy Shutt This is a quick overview of the influence of the Hebrew, Greek and Roman cultures upon our modern culture today. That is an incredibly large amount of material to cover in one single course, and the best the professor can do is give highlights here and there. The course is good, but superficial. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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