Thursday, June 20, 2024

Ellicott City

hJune 20 Peace and Good, Summer has arrived early in Baltimore. Today will hit the 90's. Of course, there is an irony that it is hotter in New England. The climate has been crazy this Spring. Floods, heat, fires, etc. I really believe that while part of the change might be due to natural causes, it is still true that our multiplication of Carbon Dioxide levels in the atmosphere is having a big effect. I have been in Ellicott City since my last blog. This Saturday I gave a presentation on prayer in St. Anthony at our Shrine. This is a year of prayer in preparation for our Holy Year next year, a year of a pilgrimage of hope. I outlined the ideas presented in St. Anthony's writings concerning how we come to a true prayer life. The talk went well, and at the end I invited whoever wanted to come to the conference room to ask any questions about the faith that they wanted. That was even better. I hope to do this more often in the future. This Sunday I will fly up to Buffalo to visit family and friends. I decided to fly because it is an 8 hour drive (a bit long for my energy level) and I have tons of frequent flyer miles on Southwest. I finished a project for our friars in Assisi. They are celebrating the centennial of the stigmata of St. Francis, and they prepared a demonstration based on a document that St. Francis himself wrote right around that time. It is a Praise of the Most High God on one side of a piece of parchment and a blessing for one of the friars on the other. I had my fourth immunotherapy on Monday. Eight more to go. This does not affect me as much as the chemo and radiation, but there are still some small side-effects (sleep, digestion, etc.). I finished some reading and listening: William Wallace by History Nerds This is the story of the famous Scottish hero who was portrayed in the film Braveheart by Mel Gibson. Admittedly, there are gaps in information given to the lack of documents in this era (which tended to be produced by monasteries, and also by the victors in the various battles). The Persian Invasion of Greece by Arthur Keaveney This is an overview of the relationship between Greece and Persia, between the West and the East over centuries from the golden age of Greece to the time of Alexander the Great. While not exhaustive, the book is well done and gives a very good outline of the various events. Sea Monsters: A History of Creatures from the Haunted Deep in Legend and Lore by Charles River Editors This is a short overview of many of the accounts of sightings of sea creatures. Most of the book is first hand accounts which tend to be repetitive and not all that informative. The author does speak a bit about scientific theories of what is being seen, but that part of the treatment is relatively light.+ The Incas: Inside an American Empire by Terence D’Altroy This is a tremendous course from Modern Scholar on the Inca people. The professor presents an overview of their history, a treatment of their religious beliefs, a sociological presentation on their culture, a study of their architecture, agriculture, etc. This is a topic of which I knew relatively little, and I feel fully rewarded in having listened to this course. Seven Skeletons by Lydia Payne This is the account of various archeological finds of human skeletons and how they influenced the public’s attitude toward archaeology and evolution. These include Lucy, Peking Man, Hobbit, etc. The account is presented in a light manner to the scientific element of the account is not overwhelming. The Napoleonic Wars by History Nerds This is just a short outline of the rise and fall of Napoleon and the various alliances he formed and battles he fought. The account recognizes his military genius, but also his cruel indifference to the sufferings of the people who were victims to his overwhelming ambition and pride. Pilgrims and Puritans 1620-1676 by Christopher and James Lawrence Collier This is an account of the arrival of the Pilgrims (religious exiles from England) and the Puritans (a group more Calvinistic in their approach of state and religion). They wanted to build a heavenly Jerusalem on the earth. Some of what they did was laudatory, some of it not so much. They were incredibly judgmental and cruel to religious dissidents (which is odd considering that they, themselves, were fleeing religious persecution). They did not always have a good relationship with native Americans. Blessed Fr. Solanus Casey: An Inspiration for Our Faith by Dan Crosby This is a learn25 course on the life of Blessed Solanus Casey, a Capuchin from the mid-west who was beloved by the people whom he served. He was famous for being willing to listen to anyone’s problems and offer spiritual advise, he helped to feed the poor, and he was responsible for many, many miraculous events throughout his life. Living History: Experiencing Great Events of the Ancient World by Robert Garland This is a Teaching Company course on individual events in ancient history from various nations around the world. The professor is entertaining, and the 24 lessons seemed to be too little given the talent of story telling that Garland has. Lotharingia by Simon Winder This is an interesting book that is difficult to classify. It deals with the portion of Europe that makes up Eastern France and Western Germany along with the territories in between. It is part travelogue, part history book, part a reader on the local cultures in this area. This is one of three volumes written in a similar genre (the others being Danubia and Germania). I enjoyed the book, even in the author’s ramblings which at times wandered here and there. C.S. Lewis: Christology and Cosmology by David Fagerberg This Learn25 course goes through the various writings of C.S. Lewis, especially his Narnia volumes, and describes the Christology contained therein. I cannot say that I am that interested in reading the Narnia cycle, but this short course provided me with the information I need to know what it is all about. The professor is extremely well informed about Lewis’ writings, and about their deeper theological significance. The Louvre by Charles River Editors This is a short history of the famous Parisian Museum. It began as a royal palace, but over the years evolved into a center for the collection of artworks of the royal family, and then as a museum open to all. The account speaks of its various collections of sculpture, paintings and prints and other documents. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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