Asterix in Spain – Book 14

Asterix in Spain – Book 14

Asterix in Spain (French: Astérix en Hispanie, “Asterix in Hispania”) is the fourteenth volume of the Asterix comic book series, by René Goscinny (stories) and Albert Uderzo (illustrations). It was originally serialized in Pilote magazine, issues 498–519, in 1969, and translated into English in 1971.

Upon learning that a village of Iberian resistance fighters have refused Roman rule, Julius Caesar and his Romans kidnap Chief Huevos Y Bacon’s son Pepe and send him to Gaul as a hostage, where Asterix and Obelix defeat Pepe’s escort and shelter him in their village. When Pepe’s mischief (and his enjoyment of the bard Cacofonix’s music and singing) frustrates the Gauls, Asterix and Obelix are assigned to take him home. Accordingly, Asterix, Obelix, Pepe and Dogmatix travel to Iberia, where Spurius Brontosaurus (the leader of Pepe’s Roman escort), having seen them surreptitiously, accompanies them in disguise.

When Brontosaurus sees Asterix and Obelix overcome some bandits, he plans to steal the magic potion that increases Asterix’s strength; but is caught red-handed by Asterix and in the subsequent chase both are arrested by Roman legionaries. In the circus of Hispalis, they enact the story’s ‘myth’ of bullfighting, wherein Asterix, having seized a red cloak belonging to a high-ranked Roman spectator, is repeatedly charged by an aurochs, which he ultimately tricks into knocking itself senseless. With his victory, Asterix is released and Spurius Brontosaurus, discharged from the army, gladly decides to make his living as a bullfighter.

Obelix has meanwhile brought Pepe back to his village, which is besieged by the Romans. In his eagerness to be re-united with Asterix, Obelix scatters the Roman lines and the commanding officer determines to maintain a stalemate similar to that surrounding Asterix and Obelix’s village. The protagonists then say a tearful goodbye to Pepe and the Iberians and return to Gaul for their victory banquet, where Obelix gives a demonstration of Spanish dancing and singing, to the annoyance of blacksmith Fulliautomatix (the latter muttering “A fish, a fish, my kingdom for a fish!”) and the delight of Cacofonix.

Next book in the series: Asterix and the Roman Agent

St Camillus de Lellis – July 14

St Camillus de Lellis – July 14

Humanly speaking, Camillus was not a likely candidate for sainthood. His mother died when he was a child, his father neglected him, and he grew up with an excessive love for gambling. At 17, he was afflicted with a disease of his leg that remained with him for life. In Rome he entered the San Giacomo Hospital for Incurables as both patient and servant, but was dismissed for quarrelsomeness after nine months. He served in the Venetian army for three years.

Then in the winter of 1574, when he was 24, Camillus gambled away everything he had—savings, weapons, literally down to his shirt. He accepted work at the Capuchin friary at Manfredonia, and was one day so moved by a sermon of the superior that he began a conversion that changed his life. He entered the Capuchin novitiate, but was dismissed because of the apparently incurable sore on his leg. After another stint of service at San Giacomo, he came back to the Capuchins, only to be dismissed again, for the same reason.

Again, back at San Giacomo, his dedication was rewarded by his being made superintendent. Camillus devoted the rest of his life to the care of the sick. Along with Saint John of God he has been named patron of hospitals, nurses, and the sick. With the advice of his friend Saint Philip Neri, he studied for the priesthood and was ordained at the age of 34. Contrary to the advice of his friend, Camillus left San Giacomo and founded a congregation of his own. As superior, he devoted much of his own time to the care of the sick.

Charity was his first concern, but the physical aspects of the hospital also received his diligent attention. Camillus insisted on cleanliness and the technical competence of those who served the sick. The members of his community bound themselves to serve prisoners and persons infected by the plague as well as those dying in private homes. Some of his men were with troops fighting in Hungary and Croatia in 1595, forming the first recorded military field ambulance. In Naples, he and his men went onto the galleys that had plague and were not allowed to land. He discovered that there were people being buried alive, and ordered his brothers to continue the prayers for the dying 15 minutes after apparent death.

Camillus himself suffered the disease of his leg through his life. In his last illness, he left his own bed to see if other patients in the hospital needed help.

Reflection

Take heed, be quiet, do not fear. Isaiah 7:4

Prophet Isaiah would encourage us to find tranquillity by trying to lessen our fears. Fear can make our problems seem bigger than they actually are. Our faith and prayer enable us to combat fear and help us find serenity. At Mass, we offer the sign of peace to only a few people, but it is intended to be a prayerful hope for all our sisters and brothers. It is a great blessing to live with peace of mind.