Servant of God Brother Juniper
"Would to God, my brothers, I had a whole forest of such Junipers," said Francis of this holy friar. Several stories about Juniper in the Little Flowers of St. Francis illustrate his exasperating generosity. Once Juniper was taking care of a sick man who had a craving to eat pig's feet. This helpful friar went to a nearby field, captured a pig and cut off one foot, and then served this meal to the sick man. The owner of the pig was furious and immediately went to Juniper's superior. When Juniper saw his mistake, he apologized profusely. He also ended up talking this angry man into donating the rest of the pig to the friars! Another time Juniper had been commanded to quit giving part of his clothing to the half-naked people he met on the road. Desiring to obey his superior, Juniper once told a man in need that he couldn't give the man his tunic, but he wouldn't prevent the man from taking it either. In time, the friars learned not to leave anything lying around, for Juniper would probably give it away. He died in 1258 and is buried at Ara Coeli Church in Rome.
"Would to God, my brothers, I had a whole forest of such Junipers," said Francis of this holy friar.
Several stories about Juniper in the Little Flowers of St. Francis illustrate his exasperating generosity. Once Juniper was taking care of a sick man who had a craving to eat pig's feet. This helpful friar went to a nearby field, captured a pig and cut off one foot, and then served this meal to the sick man. The owner of the pig was furious and immediately went to Juniper's superior. When Juniper saw his mistake, he apologized profusely. He also ended up talking this angry man into donating the rest of the pig to the friars!
Another time Juniper had been commanded to quit giving part of his clothing to the half-naked people he met on the road. Desiring to obey his superior, Juniper once told a man in need that he couldn't give the man his tunic, but he wouldn't prevent the man from taking it either. In time, the friars learned not to leave anything lying around, for Juniper would probably give it away.
He died in 1258 and is buried at Ara Coeli Church in Rome.
What can we make of Juniper? He certainly seems to be the first of many Franciscan "characters." No doubt some of the stories about him have improved considerably in the retelling. Although the stories about Juniper may seem a little quaint, his virtues were not. He was humble because he knew the truth about God, himself and others. He was patient because he was willing to suffer ("patience" comes from patior meaning "to suffer") in his following of Jesus.
It is said that St. Francis once described the perfect friar by citing "the patience of Brother Juniper, who attained the state of perfect patience because he kept the truth of his low estate constantly in mind, whose supreme desire was to follow Christ on the way of the cross" (Mirror of Perfection, #85).
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
I pause for a moment and think of the love and the grace that God showers on me, creating me in his image and likeness, making me his temple....
Freedom Everything has the potential to draw forth from me a fuller love and life. I remind myself that I am in the presence of the Lord.
Everything has the potential to draw forth from me a fuller love and life.
I remind myself that I am in the presence of the Lord.
Jesus, You always welcomed little children when you walked on this earth. Teach me to have a childlike trust in you. To live in the knowledge that You will never abandon me.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
Meditation: Mark 4:21-25
3rd Week in Ordinary Time
Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear. (Mark 4:23)
Pay attention! Maybe that would be a good way to understand Jesus when he tells his disciples, "Take care what you hear" (Mark 4:24). It's simply in human nature to lose focus from time to time. Even the Twelve needed to be reminded to tune in to what's going on when Jesus speaks. After all, this isn't the only time they have failed to process his words properly! At one moment they will misinterpret wildly; at another they hear only what they want to hear; at another they are just too distracted by fears and temptations to grasp the revolutionary, life-giving words he is speaking.
If you ever identify with the first disciples' struggles, it may be helpful to examine how you are hearing the Lord. Remember that you don't have to feel like a failure if you aren't audibly hearing Jesus' voice every minute of every day! His voice rings out as strong as ever, but it's on a different frequency than the voices of the people around us. That means it requires a special "receiver" to pick it up and understand it. Once you are tuned in to the right frequency, however, you'll find that God is far from silent. He's always got something to say!
The best way to tune in to this spiritual frequency, of course, is through prayer. Like any relationship, spending time together is key. This is why we are always urging our readers to set time aside each day to listen to the Lord.
Even if you are in a period now where your prayer feels sluggish or coldly mechanical, keep at it! You may discover that there is some "static" blocking God's voice: unrepented sin, fear or anxiety, wounds from an old relationship, or preoccupation with worldly issues. If you stay faithful, God will help clear away the static and break through
Don't ever get discouraged if you're having a hard time hearing the Lord. Remember that everyone "has ears to hear" (Mark 4:23). It's how God designed us. Give him time. Give yourself time, and you'll find the right frequency!
"Lord, help me to listen closely to you, seeing and hearing you in the various ways you are revealing yourself today."
Lord, this is the people that long's to see your face. We should not stay away from the Church, as is the custom of some, but encourage one another to unite in Jesus, and all the more as we grow older. No one hides the light in the house, much less should we hide Jesus in our lives to the world. Priests, wear your collar, you may feel persecuted, but the world needs to see the hope of Christ. Mothers, wear Christ in your hands, because you are passing on the love of Christ to the next generation. Men, bear the burden of labor for God, take on the cross of Love. Sounds like prophecy? Perhaps it is. And it is the truth, because we would not lose our time seeking lies right? But many seek lies unknowingly.
The world is in darkness if it is living under the principality of a ruler of lies. But we who are not of this world are the light of the world, us who are baptized children of God, baptized as Jesus commanded in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. With water, cleansed, and cleansed again through the priest especially in the reconciliation Sacrament. And so one implores to stay with the "assembly" the body of Christ, the Holy Church, so as to remain with the truth, that is, the light. "I am waiting for you" says our Lord. Every day we grow older is a day we should grow stronger in faith, more in love with God, and become a light that is more powerful than the day before. The day I was taken from this world, I guess you could call it a vision, but to me it was not, because the experience was not like any other in the world; praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament with a group of men, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, I suddenly found myself in a realm, at the foot of the cross, at the side of Jesus, and it was dark, and He was breathing His last, and I knew without being able to see His face, my heart knew that was My Father, Our Heavenly Father, on that cross, in disbelief, I looked to those around, but could not see human figures but spots of light, some brighter than others...some not even there. In a gist, I've explained to you the reason I live for Him more than before. Because the person next to me was shaking me to "snap out of it " I guess, and when I opened my eyes back in the world, I found out that I had been crying alot, my face was soaked in tears and I didn't even know my body was experiencing it. I say this all for one reason...for your light to burn bright, brighter than ever before. Because I know how hard it is to believe some guy's daydream, or this other person's testimony, and I could tell you about miracle after miracle, after miracle I have had the honor of seeing, but it would do you no good, and so only one thing remains to do...be the Body of Christ, be OF the body of Christ and actually be the Body Of Christ. Edgar Cayce said once "For until ye become as a savior, as a help to some soul that has lost hope, lost its way, ye do not fully comprehend the God within, the God without." And we can take a cue from fictional super heros, when they save someone and then disappear, such is Christ, He appears and disappears to our earthly eyes.
Yesterday in our co-worker bible study, a question came up on the Catholicism series "how can one love the enemy better?" I'm paraphrasing (I've slept since then, LOL), and a brother said "we can pray for them". Another said "we can give without expecting in return. I chimed in and said, "should we really be praying for "THEM", or should we praying for ourselves to love them? Because one time I was leading a group of adults and for homework they were to forgive someone, and when we joined the following week, a lady in the group was upset because she told another she had forgiven them and the other said "I didn't offend you", and so she was expecting an apology in return". My oh my how we need more prayer...than "THEM". And so, the light needs to burn brighter, Christ needs to live more, and our God our Savior shows the way...to death, so that we may have life. Ours is an encounter that awaits in the assembly and in the home, the Temple and of the temple. Where what God gives we are to give. He gives forgivness, shows mercy, and so we are to do the same. He showers with grace and love and so are we to spread as seed everywhere and to any one without discrimination or prejudice, especially spiritual, where we believe some deserve and some do not. For as long as the spark of life exists in us...so does God