Servant of God Brother Juniper
"Would to God, my brothers, I had a whole forest of such Junipers," said Francis of this holy friar.
We don't know much about Juniper before he joined the friars in 1210. Francis sent him to establish "places" for the friars in Gualdo Tadino and Viterbo. When St. Clare was dying, Juniper consoled her. He was devoted to the passion of Jesus and was known for his simplicity.
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).
Daily Prayer - 2016-01-29
Lord, you are always there
I will ask God's help,
How do I find myself today?
The Word of God
Reading 1 2 Sm 11:1-4a, 5-10a, 13-17
At the turn of the year, when kings go out on campaign,
Responsorial Psalm PS 51:3-4, 5-6a, 6bcd-7, 10-11
R. (see 3a) Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Alleluia See Mt 11:25
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mk 4:26-34
Jesus said to the crowds:
Some thoughts on today's scripture
Conversation requires talking and listening.
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
3rd Week in Ordinary Time
Scatter seed on the land. (Mark 4:26)
Have you ever planted seeds from a packet and sat back to see what would happen? With very little attention—just a little water and some sunshine—you soon see little sprouts popping up through the soil. It's like watching a miracle!
This is similar to what the sower in today's parable does. His method may not be the best in terms of growing a food crop, but it does illustrate an approach to evangelization that probably feels more natural to us.
Sometimes, when we feel the Spirit nudging us to reach out to someone, we can overthink it: "What will I say? What will I do? What if he asks a question I can't answer?" But that wouldn't be the situation if we were to sow the seeds of the gospel as liberally as this farmer. Perhaps there are ways to reach out and bless people without it feeling forced or uncomfortable.
Start by thinking about your personality. Are you an encourager? Or maybe you find little ways to help a co-worker who always seems overworked. Or you might love spending time with people, or you like to bring people little gifts that make them happy: a cup of coffee on a cold morning or a plate of cookies for an afternoon snack at the office.
Guess what? These are all "seeds" you can sow. They are much more than kind gestures; they are signs that you are actively going out of your way to bless the people around you.
Now, imagine that a prayer is behind every seed, a prayer that your gesture will help draw that person a little closer to Christ. What power could be released!
As you go about your day, don't worry about how to talk to someone about your faith. Just live your life with a focus on the people around you. That's the secret to evangelization. Your witness may come through words, but it may come through consistently loving and caring for someone who needs it. Don't be discouraged if you don't see fruit right away. Today's parable reassures us that the seeds are growing and sprouting, almost of their own accord. Your job is just to scatter as many of them as you can.
"Lord, teach me to be a scatterer of seeds that will draw people to you!"
2 Samuel 11:1-10, 13-17
He Explained Everything
The 5minutos said today:
"The stoplight turned yellow when he was going to cross in his car, he made the correct: he stopped at the line for pedestrians. The woman behind him was furious. She heard someone knock on her side window. It was a police officer looking at her seriously. The official ordered her to get out of her car with her hands up and they arrested her. After a couple of hours, the police came to her cell and opened the door: "Ma'm, I'm sorry there's been a mistake" explained the police. "I ordred you to get off while I found you honking strongly wanting to run over the car in front of you, cursing, yelling and saying profanities. While I observed, I realized that your rearview mirror hung a rosary, on your bumper a sticker that said "What Would Jesus Do?" and your plate border says "Choose Life" and another sticker says "Follow me Sunday to Church" and finally, a Christian fish symbol. How can you hope then, I supposed that the car was stolen. The Kingdom, the faith, is lived among the simple things of our daily lives, where we "demonstrate" how our faith goes on growing and giving fruits."
It is a day of reckoning. Today, the truth is shown, King David sins, even to the point of ordering a murder. Funny how we try to cover up our dirty secrets, only to be exposed in truth forever! Is it right and just? Is it right that even if you don't confess, the truth comes out anyways? This week, I learned that one of our field workers had a mishap at work and they never told anyone, as much as I pleaded monthly at meeting for them to report (confess) near misses and such, they choose to hide instead, perhaps out of fear, perhaps to not lose their pride, perhaps to seem....perfect. The look on his face when I approached him about it was a stone cold bucket of water..."who told on me? It was so and so wasn't it?". This is the kind of reaction I usually get. It's never an immediate "I'm sorry", it's always a pointing of finger and trying to wash down and play down the event as if no big deal. It was actually worse on him than if he had fessed up. He was sent home for the day. I said, "had you let me know immediately, we could've worked things out, investigated thoroughly and perhaps avoid another accident. But once you hide, you want to hide again, and again, until the Lord asks "where are you?" Our actions have ramifications. For the good, or worse.
We pray today "Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned. Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense. Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me." I'm remembering a spanish song that praises God that goes:
Que seria de mi si no me hubieras alcanzado - What would have been of me, had You not reached me?
Donde estaria hoy si no me hubieras perdonado - Where would I be today, had You not forgiven me?
Tendria un vacio en mi corazon vagaria sin rumbo sin direccion- I'd have an empty void in my heart, I'd wonder without direction.
Si no fuera por tu gracia y por tu amor- If it weren't for your grace, and your Love
Si no fuera por tu gracia y por tu amor- If it weren't for your grace, and Love
Seria como un pajaro herido que se muere en el suelo - "I'd be like a wounded bird that dies on the ground"
Seria como un ciervo que brama por agua en un desierto- "I'd be like a deer that moans for water in the desert"
Si no fuera por tu gracia y por tu amor- If it weren't for you grace and your Love
Si no fuera por tu gracia y por tu amor.- If it were not or Your grace and Your love.
I recorded that song, but I need to sing it more. It's very meditative, and very inspiring. Why? What would we be without God's mercy? Where would we be? This is the greatest gift. Mercy was hung on the cross. Mercy was set on a lampstand. Mercy sprouted from there, a tree stump, to give new life where life was not thought possible. (by the way the young field worker is still working today, that day there was no work).
Our Lord compares the Kingdom of Heaven to seeds today. I read earlier this week that the Lord sows sparingly, just throws seeds everywhere no matter where it lands, He just throws seeds and sows seeds everywhere imaginable. For us, the message is to do the same. Scatter seeds of virtue: The four cardinal virtues, from ancient Greek philosophy, are prudence, justice, temperance (meaning restriction or restraint), and courage (or fortitude). The three theological virtues, from the letters of Saint Paul of Tarsus, are faith, hope, and charity (or love). These are the seeds that are given to a faithful soul. The seeds of evil are many, but its favorite? Procrastination. Putting things off for later. That is the favorite of the devil. As if to say "wait up on prudence, temperance, courage, love, hope and faith." The time though is today and now. The time to surrender to God is now and not tomorrow, and yesterday is no more. This is the living, this is the opportunity. "Be upfront about things" I would tell people in meetings yesterday. My problem perhaps is of being too blunt and not have the right words to ease the truth into your life. But the aim is to get a reaction. A reaction of life. A reaction that grows from the ground. A reaction of a small fertilized seed that storms out of the ground and grows to Heaven. This is the reaction God seeks in our lives, to grow to Him, strong in virtues and giving the same seeds. It only comes from the small, the smallest of seeds, those who are least, the meek that shall inherit the earth. This is the Kingdom of God...
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