LITTLE FLOWERS OF ST. FRANCIS

PART TWO - HERE BEGINNETH THE LIFE OF BROTHER JUNIPER

Index


CHAPTER I

HOW BROTHER JUNIPER CUT OFF THE FOOT OF A PIG TO GIVE IT TO A SICK BROTHER

One of the most chosen disciples and first companions of St Francis was Brother Juniper, a man of profound humility and of great fervour and charity, of whom St Francis once said, when speaking of him to some of his companions: "He would be a good Friar Minor who had overcome the world as perfectly as Brother Juniper." Once when he was visiting a sick brother at St Mary of the Angels, he said to him, as if all on fire with the charity of God: "Can I do thee any service?" And the sick man answered: "Thou wouldst give me great consolation if thou couldst get me a pig's foot to eat." Brother Juniper answered immediately: "Leave it to me; thou shalt have one at once." So he went and took a knife from the kitchen, and in fervour of spirit went into the forest, where many swine were feeding, and having caught one, he cut off one of its feet and ran off with it, leaving the swine with its foot cut off; and coming back to the convent, he carefully washed the foot, and diligently prepared and cooked it. Then he brought it with great charity to the sick man, who ate it with avidity; and Brother Juniper was filled with joy and consolation, and related the history of his assault upon the swine for his diversion. Meanwhile, the swineherd who had seen the brother cut off the foot, went and told the tale in order, and with great bitterness, to his lord, who, being informed of the fact, came to the convent and abused the friars, calling them hypocrites, deceiver, robbers, and evil men. "Why," said he, "have you cut off the foot of my swine?" At the noise which he made, St Francis and all the friars came together, and with all humility made excuses for their brother, and, as ignorant of the fact, promised, in order to appease the angry man, to make amends for the wrong which had been done to him. But he was not to be appeased, and left St Francis with many threats and reproaches, repeating over and over again that they had maliciously cut the foot off his swine, refusing to accept any excuse or promise of repayment; and so departed in great wrath. And as all the other friars wondered: "Can Brother Juniper indeed have done this through indiscreet zeal?" So he sent for him, and asked him privately: "Hast thou cut off the foot of a swine in the forest?" To which Father Juniper answered quite joyfully, not as one who has committed a fault, but believing he had done a great act of charity: "It is true, sweet Father, that I did cut off that swine's foot; and if thou wilt listen compassionately, I will tell thee the reason. I went out of charity to visit the brother who is sick." And so he related the matter in order, adding: "I tell thee, dear father, that this foot did the sick brother so much good, that if I had cut off the feet of a hundred swine instead of one, I verily believe that God would have been pleased therewith." To whom St Francis, in great zeal for justice, and in much bitterness of heart, made answer: "O Brother Juniper, wherefore hast thou given this great scandal? Not without reason doth this man complain, and thus rage against us; perhaps even now he is going about the city spreading this evil report of us, and with good cause. Therefore I command thee by holy obedience, that thou go after him until thou find him, and cast thyself prostrate before him, confessing thy fault, and promising to make such full satisfaction that he shall have no more reason to complain of us, for this is indeed a most grievous offence." At these words Brother Juniper was much amazed, wondering that any one should have been angered at so charitable an action, for all temporal things appeared to him of no value, save in so far as they could be charitably applied to the service of our neighbour. So he made answer: "Doubt not, Father, but that I shall soon content and satisfy him. And why should there be all this disturbance, seeing that the swine was rather God's than his, and that it furnished the means for an act of charity?" And so he went his way, and coming to the man, who was still chafing and past all patience, he told him for what reason he had cut off the pig's foot, and all with such fervour, exultation and joy, as if he were telling him of some great benefit he had done him which deserved to be highly rewarded. The man grew more and more furious at his discourse, and loaded him with much abuse, calling him a fantastical fool and a wicked thief. Brother Juniper, who delighted in insults, cared nothing for all this abuse, but marvelling that any one should be wrath at what seemed to him only a matter of rejoicing, he thought he had not made himself well understood, and so repeated the story all over again, and then flung himself on the man's neck and embraced him, telling him that all had been done out of charity, and inciting and begging him for the same motive to give the rest of the swine also; and all this with so much charity, simplicity, and humility, that the man's heart was changed within him, and he threw himself at Brothers Juniper's feet, acknowledging with many tears the injuries which by word and deed he had done to him and his brethren. Then he went and killed the swine, and having cut it up, he brought it, with many tears and great devotion, to St Mary of the Angels, and gave it to those holy friars in compensation for the injury he had done them. Then St Francis, considering the simplicity and patience under adversity of this good Brother Juniper, said to his companions and those who stood by: "Would to God, my brethren, that I had a forest of such Junipers!"

CHAPTER II

AN INSTANCE OF BROTHER JUNIPER'S GREAT POWER AGAINST THE DEVIL

The devils could not endure the purity of Brother Juniper's innocence and his profound humility, as appears in the following example: A certain demoniac one day fled in an unaccustomed manner, and through devious paths, seven miles from his home. When his parents, who had followed him in great distress of mind, at last overtook him, they asked him why he had fled in this strange way. The demoniac answered: "Because that fool Juniper was coming this way. I could not endure his presence, and therefore, rather than wait his coming, I fled away through these woods." And on inquiring into the truth of these words, they found that Brother Juniper had indeed arrived at the time the devil had said. Therefore when demoniacs were brought to St Francis to be healed, if the evil spirit did not immediately depart at his command, he was wont to say: "Unless thou dost instantly leave this creature, I will bring Brother Juniper to thee." Then the devil, fearing the presence of Brother Juniper, and being unable to endure the virtue and humility of St Francis, would forthwith depart.

CHAPTER III

HOW, BY THE CONTRIVANCE OF THE DEVIL, BROTHER JUNIPER WAS CONDEMNED TO THE GALLOWS

Once upon a time the devil, desiring to terrify Brother Juniper, and to raise up scandal and tribulation against him, betook himself to a most cruel tyrant, named Nicholas, who was then at war with the city of Viterbo, and said to him: "My lord, take heed to watch your castle well, for a vile traitor will come here shortly from Viterbo to kill you and set fire to your castle. And by this sign you shall know him: he will come in the guise of a poor beggar, with his clothes all tattered and patched, and a torn hood falling on his shoulders, and he will carry with him an awl, wherewith to kill you, and a flint and steel wherewith to set fire to the castle; and if you find not my words to be true, punish me as you will." At these words Nicholas was seized with great terror, believing the speaker to be a person worthy of credit; and he commanded a strict watch to be kept, and that if such a person would present himself he should be brought before him forthwith. Presently Brother Juniper arrived alone; for, because of his great perfection, he was allowed to travel without a companion as he pleased.

On this there went to meet him certain wild young men, who began to mock him, treating him with great contempt and indignity. And Brother Juniper was no way troubled thereat, but rather incited them to ill-treat him more and more. And as they came to the castle-gate, the guards seeing him thus disfigured, with his scanty habit torn in two - for he had given half of it on the way to a begger, for the love of God, so that he had no longer the appearance of a Friar Minor - recognizing the signs given of the expected murderer, they dragged him with great fury before the tyrant Nicholas. They searched him to find whether he had any offensive weapons, and found in his sleeve an awl, which he used to mend his sandals, and also a flint and steel which he carried with him to strike a light when he abode, as he often did, in the woods or in desert places. Nicholas, seeing the signs given by the devil, commanded that a cord should be fastened round his neck, which was done with so great cruelty that it entered into the flesh. He was then most cruelly scourged; and being asked who he was, he replied: "I am a great sinner." When asked whether he wanted to betray the castle to the men of Viterbo, he answered: "I am a great traitor, and unworthy of any mercy." Being questioned whether he intended to kill the tyrant Nicholas with that awl, and to burn the castle, he replied that he should do greater things than these, should God permit him. This Nicholas then, being wholly mastered by his fury, would examine no further, but without delay condemned Brother Juniper, as a traitor and murderer, to be fastened to a horse's tail, and so dragged on the ground to the gallows, there to be forthwith hanged by the neck. And Brother Juniper made no excuse for himself, but, as one who joys to suffer for the love of God, he was full of contentment and rejoicing. So the command of the tyrant was carried into effect. Brother Juniper was tied by the feet to the horse's tail, and dragged along the ground, making no complaint, but, like a meek lamb led to the slaughter, he submitted with all humility. At this spectacle of prompt justice, all the people ran together to behold the execution of so hasty and cruel a judgment, but no one knew the culprit. Nevertheless it befell, by the will of God, that a good man, who had seen Brother Juniper taken and sentenced forthwith, ran to the house of the Friars Minor, and said: "I pray you, for the love of God, to come with me at once, for a poor man has been seized and immediately condemned and led to death. Come, that he may at least place his soul in your hands, for he seems to me a good man, and he has had no time to make his confession; even now they are leading him to the gallows, yet he seems to have no fear of death nor care of his soul. Oh, be pleased to come quickly!" Then the guardian, who was a compassionate man, went at once to provide for the salvation of this soul; and when he came to the place of execution, he could not get near for the crowd; but, as he stood watching for an opening, he heard a voice say: "Do not so, do not so, cruel men; you are hurting my legs!" And as he recognised the voice of Brother Juniper, the guardian, in fervour of spirit, forced his way through the crowd, and tearing the bandage from the face of the condemned, he saw that it was indeed Brother Juniper, who looked upon him with a cheerful and smiling countenance. Then the guardian with many tears besought the executioners and all the people for pity to wait a little space, till he should go and beseech the tyrant to have mercy on Brother Juniper. The executioners promised to wait a few moments, believing, no doubt, that he was some kinsman of the prisoner. So the devout and pious guardian went to the tyrant Nicholas, weeping bitterly, and said: "My lord, I am so filled with grief and amazement that my tongue can scarcely utter it, for it seems to me that in this our land has been committed to-day the greatest sin and the greatest evil which has been wrought from the days of our fathers even until now, and I believe that it has been done through ignorance." Nicholas heard the guardian patiently, and inquired: "What is this great sin and evil which has been committed to-day in this land?" And the guardian answered: "It is this, my lord, that you have condemned - and, as I assuredly believe, unjustly - to a most cruel punishment one of the holiest friars at this time in the Order of St Francis, to whom you profess a singular devotion." Then said Nicholas: "Now tell me, father guardian, who is he; for perhaps, knowing him not, I have committed a great fault?" "He," said the guardian, "whom you have condemned to death is Brother Juniper, the companion of St Francis." Then was the tyrant amazed, for he had heard the fame of Brother Juniper's sanctity; and, pale with fear, he hastened together with the guardian to Brother Juniper, and loosed him from the horse's tail and set him free, and in the presence of all the people he prostrated himself on the ground before Brother Juniper, and with many tears confessed his fault, and the cruelty of which he had been guilty towards that holy friar; adding: "I believe indeed that

the days of my wicked life are numbered, since I have thus without reason cruelly tortured so holy a man. For, in punishment of my evil life, God will send me in a few days an evil death, though this thing I did ignorantly." Then Brother Juniper freely forgave the tyrant Nicholas: but a few days afterwards God permitted a most cruel death to overtake him. And so Brother Juniper departed, leaving all the people greatly edified.

CHAPTER IV

HOW BROTHER JUNIPER GAVE ALL THAT HE HAD TO THE POOR FOR THE LOVE OF GOD

Brother Juniper was so full of pity and compassion for the poor, that when he saw anyone poor or naked he immediately took off his tunic, or the hood of his clock, and gave it to him. The guardian therefore laid an obedience upon him not to give away his tunic or any part of his habit. A few days afterwards, a poor half-naked man asked an alms of Brother Juniper for the love of God, who answered him with great compassion: "I have nothing which I could give thee but my tunic, and my superior has laid me under obedience not to give it, nor any part of my habit, to anyone. But if thou take it off my back I will not resist thee." He did not speak to a deaf man; for the begger forthwith stripped him of his tunic, and went off with it. When Brother Juniper returned home, and was asked what had become of his tunic, he replied: "A good man took it off my back, and went away with it." And as the virtue of compassion increased in him, he was not contented with giving his tunic, but would give books, or clocks, or whatever he could lay his hands on, to the poor. For this reason the brethren took care to leave nothing in the common rooms of the convent, because Brother Juniper gave away everything for the love of God and to the glory of his name.

CHAPTER V

HOW BROTHER JUNIPER TOOK CERTAIN LITTLE BELLS FROM THE ALTAR, AND GAVE THEM AWAY FOR THE LOVE OF GOD

One Christmas-day Brother Juniper was in deep meditation before the altar at Scesi, the which altar was right fairly and richly adorned; so, at the desire of the sacristan, Brother Juniper remained to keep guard over it while he went to his dinner. And as he was absorbed in devout meditations, a poor woman came asking an alms of him for the love of God. To whom Brother Juniper made answer: "Wait a while, and I will see if I can find anything for thee on this grand altar." Now there was upon the altar an exceedingly rich and costly frontal of cloth of gold, with silver bells of great value. "These bells," said Brother Juniper, "are a superfluity"; so he took a knife and cut them off the frontal, and gave them to the poor woman out of compassion. The sacristan, after he had eaten three or four mouthfuls, bethought him of the ways of Brother Juniper, whom he had left in charge; and began exceedingly to doubt whether, in his charitable zeal, he might not do some damage to the costly altar. As soon as the suspicion entered his head, he rose from the table, and went back to the church, to see if any of the ornaments of the altar had been removed or taken away; and when he saw that the frontal had been cut, and the little bells carried off, he was troubled and scandalised beyond measure. Brother Juniper, seeing that he was very angry, said to him: "Be not disturbed about those little bells, for I have given them to a poor woman who had great need of them, and here they were good for nothing but to make a pompous display of worldly vanity." When the sacristan had heard this, he went with all speed to seek the woman in the church, and throughout the city; but he could neither find her nor meet with anyone who had seen her. So he returned, and in great wrath took the frontal, and carried it to the general, who was at Assisi, saying: "Father general, I demand justice on Brother Juniper, who has spoilt this hanging for me, the very best I had in the sacristy. See how he has destroyed it by cutting away all the silver bells, which he says he has given to a poor woman!" And the general answered him: "It is not Brother Juniper who has done this, but thine own folly; for thou oughtest by this time to have known his ways: and I tell thee, I marvel only that he did not give away the whole frontal. Nevertheless, I will give him a sound correction for this fault." And having called the brethren together in chapter, he sent for Brother Juniper, and, in the presence of the whole community, reproved him most severely concerning the said bells; and, waxing wrathful as he spoke, he raised his voice till it became hoarse. Brother Juniper cared little or nothing for these words, for he delighted in reproaches, and rejoiced when he received a good humiliation; but his one thought in return was to find a remedy for the general's hoarseness. So when he had received his reproof, he went straight to the town for flour and butter, to make a good hasty-pudding, with which he returned when the night was far spent; then lighting a candle, he went with his hasty-pudding to the door of the general's cell and knocked. The general came to open it, and seeing him with a lighted candle and a pipkin in his hand, asked: "Who is there?" Brother Juniper answered him: "Father, when you reproved me to-day for my faults, I perceived that your voice grew hoarse, and I thought it was from over-fatigue. I considered therefore what would be the best remedy, and have had this hasty-pudding made for you; therefore I pray you eat of it, for I tell you that it will ease your throat and your chest." "What an hour of the night is this." said the general, "to come and disturb other people!" And Brother Juniper made answer: "See, it has been made for you; I pray you eat of it without more ado, for it will do you good." But the general being angry at the lateness of the hour, and at Brother Juniper's persistence, answered him roughly, bidding him go his way, for at such an hour he would not eat. Then Brother Juniper, seeing that neither persuasions nor prayers were of any avail, said: "Father, since you will not eat the pudding which was made for you, at least do this for me: hold the candle for me, and I will eat it." Then the general, being a devout and kindly man, seeing the piety and simplicity of Brother Juniper, and how he had done all this out of devotion, answered: "Well, since thou will have it so, thou and I will eat together." And so the two of them ate this hasty-pudding together, out of an importunate charity, and were refreshed by their devotion more than by the food.

CHAPTER VI

HOW BROTHER JUNIPER KEPT SILENCE FOR SIX MONTHS

Brother Juniper once determined with himself to keep silence for six months together, in this manner. The first day for love of the Eternal Father. The second for love of Jesus Christ his Son. The third for love of the Holy Ghost. The fourth in reverence to the most holy Virgin Mary; and proceeding thus, each day in honour of some saint, he passed six whole months without speaking.

CHAPTER VII

HIS REMEDY FOR TEMPTATIONS OF THE FLESH

One day as Brother Giles, Brother Simon of Assisi, Brother Ruffino, and Brother Juniper were discoursing together concerning God and the salvation of the soul, Brother Giles said to the other brethren: "How do you deal with temptations to impurity?" Brother Simon said: "I consider the vileness and turpitude of the sin till I conceive and exceeding horror of it, and so escape from the temptation." And Brother Ruffino said: "I cast myself on the ground, and with fervent prayer implore the mercy of God and of the Mother of Jesus Christ till I am freed from the temptation." And Brother Juniper answered: "When I feel the approach of a diabolical suggestion, I run at once and shut the door of my heart, and, to secure its safety, I occupy myself in holy desires and devout meditations; so that when the suggestion comes and knocks at the door of my heart, I may answer from within: `Begone; for the room is already taken, and there is no space for another guest'; and so I never suffer the thought to enter my heart; and the devil, seeing himself baffled, retires discomfited, not from me alone, but from the whole neightbourhood." Then Brother Giles made answer and said: "Brother Juniper, I hold with thee; for there is no surer way of overcoming this enemy than flight; inasmuch as he attacks us within by means of the traitor appetite, and without through our bodily senses; and so by flight alone can this masterful foe be overcome. And he who resists it in any other way, after all the toil of the conflict, rarely comes off victorious. Fly, then, from this vice, and thou shalt gain the victory."

CHAPTER VIII

HOW BROTHER JUNIPER MADE HIMSELF CONTEMPTIBLE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD

Brother Juniper, desiring to make himself despicable in the sight of men, stripped himself one day of all but his inner garment; and, making a bundle of his habit and other clothes, he entered the city of Viterbo, and went half-naked into the market place, in order to make himself a laughing stock. When he got there, the boys and young men of the place, thinking him to be out of his senses, ill-treated him in many ways, throwing stones and mud at him, and pushing him hither and thither, with many words of derision; and thus insulted and evil entreated, he abode there the greater part of the day, and then went his way to the convent.

Now when the friars saw him they were full of indignation, and chiefly because he had gone thus through the city with his bundle on his head; wherefore they reproved and threatened him sharply. One said: "Let us put him in prison." Another: "He deserves to be hanged." And others: "He cannot be too severely punished for the scandal he has given to-day in his own person, to the injury of the whole Order." And Brother Juniper, being full of joy, answered with all humility, "You say well indeed; for I deserve all these punishments, and far worse than these."

CHAPTER IX

HOW BROTHER JUNIPER, IN ORDER TO BE DESPISED, PLAYED AT SEE-SAW

As Brother Juniper was once entering Rome, the fame of his sanctity led many of the devout Romans to go out to meet him, but he, as soon as he saw this number of people coming, took it into his head to turn their devotion into sport and ridicule. So, catching sight of two children who were playing at see-saw upon two pieces of wood, he moved one of them from his place, and mounting on the plank in his stead, he began to see-saw with the other. Meanwhile the people came up and marvelled much at Brother Juniper's see-sawing. Nevertheless they saluted him with great devotion, and waited till he should have finished his play to accompany him honourably to the convent. Brother Juniper took little heed of their salutation, reverence, or patient waiting, but gave his whole attention to his see-saw. And when they had waited thus for a long time, they began to grow tired, and to say, "What folly is this?" Some few, who knew his ways, were moved to still greater devotion; but at last they all departed, leaving Brother Juniper on the see-saw. When they were gone, Brother Juniper remained full of consolation, because he saw in what contempt they held him. Then came he down from his see-saw, and entering Rome with all meekness and humility, came to the convent of the Friars Minor.

CHAPTER X

HOW BROTHER JUNIPER ONCE COOKED FOR THE BRETHREN ENOUGH TO LAST FOR A FORTNIGHT

It happened once, when Brother Juniper was in a house of the brethren, that, for some reasonable cause all the friars were obliged to go out, and Brother Juniper alone remained at home. Then the guardian said to him: "Brother Juniper, we are all going out, therefore, by the time we come back, I wish thee to prepare a little food for the refreshment of thy brethren." "Most willingly," replied Brother Juniper; "leave it to me." When all the brethren, as has been said, were gone out, Brother Juniper said to himself: "What superfluous carefulness is this, that a brother should be lost in the kitchen, and deprived of all opportunity for prayer! Of a surety, as I am now left in this charge, I will cook enough to serve the brethren, were they as many more, for a fortnight to come." So he went to the town and borrowed some large pots for cooking; then he got fresh meat and salt, chickens, eggs, and vegetables; he begged wood also, and made a great fire, upon which he set everything together to boil: the fowls in their feathers, the eggs in their shells, and the rest in like manner. Meanwhile one of the friars, to whom Brother Juniper's simplicity was well known, returned to the house; and seeing these great cauldrons on such an enormous fire, he sat down in amazement to watch with what care and diligence Brother Juniper proceeded in his cookery. And having observed him for some time to his great recreation, this friar went out of the kitchen, and told the other brethren that Brother Juniper was certainly preparing a wedding banquet. The brethren took it for a jest; but presently Brother Juniper took his cauldrons off the fire, and bade them ring the bell for dinner. Then the brethren took their places at the table, and he came into the refectory, all rubicund with his toil and with the heat of the fire, and said to the brethren: "Eat a good dinner now, and then we will go to prayer: and let no one thing of cooking for a long time to come, for I have cooked more than enough to last us all for more than a fortnight." And so saying, he set down his hotch-potch before them; but there was never a hog in the Campagna of Rome so hungry that he could have eaten it. Brother Juniper praised his way of cooking because it was so great a saving of time; and seeing that the other friars ate none of it, he said: "These fowls are good for the head; and this food will keep the body in health, so wholesome is it."; so that the brethren were all in admiration at the devotion and simplicity of Brother Juniper. But the guardian, being angry at such folly, and grieved at the waste of so much good food, reproved Brother Juniper severely. Then Brother Juniper fell on his knees before the guardian, and humbly confessed his fault to him and all the brethren saying: "I am a very wicked man. Such a one committed such a sin, for which he was condemned to lose his eyes. Such another was hanged for his crimes. But I deserve far worse for my evil deeds. And now I have wasted so much of the gifts of God and the substance of the Order." And thus lamenting he departed; nor would he come into the presence of any one of the brethren for the rest of that day. Then said the father guardian: "My dearest brethren, I would that every day this brother might spoil as much of our substance, if we had it, as he has done to-day, were it only for the edification he has given us by the simplicity and charity with which he has done this thing."

CHAPTER XI

HOW BROTHER JUNIPER WENT ONE DAY TO ASSISI FOR HIS OWN CONFUSION

Once when Brother Juniper was dwelling in the valley of Spoleto, knowing that there was to be a great solemnity at Assisi, and that many were resorting thither with great devotion, it came into his head to go there also; and you shall hear in what guise he went. He stripped himself of all but his inner garment, and thus, passing through the midst of the city of Spoleto, he came to the convent. The brethren, much displeased and scandalised, rebuked him sharply, calling him a fool, a madman, and a disgrace to the Order of St Francis, and declaring that he ought to be put in chains as a madman. And the general, who was then on the spot, calling all the friars together, gave Brother Juniper a very sharp correction in the presence of them all. And, after many words, he ended with this severe sentence: "So great and grievous is thy fault, that I know not what sufficient penance to give thee." Then, Brother Juniper, answered, as one who delighted in his own confusion: "Father, I will tell you: for penance, send me back again from this solemnity in the same garb in which I came to it."

CHAPTER XII

HOW BROTHER JUNIPER FELL INTO AN ECSTASY DURING THE CELEBRATION OF MASS

As Brother Juniper was one day hearing Mass with great devotion, he fell into an ecstasy, and so continued for a long space of time. And when he came to himself, he said with great fervour of spirit to the other friars: "Oh, my brethren, who is there in this world so noble that he would disdain to carry a basket of mud all the world over, in the hope of obtaining a house full of gold?" Then he added: "Alas, why will we not endure a little shame to obtain life eternal?"

CHAPTER XIII

OF THE SORROW WHICH BROTHER JUNIPER FELT AT THE LOSS OF HIS COMPANION BROTHER AMAZIALBENE

Brother Juniper had a companion named Amazialbene, whom he loved most tenderly, and who possessed the virtues of patience and obedience in the utmost perfection; for, when he was beaten and ill-treated on all sides, he never complained or uttered a word of remonstrance. He was often sent to places where he met with persons who treated him most cruelly, and he bore it all patiently and without the least resentment. At the command of Brother Juniper, he would laugh or weep. At last, as it pleased God to ordain, this Brother Amazialbene died, in high reputation for sanctity; and when Brother Juniper heard of his death, he felt greater sorrow thereat then he had ever experienced in this life for any earthly thing. And thus did he express in words the great bitterness of his heart, saying: "Alas, woe is me; for there is no good left me now, and all the world is darkened to me by the death of my sweet and most loving brother Amazialbene!" and he added: "Were it not that I should have no peace from the brethren, I would go to his grave and take out his head, and out of his skull I would make me two vessels; from the one I would always eat, in memory of him, for my own devotion, and from the other I would drink when I was thirsty."

CHAPTER XIV

OF THE HAND WHICH BROTHER JUNIPER SAW IN THE AIR

Brother Juniper being one day in prayer, and, it may be, proposing to himself to do great things for God, he saw a hand in the air, and heard with his bodily ears a voice, which said thus to him: "O Brother Juniper, with this hand thou canst do nothing." Then he arose immediately, and with his eyes raised to heaven, he went round the convent, repeating aloud: "True indeed, most true indeed!" and this he repeated many times.

CHAPTER XV

HOW ST FRANCIS COMMANDED BROTHER LEO TO WASH THE STONE

When St Francis was speaking with Brother Leo on Mount Alvernia, he said to him: "Brother little lamb, wash this stone with water." Then Brother Leo went forth and washed it with water. Then said St Francis, with great joy and gladness: "Wash it with wine"; and it was done. "Wash it," said St Francis again, "with oil"; and Brother Leo did so. Then said St Francis: "Brother little lamb, wash this stone with balm." And Brother Leo answered: "O sweet father, how am I to get balm in the wilderness?" Then St Francis replied: "Know, Brother little lamb, that this is the stone on which Christ once was seated when he appeared to me in this place, and therefore did I bid thee wash it four times, and no more, because Jesus Christ then promised me four singular graces for my Order. The first, that all those who shall cordially love my Order, and all the friars who shall persevere therein, shall die a good death. The second, that those who persecute this holy Religion shall be notably punished. The third, that no evil-doer, continuing in his perversity, shall be able to persevere long in this Order. The fourth, that this Religion shall endure until the day of judgment."

Index


THE FIRST ENGLISH TRANSLATION, REVISED AND EMENDED BY DOM ROGER HUDLESTON, WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY ARTHUR LIVINGSTON (THE HERITAGE PRESS, NEW YORK).

This text is in the public domain.

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