aA
aA
aA
aA
aA
aA
Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi
« Prev Chapter V. How Brother Juniper took certain… Next »

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.


« Prev Chapter V. How Brother Juniper took certain… Next »

Advertisements


| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |