Jan 13, 2010

Juniper, keep clownin' around.

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This month (Jan.29) we celebrate my favorite Franciscan's feast day - The Servant of God Brother Juniper. Murray Bodo in "Francis: The Journey and the Dream" devotes a chapter to this "guileless little clown of God." I have always had the greatest respect for the least pious among us. "Piety, after all, was something mainly external and goodness was in the heart." During the many years of my own slavery to paganism, merely external piety was disdained. Even sinning was done with a certain enthusiasm, or do I dare say, celebration of life. Yes paganism celebrates life, not all life, but only our own selfish lives.
Once you realize this pagan dogma leads ultimately to death, you come to know why Jesus hung out with sinners and publicans! Brother Juniper was anything but pious in this sense but he managed to joke, laugh, and take life much less seriously. Francis, like all radical, holy reformers, sometimes took himself too seriously. He loved Juniper because there was no duplicity in Juniper; what you see is what you get, and what you got was an extremely joyous celebration of life. Br. Juniper helped keep this huge saint very small. JMJ. Mick