Monthly Archives: January 2012

January 31: Don Bosco

Don Bosco (also called Giovanni or John Bosco) was a Italian priest in the mid 19th century, known for his love of children. He pioneered the “Preventive System of Education,” saying that children grow and learn best when they are loved and know that they are loved. He taught reason, religion, and kindness, frequently by using music and games.

Sounds like a good idea to me!

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

3 John 1:4

 

 

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January 30: Escape Day

No, you don’t need a disguise, a spy car, or rocket boosters. January 30 is the day to step back from your problems and relax, before facing them with a fresh eye tomorrow. A vacation at the beach would be great, but I doubt that’s possible for any of us. Instead, I intend to take some time at the piano this evening, playing old, familiar songs, before settling down to watch a relaxing movie with my husband. Happy Escape Day!

We wait in hope for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD,
even as we put our hope in you.

Psalm 33:20-22

January 29: Feast Day of St. Juniper

St. Juniper (aka Fra Ginepro), one of the original Franciscan monks in the thirteenth century, is known as a “jester of the Lord.” Apparently his love for God and people caused him to do some rather ridiculous things, such as giving away all of his clothing, but his enthusiasm was so infectious that everyone forgave him.

The most famous story is recorded in chapter one of Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi:

A sick man asked Juniper for a pig’s foot to eat. Juniper, eager to please, ran to the forest, found a pig, cut off the foot and cooked it for the invalid. The pig’s owner found out and was (justifiably) furious. St. Francis sent Juniper to apologize.

Juniper couldn’t understand the problem, so he told the owner all about the sick man and how wonderful it was that he was able to find a pig’s foot for him. When the owner got even angrier, Juniper decided that the man hadn’t understood what had happened, so he told the story again. Juniper obviously felt that the owner would be grateful that his pig had been used for such a good purpose as soon as he understood.

At some point, the owner became overwhelmed by Juniper’s enthusiasm and fell at his feet, confessing his sins. Then he took the rest of the pig and gave it away to the needy. 

I suspect St. Francis and the other monks were rather amazed by the man’s change in heart.

Generally, I believe Christians are called to practice discernment as well as charity, but sometimes I’m afraid we let fear – fear of tomorrow, fear of how others will see it, and fear of the unknown – prevent us from doing all the good we could. Let’s all celebrate the feast of St. Juniper by doing something good even if it’s not entirely logical.

Luke 12:32-34

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

January 28: Thomas Aquinas

Thomas Aquinas was a thirteenth century Italian nobleman who defied his family and become a Dominican priest. He is best known for his in depth theological writings, particularly Summa Theologica. 

In today’s world, it seems to me that feelings often supersede logic. I believe we would do well to practice thoughtfulness on the feast day of one of the church’s great thinkers.

 

“A simple man believes anything, 
   but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.”

Proverbs 14:15

January 27: International Holocaust Remembrance Day

On January 27, 1945, Auschwitz was liberated.

In 2005, the United Nations passed a resolution naming this International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

We all know what happened. I encourage you to take a momentto look up the facts, to remember, and to take the steps to make certain: “Never Again.”

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

Psalm 42:11

January 26 – Feast for Timothy and Titus

Catholics, Lutherans and Episcopalians set aside January 26 to celebrate Timothy and Titus (The Eastern Orthodox celebrate on January 24).

Rembrandt's painting of Timothy as a young child with his grandmother Lois

Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus are full of instructions and encouragement for the young preacher. Both men were relatively young when Paul wrote to them, yet they were given the job of appointing elders and strengthening a young congregation.

As the wife of a 25 year old preacher, their story reminds me to do my best, no matter my age, experience, or lack thereof:

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

1 Timothy 4:12

January 25*: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Part 2

Peter's Confession

Today, January 25, is the last day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. It began January 18 on the Feast of the Confession of St. Peter (see that post here) and continued for eight days to the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul (yes, it’s actually an “octave,” not a week).

Even if you haven’t been keeping up with this all a week, please take a moment today to pray for the unity of believers.

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Paul Before Agrippa

Ephesians 4:3-6