What Br. Juniper and St. Thomas Aquinas teach us about intellectual disability
I’m blogging at Accepting the Gift this month for the back-to-back feasts of Juniper and Aquinas!
The best beloved picture book in our house is a hard-to-find gem called Brother Juniper by Diane Gibfried, one I stumbled across on a shelf at Goodwill over a decade ago. I’d never heard of this Servant of God, but I grabbed it anyway because it prominently featured Franciscan friars.
This book never, never gets old. My children (of all ages) love to hear it, and I love to read it. The climax of the charming story, when Brother Juniper is found “standing naked in an empty hole,” never fails to elicit glee and giggles.
Why is he standing there? The reason — the very thing that has made Brother Juniper a Servant of God, endlessly frustrated his fellow brothers, and caused his spiritual father St. Francis to remark, “I wish I had a whole forest of these Junipers” — is his generosity.
Juniper’s is a generosity that springs directly from love, uncomplicated by overthinking.