I’ve been thinking about the “Scandal” lately. I believe that the Holy Father is right when he says that wounds have been inflicted on the Church. Unfortunately, some of them have been self-inflicted.

But wounds heal, and we have a physician called Christ.

My wife and I attend Mass at the Franciscan Monastery here in DC. The gardens around the monastery are extensive and splendid. Against the south facing wall of the little chapel in the garden, a replica of the Portiuncula near Assisi, which St. Francis restored with his own hands, is a spreading juniper tree. Is it a coincidence that one of Francis’ original followers was named Brother Juniper?

The juniper tree in the monastery was damaged by the heavy snow of this past winter. But it will grow again.


A Juniper tree
Green-bright, blue berries,
The warm south wall
The gray stone chapel

St. Francis come
Stand in the sun
With her and me
And the Juniper tree

See what price
Has fixed the cross
Of sorrowed Christ
The five wounds lost

Above the altar’s
That was before
Adored and blessed

Faithful green
And supple limb
The growing one
Proposes Him

Tree of shy
And stubborn will
And it replies
Beloved, be still