Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Juniper in Snow

Shoveling the chapel steps this morning I noticed the Christmas evergreens I'd attached to the banister and how lovely the cypress, pine cones and juniper berries looked touched with snow. There's a very sweet apocryphal (extra-biblical) story told of the Holy Family being hidden by a juniper tree while in their flight to Egypt, Herod's soldiers in hot pursuit. 

Herod's soldiers aren't hunting me down today (though in not a few places Christians have murderous enemies) but I might see the juniper berries and hear the apocryphal story, asking in my prayer to be protected from whatever might do me spiritual harm. 

Oh Jesus,
with Mary and Joseph,
concealed neath
juniper branches, 
protect me from a calloused,
hardened heart,
from harshness
and a petty spirit,
and bring me in safety
to my own inner Egypt ~
that place of well-being,
of joy and light.


  1. I don't know how you find such spiritual meaning in the simplest observations. Your words are truly inspirational.

    1. I think the Magi have a lesson for us: keep searching, keep looking, "Star of wonder..." keep wondering. Blessed Epiphany Feast!

  2. Everything looks pretty with a dusting of snow. The pure white blanket covers the dirt and imperfection. A symbol of purity as well as protection.

  3. You are so right Father, let us keep searching and wondering.

  4. Protect me from the inside out. My inner thoughts keep me from feeling settled and prevent me from being the mother, sister, wife and friend that I want to be.

  5. That's a good way of putting it: "from the inside out." I understand. But I also think that often we make a mistake in handling these kinds of thoughts: resentful thoughts, petty thoughts of others, ungenerous or blaming thoughts. Rather than saying, "Oh, I can't think that way, I have to stop it, what's the matter with me..." we might do better to find a way to cultivate better thoughts - more "turned-to-the-light thoughts." Just this morning I came across a gentle method that might help us in this regard. I'll pass it on this week. You and I are not the only ones who would be grateful for the spiritual help. Thanks for writing.