Once upon a time there was a mean old, cantankerous
saint who liked lions and always dreamed of projecting
an image of one onto a church - instead he contented
himself with telling off other prelates and fighting
with curial officials while talking all the time about
mercy and pulling thorns out of kitty paws. He wrote letters
and said whatever he thought and people thought he
was nuts. One day, the little Jesus came along with
a sore foot and asked him to give him something.
The mean old Cardinal gave him everything he had
and the Divine Child then said,
"Give me your sins you old fool, I'm going to
Jerusalem to dispose of them ..."
or something like that.
Screen Shot: Francis explains God's mercy, tells of saint with lots of penances who God asked to 'give him his sins'?
I knew I had heard a similar story. Was it from the Desert Fathers?
Turns out it was - kind of. It was St. Jerome. Here is the story - a lovely Christmas story at that ...
After many years spent in Jerusalem translating the Word of God, Jerome finished his grand project just days before Christmas. To celebrate his accomplishment, Jerome decided to spend Christmas Eve in nearby Bethlehem, in one of the many grottoes that dot the countryside. According to the ancient account, sometime around midnight Jesus appeared to him, saying “Jerome, what will you give me for my birthday?”
Immediately and enthusiastically, Jerome declared, “Lord, I give you my translation of your word.” But instead of congratulating him, Jesus simply replied, “No, Jerome, that is not what I want.”
Jerome was speechless. Then he began to complain and remonstrate with Jesus, asking why he had let him go on for forty years, far from home, laboring at something other than what God most wanted from him. But Jesus remained silent. Jerome started suggesting other ways of honoring Jesus’ birthday – fasting, becoming a hermit, giving his possessions to the poor. To each of these Jesus replied, “No. Jerome. That is not what I want most.”
Finally, Jerome protested, “Then you tell me, Lord. Tell me what would give you the most joy on your birthday, and you shall have it.
“Do you promise, Jerome?”
“Yes, Lord, anything at all.”
Jesus replied, “Give me your sins…”
- Nun News Blog, Sr. Mary Fidelis.
Now I know what I'm giving the Little Jesus for Christmas!
Lions and tigers and bears! O my!
What a world!
Naked men too!
For Christmas we could have a light show
and put up pictures of teddy-bear-bow-wows
made by sinners!
It would be poodlewampusness!