What do you do when a wounded lion approaches your monastery

St. Jerome with Lion

Fifth century scholar St. Jermoe, who translated the Bible into Latin, lived in a cloister at Bethlehem with other monks. One day a sounded lion appeared, causing havoc and panic among all - except Jerome.

The lion, that appeared at the monastery, had a thorn in his paw and was in pain. Jerome took it out and the lion was grateful and became tame.

The problem was, what does one do with a tame lion?

some monks suggested that the lion keep watch over the donkey when he went to the woods to gather wood, although others said a lot of good that woul do, for the lion sooner or later would pounce on the helpless donkey and eat him up. But this is what was decided and it worked out well.

The lion kept the donkey safe from wild animals and protected him.

One day the lion fell asleep and some robbers came along, spied the donkey, and stole him. When the lion woke up and realized what had happened, he blamed himself and trotted guiltily back home. some of the monks said, "Aha, we knew it. He ate the donkey!" But Jerome said, "no, we don't know for sure. Let's not be hasty to judge."

One day, while the lion was resting outside near a road, he saw a caravan - and who was leading it but the donkey! He was over-joyed. He ran to meet hi old friend, scaring the hell out of the robbers. They fled to the nearest protection, which as the monks' cloister. They fell down at the feet of Jerome, begged his forgiveness if only they would be spared. They promised that whenever they came back that way they would provide for the monks.

The lion came in, lay down, stretched out, wagged his tail as if asking for forgiveness for a crime he never committed.

To this day, St. Jerome is pictured with a lion crouched at his feet.

Did you know that when the lion detects hunters, he uses his tail to sweep away his tracks? And that Jesus, the Lion of Judah, is not easily recognized, but must be sought after only by faith?

This is an excerpt from William Bausch's Storytelling, Imagination and Faith
Image source: Wikipedia

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