Last Friday, in the auditorium, the second grade class proudly presented their play: “Saint Jerome and the Lion.” Speaking in unison, but acting out individual parts, they beautifully presented the story of an injured lion who wanders into a Monastery seeking help. Most of the monks flee in fear. Only Jerome is able to recognize that this lion is gentle. He finds a thorn in the lion’s paw, removes it, and in gratitude the lion offers to help them. They give him the task of protecting their donkey, a task that he is well suited for. However, one hot day, he makes the mistake of falling asleep and the donkey is stolen away by some mischevious merchants. Returning the the Monastery alone, he is accused of eating the Lion. Wise Jerome doubts this to be the truth, and insists that they continue to be kind to him. As a consequence, the lion is assigned the task that once belonged to the donkey: hauling wood. Every evening, he wanders the desert looking for his long lost friend. After one year, the lion at last sees the donkey traveling with a caravan. He rescues the donkey, and brings him back to his rightful owners, with the camels following. The merchants, after recovering from their fright, later find themselves at the Monastery looking for their donkey and camels. Realizing their wrong, they beg for forgiveness. Jerome will not accept money as an apology, but turns it over to the lion. The lion, remarking on the kindness shown to him, gladly forgives the merchants. After sharing a feast, the performance is concluded with the following lines:
Through the desert of sorrow and strife,
Forgiveness flows like the water of life.
Blessed by the sunlight, shining above,
The desert blooms through the power of love.