Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How Brother Juniper Used to Give Whatever He Could to the Poor, for the Love of God

Brother Juniper had so much pity and compassion for the poor that when he saw anyone who was badly clothed or bare, he would immediately rip off his sleeve or cowl or some piece of his habit and give it to that poor person. And so the guardian ordered him under obedience not to give all or part of his habit to anyone.

A few days later it happened that he met a poor man who was almost naked and who begged Brother Juniper to give him something for the love of God. And Juniper said to him very compassionately: "My dear man, I have nothing to give you except my habit - and my superior has told me under obedience not to give it or part of it away to anyone. But if you pull it off my back, I certainly will not prevent you."

He was not speaking to a deaf man, for he immediately pulled the habit off, inside out, and went away with it, leaving Brother Juniper naked.

When he went back to the Place, the friars asked him where his habit was. And he answered: "Some good person pulled it off my back and went away with it."

And as the virtue of compassion grew in him, he was not satisfied with giving away only his habit, but to the poor he used to give books and ornaments for the altar and cloaks of the other friars and whatever he could lay his hands on. Consequently, when poor people came to Brother Juniper to beg, the friars used to take and hide the things they wanted to keep, so that Brother Juniper should not find them. For he used to give everything away, for the love of God and for His praise.

To the glory of Christ. Amen.

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