The Daily Prayer
THURSDAY, May 14, 2020
Brother Juniper (d. 1258)
A companion of Francis of Assisi, Brother Juniper is remembered as a “fool for Christ,” and there are all sorts of wild stories about his antics. He was notorious for constantly giving his possessions away and living with a winsomeness that sometimes got him into trouble. At one point, he was ordered by a superior not to give away his outer garment to the beggars anymore. But it wasn’t long before he met someone in need who asked him for some clothing. He said, “My superior has told me under obedience not to give my clothing to anyone. But if you pull it off my back, I certainly will not prevent you.” Francis is said to have joked about how he wished for a forest of Junipers.
John Chrysostom, a fourth-century preacher and bishop of Constantinople, wrote, “Tell me then, how is it that you are rich? From whom did you receive it, and from whom did he transmit it to you? From his father and his grandfather. But can you, ascending through many generations, show the acquisition just? It cannot be. The root and origin of it must have been injustice. Why? Because God in the beginning did not make one person rich and another poor. He left the earth free to all alike. Why then if it is common, have you so many acres of land, while your neighbor has not a portion of it?”
Lord, you did not withhold even your life for our benefit. If nothing is too much to offer you, remind us that nothing is too much to sacrifice for our brothers and sisters in need. Amen.