I have a theology degree. One that I am extremely proud to have received. But like all my other degrees and awards, this hard-earned piece of paper lives in a frame and sits in a box somewhere in my house. In my heart, however, lives the love of Jesus. And my head is filled with the knowledge of God. But somewhere between the head and the heart are my eyes. Each day I am learning to see Jesus with those eyes, by looking for ways to love others and honor God.
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 this 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.
The story of Brother Juniper and quote from Jean Vanier can be found with many other great stories and liturgy in Shane Claiborne's Common Prayer: A Liturgy For Ordinary Radicals. (Zondervan: 2010).