The poor or my Christ

The Saint going to see the sick – as for two or three times a week he saw the dick – a stranger came in his way and asked for alms and he ordered his servant to give him six silver coins.

Taking the silver coins the stranger went in his way. Wanting to try the Saint`s generosity the stranger changed his clothes and going on another way he came again to the blessed saint John  and asked him:

`Have mercy on me, master as I am captive.

He ordered his servant again to give him other six silver coins

The servant told his master in a whisper at his ear: `Master this is the poor who took before six silver coins.`

The patriarch pretended not to hear and ordered to give him again. The stranger taking alms for the second time changed again his clothes and came again in the way of the patriarch asking for alms for the third time.

The servant told the patriarch:

`Master this is the same man who already took alms twice and now he is asking for the third time.  

John the Merciful told his servant:

Give him two silver coins as I am not sure if He is not my Christ who tries me.

Excerpt from The Life of Saint John the Merciful

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