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The Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) is a branch of the world-wide Franciscan Family. We are single and married. Some of us are diocesan clergy. We work, worship and play in the community where we live.

The SFO was established by St. Francis of Assisi more than 800 years ago. Our purpose is to bring the gospel to life where we live and where we work. We look for practical ways to embrace the gospel in our lives and try to help others to do likewise.

A local group of Secular Franciscans is probably meeting near you. Please use this map to locate your closest fraternity or feel free to contact one of the members of our Regional Executive Council who will be happy to put you in touch with a Fraternity near you.

About our region

All local Secular Franciscan fraternities in the United States are organized into one of 30 regions. The Saint Katharine Drexel Region includes parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. There are currently 27 local fraternities in the region. We are under the patronage of St. Katharine Drexel, who was a Secular Franciscan and whose feast we celebrate on March 3rd.

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August, 2020 – Thoughts from your Formation Director, Justin Carisio

SKD Formation Monthly-August 2020

Thoughts for the Day – August, 2020 by Father Francis Sariego, OFM Cap

August 2020

Let us desire nothing else, let us wish for nothing else, let nothing else please us and cause us delight, except our Creator and Redeemer and Savior, the one true God,  

Who is fullness of Good, all Good, every Good, the true and Supreme Good, 

Who alone is merciful and gentle, delectable and sweet, Who alone is holy, just and true, holy and right, 

Who alone is kind, innocent, pure,  

from Whom and through Whom and in Whom is all pardon, all grace, all glory.  

Therefore, let nothing hinder us, nothing separate us or come between us. 

Let us all, wherever we are 

Glorify and exalt, magnify and give thanks to the Most High and supreme eternal God. 

Amen. 

(Saint Francis of Assisi)

1

The truly clean of heart are those who look down upon earthly things, seek those of heaven, and, with a clean heart and spirit, never cease adoring and seeing the Lord God living and true (Admonitions,#16) – Let yourselves be charmed by Christ…attracted by his example…loved by the love of the Holy Spirit…fall in love with Jesus Christ.

2

We carry Him (Jesus) in our heart and body through love and a pure and sincere conscience; and give Him birth through a holy activity, which must shine before others by example. (Letter to Faithful) – Do not be afraid! Open wide the doors to Christ! Open to his saving power.

3

He taught them to mortify not only vices and to check the promptings of the flesh, but also to check the external senses, through which death enters the soul. (1Celano,chpt.16) – Human beings are called to become disciples of that Other One who infinitely transcends them, in order to enter at last into true life.

4

Unbending in discipline he stood upon his guard, taking the greatest care to preserve purity of both soul and body (Major Legend,chpt.5) – In the mystery of his cross and resurrection, Christ has bridged the infinite distance that separates all people from new life in him.

5

He used to say that it should be incomparably more tolerable for a spiritual man to endure great cold in his flesh rather than to feel even slightly the heat of carnal lust in his heart. (Major Legend,chpt.5) – Faith must be quickened by love.  It must come alive through the good works which reveal God’s truth in us.

6

If, at the instigation of the devil, any brother commits fornication, let him be deprived of the habit he has lost by his wickedness, put it aside completely, and be altogether expelled from our Order.  Afterwards he may do penance. (Earlier Rule,chpt.13) – Being a Christian must mean being a witness for Christ.

7

The Rule of the Lesser Brothers is this: to observe the holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by living in obedience, without anything of one’s own, and in chastity. (Later Rule,chpt.1) – The commandments must be understood as a path involving a moral and spiritual journey toward perfection, at the heart of which is love.

8

He was naturally courteous in manner and speech, and following his heart’s intent, never uttered a rude or offensive word to anyone…His reputation, because of this, became so widespread…that many who knew him said that, in the future, he would be something great. (Three Companions,chpt.1) – Through the Spirit, (Jesus) gives the grace to share his own life and love and provides the strength to bear witness to that love in personal choices and actions.

9

He taught not only that the vices of the flesh must be mortified and its prompting checked, but also that the exterior senses, through which death enters the soul, should be guarded with the greatest care. (Major Legend,chpt.5) – God who is always merciful even when he punishes preferred the correction rather than the death of a sinner, did not desire that a homicide (murder of Abel by Cain) be punished by the exaction of another act of homicide.

10

To carry in his own body the armor of the cross, he held in check his sensual appetites with such a rigid discipline that he scarcely too what was necessary for the sustenance of nature. (Major Legend,chpt.5) – Peace must become the goal of all men and women of good will.

11

At that time the brothers dedicated themselves to the practices of fasts, of vigils, of work, in order to dominate the incentives of the flesh. (Anonymous of Perugia) – Peace is our duty: our grave duty, our supreme responsibility.

12

The brothers were sometimes surprised that he did not often visit such holy handmaids (St. Clare and Sisters) of Christ…but he would say: ’Don’t imagine, dear brothers, that I don’t love them fully. But I am giving you an example, that as I do, so should you also do’. (2Celano,chpt.155) – At the last judgment we shall all be judged without distinction on our practical love of our brothers and sisters.

13

When he spoke with her (St. Clare) or about her, he never mentioned her by name, but he called her the Christian. (Bro. Stephen) – It will be in the practical love they have shown that many will discover that they have in fact met Christ, although without having known him before in an explicit way.

14

Father Francis exhorted her (St. Clare) to despise the world and instilled in her ears the sweetness of being wed to Christ, persuading her to preserve the precious gem of her virginal chastity for her blessed Spouse. (Legend of St. Clare,chpt.5) – If you want peace, reach out to the poor!

15

(St. Clare) entrusted herself totally to Francis, choosing him as her guide, after God…and she accepted with an ardent heart all that he taught her about the good Jesus. (Legend of St. Clare,chpt.6) – (The church is a ‘pilgrim church’); her pilgrimage is interior: it is a question of a pilgrimage in the Holy Spirit strengthened by the power of God’s grace promised her by the Lord

16

The week that Francis passed from this life, Clare informed Francis of her desire to see him.  The saint, informed of this, was deeply moved, because he loved Clare and her sisters with a father’s love. (Legend of Perugia) – (There is) a need for a profound transformation of hearts through the rediscovery of the father’s mercy and through victory over misunderstanding and over hostility among brothers and sisters.

17

(As the body of Francis is brought to Assisi passing San Damiano, Clare and sisters weep saying): Father, what shall we do? Why are you abandoning us poor women? lf consolation ebbs away along with you, who will comfort us in so great a poverty, poverty of merit as much as of goods? Who will help us in temptations? (1Celano,bk.2,chpt.10) – Refusal of God’s fatherly love and of his loving gifts is always at the root of humanity’s divisions.

18

(Clare and Sisters continue): You, who experienced so many temptations!  Who will comfort us in the midst of distress? You, who were so often our help in times of distress!  What bitter separation! what painful absence! (1Celano,bk.2,chpt.10) – God, ‘rich in mercy’, does not close his heart to any of his children.

19

Among the virtues Francis loved and desired the brothers preserve after holy humility he loved the beautiful and immaculate virtue of chastity.(Mirror,#86) – (God) waits for (his children), looks for them, goes to meet them at the place where the refusal of communion imprisons them in isolation and division.

20

Unbending in discipline, he kept an exceedingly attentive watch over himself.  He took particular care in guarding the priceless treasure in a vessel of clay, that is, chastity, which he strove to possess in holiness and honor through the virtuous purity of both body and soul. (Minor Legend,chpt.3) – The initiative on God’s part is made concrete and manifest in the redemptive act of Christ, which radiates through the world by means of the ministry of the church.

21

His mastery over the flesh was now so complete that he seemed to have made a covenant with his eyes; he would not only flee far away from carnal sights, but also totally avoid even the curious glance at anything vain. (Minor Legend,chpt.3) – The essence and role of the family are in the final analysis specified by love.

22

Even though he had attained purity of heart and body, and in some manner was approaching the height of sanctification, he did not cease to cleanse the eyes of his soul with a continuous flood of tears. (Minor Legend,chpt.3) – The family has the mission to guard, reveal and communicate love, and this is a living reflection of and real sharing in God’s love for humanity and the love of Christ the Lord for the church his bride.

23

We prohibit anyone of you to wander outside of obedience with the habit of your holy religion and thus corrupt the purity of your poverty. (‘Cum Secundum’ of Pope Honorius III) – Man cannot live without love. His life is senseless if love is not revealed to him, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it.

24

Encompassed by the weakness of the flesh, a human cannot follow the spotless crucified Lamb so perfectly as to avoid contacting any filth.  Therefore he taught those who strive after the perfect life to cleanse themselves daily. (Major Legend,chpt.5) – (We are) to become a temple of the Blessed Trinity.  What greater degree of communion with God could (we) ever aspire to?

25

Although he had already attained extraordinary purity of heart and body, he did not cease to cleanse the eyes of his soul with a continuous flood of tears, unconcerned about the loss of his bodily sight. (Major Legend,chpt.5) – The hectic pace of daily activity, combined with the noisy and often frivolous invasiveness of the means of communication, is certainly not something conducive to the interior recollection required for prayer.

26

(The Dominican theologian after visiting with Francis said to the friars) My brothers, the theology of this man, held aloft by purity and contemplation, is a soaring eagle, while our learning crawls on its belly on the ground. (2Celano,bk.2,chpt.69) – You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you. (St. Augustine)

27

I beg in the Lord all my brothers who are priests, or who will be, or who wish to be priests of the Most High that whenever they wish to celebrate Mass, being pure, they offer the true Sacrifice of the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ with purity and reverence, with a holy and unblemished intention.(Letter to the Order) – The Holy Spirit is the gift that comes into man’s heart together with prayer. In prayer he manifests himself first of all as the gift that ’helps us in our weakness’.

28

Seeing the foe was carrying the day, the most high Lord sent in the cavalry with a well-trained commander.  St. Francis was chosen as standard-bearer. He wanted no one to ride with him who did not accept the reins of three bridles: poverty, obedience, and chastity. (Jacopone of Todi) – The new evangelization will show its authenticity and unleash all its missionary force when it is carried out through the gift not only of the word proclaimed but also of the word lived, and in particular the life of holiness.

29

Wherever they may be or may go, let all the brothers avoid evil glances and association with women…Let us all keep close watch over ourselves and keep all our members clean. (Earlier Rule,chpt.12) – The life of holiness constitutes the simplest and most attractive way to perceive at once the beauty of truth, the liberating force of God’s love, and the value of unconditional fidelity to all the demands of the Lord’s law.

30

Saint Francis used to engage carefully in a daily, or rather, constant examination of himself and his followers.  Allowing nothing dangerous to remain in them, he drove from their hearts any negligence. He was on his guard at every hour. (1Celano,chpt.16) – The Mother of God is a type of the church in the matter of faith, charity and perfect union with Christ. The church brings forth to a new and immortal life children who are conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of God. (Vatican II)

31

He taught them to mortify not only vices and to check the promptings of the flesh, but also to check external senses, through which death enters the soul. (1Celano,chpt.16) – In Jesus all broken lines unite; in Him all scattered sounds are gathered into harmony. (G.K.Chesterton)

 

 

Monthly Meditation for August, 2020 by Father Francis Sariego, OFM Cap

St. Katherine Drexel Regional Fraternity 

Regional Spiritual Assistant 

St. Francis of Assisi Friary 

1901 Prior Road 

Wilmington, Delaware 19809 

 tel: (302) 798-1454      fax: (302) 798-3360     website:  skdsfo    email: pppgusa@gmail.com

August 2020

Dear Sisters and Brothers in St. Francis,

The Lord give you his peace!

The Brothers and Sisters of Penance, Spiritual Children of our Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi, are called to live as the “Penitents of Assisi” in a world who “seeks a sign”. Just as in the days of Noah (cfr. Luke)…just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale (cfr. Matthew), as Jesus responded to those who sought a sign from Him, today’s society and world are looking for “a sign”. They forget or are unaware that the sign they seek is a person. Our Secular Franciscans have found that person in Jesus Christ. The life with which we Franciscans are entrusted to learn and live is found in the Gospels. The manner of life in the world and not of the world ( cfr. John 15 / John 17 et al.) we seek through the example and words of the Seraphic Patriarch of Assisi. This life can be effectively and joyfully lived by an enormous variety of personalities as we see in the lives of the multitude of Franciscan Saints and Blesseds officially recognized by the Church. Love for the Franciscan charism and a commitment to live in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare of Assisi has also endeared thousands of others not “officially” recognized as “heroic” examples of virtue by the Church. Nevertheless, their hidden lives have impacted and helped men and women for eight centuries to make vital life-changing decisions in God’s way and will.

St. Francis of Assisi may be an attractive poetic character to some, but the man who accepted the challenge of the Gospel life has been a transforming influence for millions. Francis was simple in his approach, loving in his manner with the poor and suffering, unrelenting in his determination that God’s call to him and those who wished to follow must be lived “without gloss”. St. Francis was no ‘pushover’. He knew and believed in the original voice that said Francis, go rebuild my Church for as you see it is falling into ruin (voice from the Crucifix in San Damiano Church, Assisi).  He would not change what he knew and believed to be the will of God for him and for those who sought to follow his way of Gospel living.

The first members of the Secular Franciscan Order were practical people who continued living in the world with a commitment to the Gospel life in a spirit of simplicity, prayer, peace (disarmed hearts), fulfillment of their daily responsibilities, greater awareness-respect-commitment to God’s Word and Sacraments, love for the Church even at historically questionable times of schism, heresy, moral decadence. The brothers and sisters of Penance were challenged to grow in holiness. This was a holiness that did not strive to encourage them to be proud of their humble demeanor and/or self-righteous holy practices. Our brethren of the penitential life sought solely to become saints.  They knew as we know that holiness is not a question of the ‘popular thing to do’. It is not a question of being with the ‘in crowd’ of some church society.  Holiness does not call attention to us but to the Christ that shines through us. Sanctity is the consequence of a personal decision one makes to be fully directed by the Spirit of God through a process of daily conversion.

Unless our prayer is enfleshed in our lives, and our lives resound in our prayer, our spiritual life is stunted, if not altogether dead or in agony.  True holiness can never be achieved fully until we enter the everlasting embrace of the Eternal Father, through the blood of his Son Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Through our earthly journey we strive to grow each day in holiness and move forward toward the ultimate goal: God-Everlasting Life in His Love. The almighty intercession of Our Heavenly Mother, Mediatrix of All Graces, is the channel through which prayers and graces flow, as She accompanies Her children on this journey. The intercession of the saints, angels and souls in Purgatory to whom we pray also fulfill their role in the wholeness of our journey. The process is not impossible, nor is it difficult. Remember that the hand will never reach for what the heart does not desire. What we truly desire, we will seek to move heaven and the netherworld to obtain. But, it is demanding!  It demands that we desire this holiness, seeking spiritual wholeness, holistically. Following the prompting of the Holy Spirit and using the graces God entrusts to us, every bit of creation serves to strengthen the inner being that drives us to be in this world but not of this world ( cfr. John 15 / John 17 et al.) .

This month we celebrate the Transfiguration of Jesus (August 6) and the Assumption of Our Blessed Mother into heaven (August 15).  It is interesting to note that both deal with the divine and the human, the soul and the body, the invisible and the visible, the immortal and the mortal, the perfect and the flawed. One is seen as the fruit of the process of the other.  The Transfiguration that dazzles the apostles is the transformation of the body that the Apostles walked and talked with during their years with Jesus.  The Assumption of Mary’s physical body into the realm of the spirit is the celebration of the transformation of the material body of Mary that grew old and was subjected to life’s many changes into a fully glorified spiritual being.  No person can be truly holy without being truly human – human as God intended at the beginning of time and not as we have become through the abuse and misuse of our free will. These two feasts should be an encouragement for us to continue our endeavors to grow in the spirit, regardless of our weaknesses, faults, and even sins.  They should encourage us to strive more intensely to live the spirit of our Franciscan vocation every day of our lives. The monthly fraternity meeting is the fraternal gathering where family meets in love to be “energized” to live the family values with joy even beyond the formality of a meeting.

Vigilance over one’s self at all times, without scrupulosity or undue exaggeration, is essential. Nourished by the Eucharist as much as possible, we see ourselves and others with the eyes of Jesus. He speaks to our heart with compassion. He helps us to see the world with the practicality of one who lives, as mentioned before, in the world but not of the world. Our faith is simple and robust.  Yes, Lord, I do believe, therefore I give myself over to your Good News made flesh – Jesus – and seek to live and be the image of Jesus for others as well.

Our Franciscan brothers and sisters are men and women in love with Jesus and His Good News of God’s extravagant love for all of creation. St. Francis of Assisi gives us an example of what it means to be excited about every facet of life.  Through prayer, reflection, service, all Franciscans are assisted in experiencing God’s loving presence in their lives, and God’s loving presence in all creation as well as in all created human beings. Created things consecrated and transformed by the Holy Spirit into the image of Jesus in the world, love and devotion for Mary the Mother of Jesus overshadowed by the Holy Spirit to be the highest honor of our race and “almighty” intercessor for all before God, the faith of the Church of Christ subsisting in the Catholic Church, make us one family in God. Every gathering of the fraternity, formally or informally, should be an experience that fosters and enhances our love for one another and desire to bring that to others. The strength of our commitment to our particular expression of Franciscan life is rendered powerfully present wherever we are by the example of our love for one another, deep devotion in the practice of daily living our Catholic faith in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi.  Secular Franciscans are an example of what the everyday Catholic can become. Find time each day to pray and reflect. Allow the experience of God to flow over from your personal lives into acts of charity and service for all. Let the hand of Christ reach out to fulfill the heart’s desire to be Christ to the other and to touch Christ in the other.

We Franciscans should glow like beacons of light in a world that has grown dim in its spiritual fervor!  We must not compromise our Baptismal promises or our Franciscan profession.  We are called to be examples and guides for others!  By living the evangelical life of a Penitent of Assisi we touch the lives of others and lead them closer to Jesus and Mary!  We are expected to take up the challenge to be Christ to the world!  This is our mission. As the “Penitents of Assisi” we know that “penance” is a change of heart that ultimately changes one’s life. This is the road of daily conversion, the road of holiness.

All of this may seem like much.  It may seem impossible.  It may seem unattainable.  If that were the case, then we would have to say that the Gospel is impossible to live. St Francis faced this predicament himself when he presented his original Rule of Life for the first followers to the Pope.  He was told it was impossible to live the Gospel as literally as he stated. A Cardinal of the Papal Court who was present at the event counseled the Pope that to say such a thing was to say living the Gospel is impossible. That would be blasphemy and heresy. Needless to say, Francis was given the permission he asked. All things are possible when we believe in God and trust in his grace that can transform those who place their lives in His hands. The God of surprises, is a God Who supports and provides for those who say “yes” even to the “impossible”. Our Heavenly Mother said “yes” to the impossible and just look at what happened!  Was it ever heard that God was so near to His people as our God is to us? (Exodus 33: 1-16 34: 8-10)   

We are called to continue the vocation St. Francis first received at San Damiano. All Franciscans enter the unique vocation, not of sacramental priesthood but of the priesthood of the faithful baptized in Christ. We are encouraged by the examples of an immense throng before us to become victims with the Victor. Christian Victimhood is a concretizing of the baptismal priesthood in Christ we have all received. When we consider the implications, “victimhood” is a word difficult to accept. It is even more difficult to want to accept this state as a vocation. Actually, it is the call of every baptized Christian to be Jesus in this world.  Jesus became a victim on the cross. We accept to be baptized in His baptism and drink the chalice He drank (cfr. Mark 10: 37-40). We accomplish this chiefly by living fully the responsibilities of our Christian Catholic Franciscan life. We even accept, if that be God’s will, the extraordinary “crucial” (cross-shaped) moments with serenity and trust. We need not create “our cross”, the one we would like. That would be a “cheap shot”, and rather cowardly. Believe that God in His love knows our strengths and will never give us anything that we cannot bear or will not be beneficial to us … and His glory?!  Accepting a share in the sufferings of Christ, we are given what God wills, and we have it made for eternity, forever!

We are incorporated into the Mystical Body of Christ. We share in the priesthood of the faithful. While the priest offers the bread that becomes the Body of the Savior, all can offer the daily responsibilities of life.  Our work, our relationships, our hopes, our dreams, all we are, created in God’s image, we offer each day.  While the priest offers the wine in the chalice that becomes the Blood of Christ, we can offer our sufferings, our fears, our hardships.  With the priest we offer not only the gifts he consecrates but the very gift of ourselves together with the Victim of Calvary re-presented at the altar of Sacrifice and the Table of the Lord.

At Baptism, in Christ we are anointed priest, prophet and king.  We too offer sacrifice; we too become a sacrifice; and we too share the benefits of that One Great Sacrifice offered once and forever. The Eucharist re-presents the mystery we share and seek to become. Sacrifice means to make sacred or to make holy. We are consecrated (made sacred with) in Jesus, as He Himself prayed the night before He died: Father, I pray for them…consecrate them in truth…who would be my disciple must follow in my footsteps. In the Eucharist we receive, we become a living sign of thanksgiving to God ever present among and within us. He is our Emmanuel (God with us).  It is a reminder of the Communion we share with all God’s children, beginning with our family in Christ and extending our disarmed hands and hearts out to the whole world.

As Mary called our Seraphic Father to the chapel of the Portiuincula (Feast August 2nd) to extend a special blessing and privilege to those who honor Her as our Lady of Angels, may Her love and blessings continue to flow to each one of us, Her Franciscan children. Like our most Blessed Mother, let us allow the Holy Spirit to overshadow us with His presence.  May that Holy Spirit enter the recesses of our hearts. Thus, the image of Christ can be born within us so that we can offer Him in and with our lives, as Mary did at Bethlehem, Nazareth, Capernaum,…CALVARY, to the whole world.  Like Mary, we are called to be Tabernacles and Monstrances of the one Saving Lord, Whose Holy Spirit has anointed us to continue the wonderful mystery of our salvation together with our priests in, with, and for the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. We form that Body! The Mass is Christ; the Church is Christ; we are the Church, therefore, we must become the Mass we celebrate and offer our lives each day in union with the Sacrifice of Jesus, the Christ. This is the holistic means of human wholeness that leads to holiness in God’s loving grace.

May the Lord bless you and your loved ones; Our Lady guide, guard, and protect you; and our Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi with St. Clare of Assisi watch over each one of you and your loved ones, with loving care.

Peace and Blessings

Fr. Francis A. Sariego, O.F.M. Cap.

Regional Spiritual Assistant

Praying the Rule

Praying the Rule

Lord, our God, we intend to make present the charism of our Seraphic Father Francis in the life and mission of the Church, in various ways and forms but in life-giving union with one another. By our profession, we pledge ourselves to live the Gospel in the manner of St Francis by means of our Rule approved by the Church (Arts. 1-3). Help us, we pray, so that daily we may:

  • observe the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by following the example of St Francis, going from gospel to life and from life to the gospel (Art. 4);
  • seek to encounter the living and active person of Jesus Christ in our brothers and sisters, in sacred scripture, in the Church and in the Eucharist (Art. 5);
  • go forth as witnesses and instruments of the Church’s mission among people, proclaiming Christ by our life and words (Art. 6);
  • conform our thoughts and deeds to those of Christ by the radical interior change which the Gospel calls “conversion”, making use of the sacrament of reconciliation on the way to renewal (Art. 7);
  • let prayer and contemplation be the soul of all we are and do (Art. 8);
  • imitate the Virgin Mary’s complete self-giving in her openness to your every word and call (Art. 9);
  • faithfully fulfill the duties proper to our various circumstances in life (Art. 10);
  • seek the proper spirit of detachment and purify our hearts from every tendency and yearning for possession and power (Art. 11);
  • acquire the purity of heart needed to set ourselves free to love God and our brothers and sisters (Art. 12);
  • accept all people as your gift, Lord, and an image of Christ (Art. 13);
  • exercise our responsibilities competently in the Christian spirit of service (Art. 14);
  • be in the forefront of promoting justice by the testimony of our human lives and by courageous initiatives (Art. 15);
  • esteem work both as a gift and as a sharing in the creation, redemption and service of the human community (Art. 16);
  • cultivate the Franciscan spirit of peace, fidelity and respect for life in our families, striving to make it a sign of a world already renewed in Christ (Art. 17);
  • respect all creatures, animate and inanimate “as bearing the imprint of the Most High” (Art. 18);
  • be bearers of peace and messengers of perfect joy in every circumstance, as immersed in the resurrection of Christ, we serenely tend towards Sister Death and our ultimate encounter with you, our Father (Art. 19).

All this we ask through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Brother. Amen.

 

July 2020 - Thought for the Day by Father Francis Sariego, OFM Cap

July  2020

All-powerful, most holy, Almighty and supreme God,

Holy and just Father, Lord King of heaven and earth

we thank You for Yourself, for through Your holy will

and through Your only Son with the holy Spirit

You have created everything spiritual and corporal

… making us in Your own image and likeness,…

We thank You…

1

Servants of the Lord should not be ignorant of the lives and teachings of saints through which they can come to God.  – When you come to Christ, Christianity demands the personal, intimate bond.  We have to be one with him, and reflect the person, mind, will, heart and humanity of Christ.

2

On the 16th of April, after 1207 years completed since the Incarnation of the Lord … God saw that His people … had forgotten His commandments … desiring not the death of the sinner, but that he be converted and live… God willed to send workers into His vineyard. –  Faith is not the will to believe; it is the acceptance of truth based on the authority of God’s revelation.

3

Preoccupied with thoughts of wealth … Francis sent (a beggar away) without giving him alms … touched by divine grace, he began to accuse himself. – Reconciliation is inseparable from the death of Christ. We never have reconciliation without the passion, death, and resurrection of our Lord.

4

(After sending the poor man away, Francis thought): If the poor man had asked in the name of a count or a powerful baron, you would have granted him his request.  How much more should you have done this for the King of kings and the lord of all? – Because of sin we all need a fresh start.

5

He resolved in his heart, from then on, never to refuse a request from anyone asking in the name of so great a Lord. He called the poor man back and gave him a generous alms. – Let there be less of me and more of Christ.

6

He arrived in Spoleto … half asleep, he heard a voice asking him …Who can do more for you, the lord or the servant? The lord, he answered. Then why are you abandoning the lord for the servant, and the patron for the client? – The more ego there is, the less there is of Christ.

7

Francis sold the horse … as well as the wardrobe … and put on cheaper clothing … he approached a church … he threw the money on the windowsill of that church for he considered it worthless. – The more we are Christ, the more he can use us.

8

Without any worldly possessions, dressed in cheap and very miserable clothing … The Lord enriched the poor and contemptible man. Filling him with His Holy Spirit, He put into his mouth the words of life …  – Christ does not open doors and give us opportunities, until we are flexible in his hands, obedient like a pencil in his hands.

9

(The Lord) put into his mouth words of life that he might preach and announce to the people judgment and mercy, punishment and glory and to recall to their minds the commandments of God they had forgotten. – Nothing in all the world is worth a moment of time except to know more of him.

10

Desiring to possess neither gold nor silver, nor money nor any other thing, he followed the lord in humility, poverty, and the simplicity of his heart. – Christ wants us to be available so that he can display his power through us, his truth through us.

11

Almost everyone considered him mad. But he did not care, nor did he answer them. He strove with all eagerness to fulfill the task God had shown him. – The Christian is another Jesus.

12

We walked not in the learned words of human wisdom, but in the display and power of the Spirit. – When Christ becomes the rule of life, then his life becomes ours.

13

Two men of Assisi inspired by divine grace, humbly approached him…We wish to live with you from now on … Tell us, therefore, what we should do … (Francis) answered them kindly: Let us go and seek counsel from the Lord.  – Conscience can never be covered up; guilt will always come out.

14

They fell on their knees and humbly prayed: Lord, God, Father of glory, we beg you in your mercy, show us what we are to do … They immediately found the passage: If you wish to be perfect, go, sell everything you possess and give to the poor, and you will have a treasure in heaven. – Conscience bothers us when it is not where it is supposed to be

15

Having no place to stay, they went and found a poor and nearly abandoned church called Saint Mary of the Portiuncula,.  There they built a small dwelling where they lived together. – Every atheist is afraid of the dark. You don’t find atheists in foxholes.

16

They were filled with a great joy, as if they had acquired an immense treasure.  They were able to rejoice so much because they had forsaken so much, and considered as dung the things over which people usually grieve. – It is not man who is on the quest for God.  It is God who is on the quest for man

17

The man of God … would encourage men and women to fear and love the Creator of heaven and earth and to do penance for their sins. – We need to fall in love with the Lord.

18

Even though hardly anyone followed them, people remained nevertheless in awe at the holy way of life which they seemed to be marked for the Lord’s sake. – When we love the Lord, we want to be one with him.  That is love’s first effect.

19

They suffered extreme want.  Even their relatives and families would persecute them.  Others from that city – great and small, men and women – would scorn and ridicule them as senseless and stupid, except for the city’s bishop to whom the blessed Francis frequently went to seek counsel. – In prayer we shrug off the burdens of the world.

20

One day … the bishop told (Francis): It seems to me that your life is very rough and hard … The saint of God answered: Lord, if we had possessions, we would need arms to protect them because they cause many disputes and lawsuits,.  And possessions usually impede the love of God and neighbor. Therefore, we do not want to possess anything in this world. – There will be a shrinking from the blessed sacrament whenever there is not a good spiritual attitude in the soul.

21

Calling together his six brothers in the woods next to Saint Mary of the Portiuncula … (Francis) told them: My dear brothers, let us consider our calling because God has mercifully called us not only for our own good but also for the salvation of many… – When we are used to seeing his divinity through the species of bread, then we will be better at seeing the image of God in people.

22

(Francis told his brothers) Let us go through the world encouraging and teaching men and women by word and example to do penance for their sins and to remember the Lord’s commandments, which they have forgotten for such a long time … – God does not abandon us; he makes us according to his liking, whatever it happens to be. We are not abandoned.

23

He also told them: Do not be afraid, little flock, but have confidence in the Lord.  And do not say among yourselves ’We are simple and illiterate men …’ But be mindful of the Lord’s words to his disciples: ’You yourselves will not be the speakers; the Spirit of your Father will speaking in you’. – The world we live in is the battleground of the church.

24

These devout servants of the Lord … seemed to differ from all others … When they entered a city, town or a home, they would announce peace.  Whenever they saw men or women on the streets or in the piazzas … they would encourage them to fear and love the Creator of heaven and earth … – We live in a world that challenges us. Our summons is to resist the current that carries so many downstream.

25

Some asked them: Where do you come from?  While others asked: To which Order do you belong? They answered simply: We are penitents and we were born in Assisi. – As with Gideon, God is thinning our ranks now as then, because we are preparing for a stronger and more holy church.

26

(The brothers) suffered all these things with constancy and patience …When people saw them rejoicing in their tribulations and enduring them patiently for the Lord, unceasing in very devout prayer, neither accepting nor carrying money…possessing such a great love for one another … many of them, by the kindness of the Lord, experienced a change of heart. – The Holy Spirit always works through minorities, never through majorities.

27

They were rooted and founded in love and humility … They all dedicated themselves wholeheartedly to obedience … They abstained from carnal desires and, in order to avoid being judged, they judged themselves carefully … They sought to combat each vice with a corresponding virtue. – We draw strength from our suffering sisters and brothers.

28

(Francis) used to revere prelates and priests of the holy Church.  He would respect the elderly, and honored the noble and the wealthy.  He loved the poor intimately and showed compassion to them.  In a word, he showed himself to be subject to all. – We must realize in minds and hearts that the only argument left to convince others is holiness.

29

If any brother … experienced … some kind of trial, the temptation would go away either on hearing blessed Francis … or on seeing his presence.  For he spoke to them compassionately, not as a judge, but as a father to his children and a doctor to his patient … – The world has heard every other argument, and it is ready to reject them all, all except one: holiness.

30

He carried God in his heart, praised Him with his lips, and glorified Him with his deeds … Wanting to show the love He had for him, the Lord impressed on his members and his side the stigmata of His most beloved Son … – Does the crucifix mean anything to us? Or do we look for Christ without the cross?

31

Meditate earnestly on the things recorded … understand them correctly, and strive in deed to fulfill them, so we may deserve to share with them in the glory of heaven. May our Lord Jesus Christ lead us to this glory. – Drawing closer to the light of Christ, our fears are gone, remorse is swallowed up in the intense love of Christ.

 

 

July, 2020 Monthly Meditation by Father Francis Sariego, OFM Cap

St. Katherine Drexel Regional Fraternity

Regional Spiritual Assistant

St. Francis of Assisi Friary

1901 Prior Road

Wilmington, Delaware 19809

 

tel: (302) 798-1454      fax: (302) 798-3360      regional website: skdsfo       email: pppgusa@gmail.com

                                                                                                   July 2020

Dear Sisters and Brothers in St. Francis,

The Lord bless you with His peace!

The source of all holiness is the One Who is not only Source and Means but also the Ultimate Goal for all who seek to be holy. God in Himself is the most essential means to achieve this ‘eternal challenge’ offered humanity.  We are flawed because of Original Sin, but capable of overcoming the influence of satan.  Our strength to overcome the limitations of nature and the discouragement caused by our sins, and the nourishment that satisfies the spiritual needs of our soul that hungers for meaning, purpose, and fulfillment in life, for life, and through the experiences of earthly life until it enters eternity, come from one great and essential source, Who is God-among-us – the Eucharist.

 

Both the Heart pierced for us and the Blood poured out for us are all vivid reminders not only of the extravagant love God has for all His creation, but also of His Presence in the Sacrament of the Altar.  God in His love and immensity remains in heaven, yet through His Incarnation in our time, through the ‘yes’ of our Blessed Mother Mary, continues to journey with us.  We encounter God in various ways: on the road to Damascus, as Paul, when God’s call is unique, distinct, and unequivocal; on Calvary, when He encounters us in our sufferings of any kind, and especially in that ultimate moment when He leads us from time to eternity; and on the Road to Emmaus, when Jesus, Word of God made flesh, and Sacrament of the Father’s Covenant with humanity teaches, enlightens, and strengthens us to help others meet Jesus on the way and to hear and to follow His voice through us.

 

We cannot reflect enough upon the great hidden Mystery and Real Living Presence we celebrate, receive, and become in the Eucharistic Lord Jesus. Through the power of the Holy Spirit Whom we invoke, the simple elements of bread and wine become the Divine Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  The more we become like the One Whom we consume, the more we are consumed by Him.  Our intimate encounter should be lovingly anticipated through prayer and reflection.  We totally surrender ourselves to each other when we two, – Jesus and I – become one in Holy Communion. Thus, this experience in time transforms the moment we celebrate into an experience of heaven, an experience of eternity, that we carry with us.

 

The Eucharist was the Center of the life of our Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi.  The prayer so many have come to know and pray often speaks of this centrality. Passing a church, St. Francis would pray: We adore You most holy Lord Jesus Christ, here, and in all Your churches throughout the world, and we praise You, because by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world.  The Mystery of the Passion‑Death‑Resurrection of Jesus was ever-present before the eyes of his heart. Transformed in his heart by his love for Christ, he was transformed in the body, called to be a living image of the Crucified Savior for others to be reminded of God’s love for them to death, even death on a Cross (Philippians 2:8)… The Eucharist was the center of the life of our holy Mother St. Clare. How great was St. Clare’s affection and devotion to the Sacrament of the Altar is shown by their effect … When receiving the Body of the Lord, she at first shed burning tears and, approaching with trembling, she feared Him Who was hidden in the Sacrament no less than Him who was ruling heaven and earth. (Legend of St. Clare, chpt. XVIII)  Maybe we, spiritual children of the holy Assisians, might learn and live what our ‘parents’ teach us by their love and example!

 

The Eucharist is the continuation of the journey of Jesus with His ‘companions’ (‘sharers with/in the bread’). The first disciples of Jesus listened, were strengthened and nourished by the Sacred Food of His Body and Blood. These first followers were sent to be Apostles who preached His Real Presence with their lives.  Nothing has changed.  We too are expected to do the same.  At the Eucharist we come to listen, receive, and be sent.  The effectiveness of our ‘Eucharistic ministry’ depends on the depth of our conviction in Who the Eucharist is (and not ‘what’). The totality of our commitment to continue the life of the One we have received will be seen in how we live our lives.

 

While still with His disciples, Jesus taught them to communicate with God as He did.  He encouraged them (and us today) to pray with childlike confidence and familiarity to God, as Father (“Abba” = “Daddy”).  He instructed those who believed in Him to ask in their prayer for daily bread. And to insure that what they (and we) asked, once received, would bear fruit for themselves and all whom they encountered. He became their daily Viaticum, that is “bread for the journey”.

 

Shortly before His death and departure from this world, Jesus took bread, blessed it, and broke it and gave it to His disciples with the assurance that in their sharing they were receiving His very Body and Blood.  When the body of Jesus was broken and His blood poured out in sacrificial atonement on the cross, He remained with his own, hidden but powerfully present in the sacred signs of the consecrated and broken bread and shared wine (his Body and Blood broken and poured out for us).  After the Resurrection of Jesus, his followers gathered again and again to take, bless, break, give, share and be fed upon the bread of His Body and the wine of his Blood.  In that action, they knew and experienced their Lord and Savior; in that action, they signified and strengthened their union with Christ and with one another (the Church) in Him. No longer bread and wine, though seen as such, but the Divine Presence of the Body and Blood of Jesus Himself.

 

Twenty centuries after Jesus, the Church continues to confirm its unity, communion and life in Christ through the Eucharist.  To affirm the vital importance of these sacred moments of encounter with Christ and His sisters and brothers, the Church, in the Second Vatican Council, declared: The celebration of the Eucharist, as an action of Christ and the people of God … is the center of the whole Christian life, for the universal Church, the local church, and for each and everyone of the faithful … The liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; it is also the fount from which all its power flows … All who are made children of God by faith and baptism should come together to praise God in the midst of the Church, to take part in the sacrifice and to eat the supper of the Lord. (Const. On the Sacred Liturgy, #2, 10, 41)

 

For many of those who believe, however, this declaration of the importance and centrality of the Eucharist is less than what they experience, and the original significance of the gifts of the Body and Blood of Jesus seems to have been allowed to be clouded over by a veil of monotony and boredom. A well‑known theologian of the last century, Karl Rahner, offered the following statement regarding this: Alas, we Christians. In this sacrament, we receive the pure blessedness from Heaven in the hard shell of custom, but nonetheless in all truth.  And we receive it as though nothing were happening.  How many of our ‘devout’ and ‘practicing’ Catholics truly believe in the Real and Divine Presence? This is not a rhetorical question! What do you believe of the Real Presence?  And, if you truly believe Jesus is present, Body‑Blood‑Soul‑Divinity in the Sacrament of the Altar, how do you express that belief in your composure and actions when you are in the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament of the Divine Prisoner Who remains in the Tabernacle?!  It is very easy to speak of matters vaguely, but integrity demands we look at ourselves first, before we seek to convince others! Weary and lazy we take the same heart back home from the table of God into the narrow room of our lives where we are more at home than in the upper room of God.  We offer the Son in sacrifice and want to refuse our hearts.  We play the divine game of the liturgy, but we are not earnest about it. (The Great Church Year).

 

How is it that our celebrations of the Eucharist seem to be so unlike that of the early Church or the ideals expressed at Vatican II?  This is not a question of Novus Ordo or Extraordinary Form.  It is a matter of belief! Perhaps it is because we have not retained and maintained a spirituality of hunger for the Bread of Life.  Perhaps other hungers have caused us to seek our source, center and sustenance in activities that excite and thrill and cater to our whims but fail to nourish and satisfy our true needs.  Perhaps too many of us approach the weekly encounter with the Body and Blood of the Lord as an obligation rather than as an opportunity, or as a chore rather than as a celebration.

Far from being a “pit stop” for fast food and/or entertainment on the journey of life, the gift of the Body and Blood of Christ is the necessary sustenance for the spiritual survival of each member of the community and for the community as a whole. Perhaps some of us fail to ‘get something out’ of the celebration of the Eucharist because we bring nothing to it.  Each week, all that we are, and all that we have been and done, must necessarily come with us to the Eucharist we celebrate as the People of God. There we consciously acknowledge and celebrate the good that God has done through us and within us over the past week. Likewise, we consciously admit our sins and humbly submit them to the healing and forgiveness of God.  At each sharing of the Body and Blood of the Lord, we are also expected to consciously remember and affirm our belief that we, who have gathered in the name of the Lord, are also the Body of Christ – His Mystical Body, the Church – taken and blessed by God, broken and given in love and in service for others.

 

His immense love that induced Him to leave the bosom of His eternal Father in order to come and take upon Himself our human frailty, found an admirable means in which He showed us His exceedingly great love. In His own name and in ours He asked the Father: Give us this day, Father, our daily bread. (Matthew 6: 11) The bread Jesus was speaking of is the Eucharist.  The immense humility of Jesus, God-made-man, is beyond our comprehension.  In His awesome humility He asks the Father to allow Him to remain with us until the end of the world! And what love of the Father for us in allowing this marvelous Presence to be perpetuated through the millennia, though the Father knows and sees His Eucharistic Son subjected to such dreadful treatment, ingratitude, indifference.  And still the Father permits and the Son desires to remain among us, to be the target of fresh insults every day!

 

As Spiritual Children of St. Francis of Assisi and our holy Mother St. Clare of Assisi, the Eucharist should be the Center of our lives.  There should be no compromise in our hearts that dares to equate the awesome Sacrament of the Extravagant Love of God in the Eucharist to some pious devotion or practice to which we have become accustomed.  We cannot emphasize enough the importance of the Eucharist in the life of all Catholics, and especially in the life of the spiritual children of the Poverello of Assisi.  A commendable and even essential goal for all the sisters and brothers of our Franciscan Families, not just our Seculars, would be to spend at least an hour of ‘quality time’ with Jesus, whether solemnly exposed in the monstrance or hidden behind the door of the Tabernacle.  It is from the Divine Radiance that emanates from the Eucharist that hearts are transformed and/or strengthened and lives live more deeply the life of God in grace, and thus become holy.  Everything else will necessarily and more easily flow from the grace‑filled gifts God will bestow upon us. Our prayers, reflections, charitable personal or communal acts, relationships among ourselves as a Franciscan Fraternity (local, regional, national, international) as with anyone we meet on the way, will all be a radiant expression of the One Great Love we have possessed by being possessed by Him.

 

O Sacrament most holy, O Sacrament divine, all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine!  Take time to repeat this simple aspiration, as well as the brief prayer of St. Francis above (We adore You most holy Lord …) often, even when you are not near a Church. Make where you are at the moment a sacred place by making Jesus present in your mind and heart. Place yourself mentally/spiritually before the Tabernacle of some church or chapel. Recognize the Lord Who waits for you. Adore Him in your heart. Thank Him for His love. Receive Him spiritually until you can receive Him sacramentally. Be grateful for Himself in the Eucharist. And, be at peace and in joy because of a Love the world cannot give that you possess and of Whom no one can deprive you, except you yourself.

 

As Mary became a living Tabernacle when the Word was made flesh within Her womb, may you be living tabernacles when you receive the Lord into your hearts in Holy Communion. As Mary was the first Monstrance who gave Jesus for all the world to see and adore, may you be living monstrances who, carrying Jesus within you, show Him to the world by what you say and do.  They will know you by your fruits.  With Jesus everything we do is fruitful and holy.

 

May God bless you; Our Lady guide, guard, and protect you; and our Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi and our holy mother St. Clare of Assisi look over each one of us, their spiritual children, with loving care.

 

Peace and Blessings

Fr. Francis A. Sariego, O.F.M. Cap.

Regional Spiritual Assistant

 

 

From the Regional Formation Director - Justin Carisio, OFS - June 2020

SKD Formation Monthly-June 2020

Statement on Racism from National JPIC Commission – US Secular Franciscan Order

Statement on Racism from the National Commission of Justice,
Peace and Integrity of Creation of the U.S. Secular Franciscan

How long, O LORD, must I cry for help and you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!” and you do not intervene?
Why do you let me see iniquity?
Why do you simply gaze at evil?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife and discord. (Habakkuk 1: 2-3)

Once again, the wound of racism in our society has been exposed because of what appears to be
careless and irresponsible behavior by persons whom we should trust to keep peace and encourage
non-violence: law enforcement officers and public officials.

The National Commission of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation of the Secular Franciscan Order
in the United States, hereby declares that racism is morally wrong. It does not love or respect life.
Neither Scripture, our Rule of Life nor our faith justifies it, for any reason, or under any circumstance.
Our Catholic social teaching calls us to respect and honor the dignity of every human life, from the
womb to natural death. It makes no exclusions on the basis of color or ethnicity and calls out no other
distinction to be excluded. We are called to honor and respect the lives of people we love and people
whom we may find it hard to love; people who are like us and people who are different from us.
The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others each have their
tragic and brutal circumstances, but share a central question that cannot be ignored: If they had been
white, and the circumstances were identical, would they be alive?
As Catholic Christians and Franciscans, we owe it to ourselves to do the following in response to
racism:
 To identify and eradicate the structures in our societal institutions that perpetuate racism, and
replace them with structures that are fair and just, and that value the lives and gifts of every
person.
 To pray for an end to racism; indeed, to pray for interracial solidarity, for our laws and our faith
practices to reflect our compassion and value for the dignity of every human life; and that we
lovers and followers of Jesus and Francis of Assisi, be leaders in bringing about a rightly
informed sense of racial equity and justice in our land and in our Church.
 To identify and confront our own unconscious racial biases. After a shared history of hundreds
of years in this country, we all have them. They make their way into our lives and culture, often
unnoticed. But we can become more just and open by discovering these unconscious biases
and replace them with love and engagement.

And finally, we need to have safe and meaningful dialogue about those racial biases. We owe it to
ourselves and to our brothers and sisters to develop a strong sense of community and fraternity
through peaceful conversations. This is truly a conversion moment where dialogue and education are
needed. Our Holy Rule calls us to be “bearers of peace” and we all must bear the burden of peace as
we walk this journey towards holiness as brothers and sisters, with open hands and joyful hearts.
Come, Holy Spirit! Lord, make it so!

Prayer to Overcome Racism

Prayer to Overcome Racism
Mary, friend and mother to all, through your Son, God has found a way to unite himself
to every human being, called to be one people, sisters and brothers to each other.
We ask for your help in calling on your Son, seeking forgiveness for the times when we have
failed to love and respect one another. We ask for your help in obtaining from your Son the
grace we need to overcome the evil of racism and to build a just society. We ask for your help in
following your Son, so that prejudice and animosity will no longer infect our minds or hearts but
will be replaced with a love that respects the dignity of each person.
Mother of the Church, the Spirit of your Son Jesus warms our hearts: pray for us.
Amen

June 2020 Thoughts for the Day by Father Francis Sariego, OFM Cap

June 2020

 

All-powerful, most holy, Almighty and supreme God,

Holy and just Father, Lord King of heaven and earth

we thank You for Yourself, for through Your holy will

and through Your only Son with the holy Spirit

You have created everything spiritual and corporal

… making us in Your own image and likeness…

We thank You.

 

Excerpts from Later Exhortation to the Brothers and Sisters of Penance.

 

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

1

Brother Francis, their servant and subject, sends esteem and reverence, true peace from heaven and sincere love in the Lord to all Christian religious people: clergy and laity, men and women, and to all who live in the whole world. – When you come to Christ, Christianity demands the personal, intimate bond. We have to be one with him and reflect the person, mind, will, heart and humanity of Christ.

2

Because I am the servant of all, I am obliged to serve all and to administer the fragrant words of my Lord to them.

Therefore, realizing that I could not visit each one of you personally because of sickness and the weakness of my body, I decided to offer you in this letter and message the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the Word of the Father, and the words of the Holy Spirit, which are spirit and life. – Faith is not the will to believe; it is the acceptance of truth based on the authority of God’s revelation.

3

The most high Father made known from heaven through His holy angel Gabriel this Word of the Father—so worthy, so holy and glorious—in the womb of the holy and glorious Virgin Mary, from whose womb He received the flesh of our humanity and frailty. – Reconciliation is inseparable from the death of Christ. We never have reconciliation without the passion, death, and resurrection of our Lord.

4

Though He was rich, He wished, together with the most Blessed Virgin, His mother, to choose poverty in the world beyond all else. – Because of sin, we all need a fresh start.

5

And as His Passion was near, He celebrated the Passover with His disciples and, taking bread, gave thanks, blessed and broke it, saying: Take and eat: This is My Body. – Let there be less of me and more of Christ.

6

And taking the cup He said: This is My Blood of the New Covenant which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. – The more ego there is, the less there is of Christ.

7

Then He prayed to His Father, saying: Father, if it can be done, let this cup pass from me. And His sweat became as drops of blood falling on the ground. Nevertheless, He placed His will in the will of His Father, saying: Father, let Your will be done; not as I will, but as You will. –The more we are Christ, the more he can use us.

8

His Father’s will was such that His blessed and glorious Son, Whom He gave to us and Who was born for us, should offer Himself through His own blood as a sacrifice and oblation on the altar of the cross: not for Himself through Whom all things were made, but for our sins, leaving us an example that we might follow His footprints. –  Christ does not open doors and give us opportunities, until we are flexible in his hands, obedient like a pencil in his hands.

9

And He wishes all of us to be saved through Him and receive Him with our heart pure and our body chaste. But, even though His yoke is easy and His burden light, there are few who wish to receive Him and be saved through Him. – Nothing in all the world is worth a moment of time except to know more of him.

10

Those who do not wish to taste how sweet the Lord is and who love the darkness more than the light, not wishing to fulfill God’s commands, are cursed; it is said of them by the prophet: Cursed are those who stray from your commands. – Christ wants us to be available so that he can display his power through us, his truth through us.

11

But how happy and blessed are those who love God and do as the Lord Himself says in the Gospel: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself. – The Christian is another Jesus.

12

Let us love God, therefore, and adore Him with a pure heart and a pure mind, because He Who seeks this above all things has said: True adorers adore the Father in Spirit and Truth. For all who adore Him must adore Him in the Spirit of truth. – When Christ becomes the rule of life, then his life becomes ours.

13

And day and night let us direct praises and prayers to Him, saying: Our Father, Who art in heaven . . . for we should pray always and not become weary. We must, of course, confess all our sins to a priest and receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ from him. –Conscience can never be covered up; guilt will always come out.

14

Whoever does not eat His flesh and drink His blood cannot enter the kingdom of God. But let him eat and drink worthily because anyone who receives unworthily, not distinguishing, that is, not discerning, the Body of the Lord, eats and drinks judgment on himself. – Conscience bothers us when it is not where it is supposed to be.

15

In addition, let us produce worthy fruits of penance. And let us love our neighbors as ourselves. And if anyone does not want to love them as himself, let him at least not do them any harm, but let him do good. – Every atheist is afraid of the dark. You don’t find atheists in foxholes.

16

Let whoever has received the power of judging others pass judgment with mercy, as they would wish to receive mercy from the Lord. Judgment will be without mercy for those who have not shown mercy. – It is not man who is on the quest for God. It is God who is on the quest for man.

17

Let us, therefore, have charity and humility and give alms because it washes the stains of our sins from our souls. For, although people lose everything they leave behind in this world, they, nevertheless, carry with them the rewards of charity and the alms they have given for which they will receive a reward and a fitting repayment from the Lord. – We need to fall in love with the Lord.

18

We must also fast and abstain from vices and sins and from an excess of food and drink and be Catholics. We must also frequently visit churches and venerate and revere the clergy not so much for themselves, if they are sinners, but because of their office and administration of the most holy Body and Blood of Christ which they sacrifice upon the altar, receive and administer to others. – When we love the Lord, we want to be one with him. That is love’s first effect.

19

And let all of us know for certain that no one can be saved except through the holy words and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ which the clergy pronounce, proclaim and minister. And they alone must minister and not others. – In prayer we shrug off the burdens of the world.

20

Religious, however, who have left the world, are bound to do more and greater things, but not to overlook these. We must hate our bodies with their vices and sins because the Lord says in the Gospel: All evils, vices and sins come from the heart. We must love our enemies and do good to those who hate us. We must observe the commands and counsels of our Lord Jesus Christ. – There will be a shrinking from the Blessed Sacrament whenever there is not a good spiritual attitude in the soul.

21

We must also deny ourselves and place our bodies under the yoke of servitude and holy obedience as each one has promised to the Lord. And let no one be bound to obey another in anything in which a crime or sin would be committed. – When we are used to seeing his divinity through the species of bread, then we will be better at seeing the image of God in people.

22

Instead, let the one to whom obedience has been entrusted and who is considered the greater be the lesser and the servant of the other brothers. And let him have and show mercy to each of his brothers as he would want them to do to him, were he in a similar position. – God does not abandon us; he makes us according to his liking, whatever it happens to be. We are not abandoned.

23

Let him not become angry at the fault of a brother but, with all patience and humility, let him admonish and support him. We must not be wise and prudent according to the flesh, but, instead, we must be simple, humble and pure. – The world we live in is the battleground of the church.

24

And let us hold our bodies in scorn and contempt because, through our own fault, we are all wretched and corrupt, disgusting and worms, as the Lord says through the prophet: I am a worm and not a man, the scorn of men and the outcast of the people. – We live in a world that challenges us.  Our summons is to resist the current that carries so many downstream.

25

We must never desire to be above others, but, instead, we must be servants and subject to every human creature for God’s sake. And the Spirit of the Lord will rest upon all those men and women who have done and persevered in these things and It will make a home and dwelling place in them. – As with Gideon, God is thinning our ranks now as then, because we are preparing for a stronger and more holy church.

26

And they will be the children of their heavenly Father, Whose works they do. And they are spouses, brothers and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ. – The Holy Spirit always works through minorities, never through majorities.

27

We are spouses when the faithful soul is united by the Holy Spirit to our Lord Jesus Christ. We are brothers, moreover, when we do the will of His Father Who is in heaven; mothers when we carry Him in our heart and body through love and a pure and sincere conscience; and give Him birth through a holy activity, which must shine before others by example. – We draw strength from our suffering brothers and sisters.

28

O how glorious and holy and great to have a Father in heaven! O how holy, consoling, beautiful and wonderful to have such a Spouse! – We must realize in minds and hearts that the only argument left to convince others is holiness.

29

O how holy and how loving, gratifying, humbling, peace-giving, sweet, worthy of love, and above all things desirable it is to have such a Brother and such a Son: our Lord Jesus Christ, Who laid down His life for His sheep and prayed to His Father, saying: Holy Father, save in your name those whom you have given me. –  Does the crucifix mean anything to us? Or do we look for Christ without the cross?

30

Let every creature in heaven, on earth, in the sea and in the depths, give praise, glory, honor and blessing To Him Who suffered so much, Who has given and will give in the future every good, for He is our power and strength, Who alone is good, Who alone is almighty, Who alone is omnipotent, wonderful, glorious and Who alone is holy, worthy of praise and blessing through endless ages. Amen – Drawing closer to the light of Christ, our fears are gone, remorse is swallowed up in the intense love of Christ.