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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.

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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.

 

June 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      website: skdsfo.org    email: pppgusa@gmail.com

June 2020

Dear Sisters and Brothers in St. Francis,

The Lord give you His peace!

The future of the Church, as always, will be decisively influenced yet again by the saints. (The Church in the Year Two Thousand, 1970, Joseph Ratzinger)

These are powerful words the professor who was called to leave the ’comfort  zone’ of his academic environment, that he loved so much and in which he found fulfillment of his academic desires, to let go, to leave, and to enter the ’hub’ of Catholicism, Rome. The future he expected was definitely not the ’future’ he was thrust into by the Spirit of God.

Faith is not merely a noun but an exciting an active verb. Our Faith is not solely a matter of what we believe with our minds, but an active profession and constant ’development’ in life of what is proclaimed with the lips and explained so exhaustively at times in sermons and writings.  Faith leads us into a realm we could never enter were it not for this gift. Faith helps us to see with the heart what our senses cannot always perceive.  Faith helps us to know without seeing that Someone greater than ourselves is the life-giving Source that creates as an overflowing of His Eternal Love.

Coming from Love Who is The Other (God Father, Son, Holy Spirit) it follows that Eternal Love wills not to destroy anything created to His own image and likeness.  We are created as an overflowing of that Eternal Love. If then we are called to share the Life of God, it follows that we are created for and called to Holiness.  Holiness too is not a noun that indicates some very limited and at times erroneous explanations of what it means to be ’in the world but not of the world’.  Holiness is an action word (verb) indicating a decisive direction taken towards the fulfillment of our purpose for being created: to be one with God for all eternity; in other words to be saints!

Be holy because I am holy (Leviticus 11:44; 19:2).  As he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect and conduct, for it is written, ’Be holy because I am holy’. Now, if you invoke as Father him who judges impartially according to each one’s works, conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning, realizing that you were ransomed …with the precious blood of Christ as of a spotless unblemished lamb. (1 Peter 1: 15-19) You are not in the flesh, on the contrary, you are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you … But if Christ is in you … the spirit is alive because of righteousness … if you live … by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body … For those led by the Spirit of God are children of God … and if children then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may be glorified with him. (Romans 8: 9-17)

St. Peter and St. Paul, the great columns of our Faith, whose solemnity we celebrate in this month dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, speak so simply in their letters to the faithful. They remind them and us of who we are and how we are to let our lives enter the open door of the Father’s Love for us – the Sacred Heart of Jesus His Son.  The pierced Heart of Jesus is the Door to Life thrown wide open on Calvary for all by the lance of the centurion. That pierced Heart offers us access into the loving embrace of our Heavenly Father. That is where we ’find’ holiness, and how we ’become’ holy. Nevertheless, there are a number of ways we imagine holiness and strive to ’be’ or ’become’ holy.

–   Holiness is a life lived in the Spirit, Who leads and transforms us according to His will.

–   Holiness is the exclusive characteristic of God, of His very essence that becomes, or better to say should become, ours as well from the moment that God gave Himself to us, took us to Himself, made us His own, transforms us, and raised us that we might be holy and unblemished before Him (Ephesians 1:4) … to equip the holy ones for the work of the ministry, for building up the body of Christ … (Ephesians 4: 12)

–   Holiness is allowing oneself to be possessed by the Master within us and permit Him to transform our lives and our minds and hearts.  You are gods, all of you sons of the Most High. (Psalms 82:6) Jesus answered, ’Is it not written in your law, I said, ‘You are gods?’… Can you say that the one whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world blasphemes because I have said, ’I am the Son of God?’ (John 10: 34 – 36)

–   Holiness is commitment, decisiveness, initiative, divine action that envelops us in love and introduces our minds and hearts to the true image of the world in which we live.

–   Holiness is a divine offer for us to enrich our relationship with God and be open to God’s transforming grace.

–   Holiness knowingly accepts the Mystery of the One Who calls.  It is a participation in the immensity of God’s gifts and love graciously placed at our disposal.

–   Holiness is being what we were created to be. Holiness is willingly allowing all to happen in our life, through the fruits of our works consecrated by our free will offering to God of all we are and have.

–    Holiness is actively accepting and fulfilling whatever leads us to live in the mystery of God … and so much more.

The saints have always been the fonts and origins of renewal during good times and during the difficult times of all history, and particularly that of the Church. Every age has dire need for saints to indicate the way for people today to live the Gospel values we profess.  For this grace we must never stop imploring God. As we implore the saints’ presence, prayers and protection, let us not forget that we are all called to be saints. Canonized saints are few compared to the myriad of holy people who have lived down through the centuries.  The holiness and ’sainthood’ of which we speak is our life of conformity to God’s will in all things, at all times, in all ways, because God wills it.

When we pray Thy will be done, most probably we do not really reflect on the impact the realization of those words would have on our life. Yet, that is what all God-loving people strive for an entire lifetime! To live in the will of ’The Other’ Who is God, is to live what God wills, to live in His love, and thus to be holy, different, not to conform to this world but to be transformed by the renewal of your mind (Romans 12:1-2).  We can offer the age in which we live this most valid witness of the authenticity of our Faith and the ever present power of the Holy Spirit at work in the lives of those available to His prompting. Holiness does not necessarily change what a person does, but it most definitely changes or enhances why and how the person does it.

As Brothers and Sisters and Spiritual Children of the Poverello of Assisi, we should all be intent on becoming saints.  ’Penitents of Assisi’, are called to witness the power of Eternal Love that makes us a ’leaven’ in the world to help people rise to full stature of the children of God, and a ’light’ to enlighten those who walk in the darkness of disorientation, difficulty, doubt and so much more that inhibits one from recognizing the presence of a good and loving God in their life.

Holiness is not relegated to a once-a-month gathering of a few hours.  Nor can we believe that reciting prayers will make us holy; they serve to help keep our hearts focused on God so that we can live holy lives and Be Holy! Holiness is a lifetime experience that reaches its fullness only when the Father calls us home to eternity.  Since life is the preparation for Life, we must strive to progress, even if ever so slowly, to grow in our relationship with God and live in His grace, or we will definitely backslide quickly beyond the point from which we had begun. The going gets more demanding each time we have to ’begin again’.

We must rid ourselves of mediocrity!  Mediocrity and lukewarmness are similar attributes of those who care less about things, and thus are careless about their spiritual growth. How we are within ourselves usually determines how we live our lives and interact with others. The spirit and the body form the one person.  How the spirit grows will influence how the body (person) acts.  When we are mediocre and tepid in our spiritual life and to those ’things’ that pertain to our eternal salvation, then the matter is serious. In the Book of Revelation, the Lord speaks to the Church of Laodicea saying: Because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth. (Revelation 3: 16)

The Holy Spirit fills the person with spiritual fruits and gifts that flow from God’s loving and abundant grace, and the person’s cooperation and collaboration with the working of the Holy Spirit.  Once the Spirit is within a person,  how can anyone sit back and not allow the power of God and the Spirit to excite, encourage and enable the person to let go and let God?!  The word ’enthusiasm’ itself easily refers to the power of the Holy Spirit.  Two Greek words form the essence of the word: ’en’’ in, and ’theos’ ’ God. Thus enthusiasm deals with ’the God within’, the God within each one of us.  How can anyone remain spiritually lethargic when God and His graces are working within us! Although particular conditions and circumstances may impede certain physical actions, no one can hold back a heart enthused from being open to God in His Spirit!

Holiness is not unattainable.  Holiness is a ’universal call’ challenging everyone.  Holiness is not ’things to do’ or ’words to say’, though they are all helpful and necessary.  Holiness is a Person: GOD!  Jesus has shown us the loving face of the Father.  St. John reminds us: God so loved the world that He sent His Son … not to condemn the world but that the world should be saved through Him (John 3: 16)   Let us follow the example of the holy ones we honor and venerate. Our Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi, our Holy Mother St. Clare and all the saints, St. Joseph, Our Blessed Mother and Jesus Himself, all tell us through word and example, that no matter what we do and say to help us keep on the road to holiness only one essential thing is required that is infallible and always successful, God’s Will.  The will of God is that we be holy, thus Holiness is to live in God’s will!

In the Universal Prayer attributed to  Pope Clement XI we read: Lord, I will whatever You will, I will it because You will it, I will it in the way you will it, I will it for as long as You will it.  There are no conditions, reservations, fine print clauses, or anything at all that might compromise the totality of the fulfillment of God’s Most Holy Will in our life. If that is our prayer, each day, and we are faithful to that prayer, then the obvious result must be that we are one with God’s will, thus one with God’s grace, and, it follows, we are becoming holy!  To be ’holy’ is to Live God’s Will without gloss, as Our Seraphic Father told his brothers who accepted to live the life of the friars as a response to God’s call. We are all ’saints in progress’, rough pieces of material in the hands of the Master Who will fashion us into the best work we can become, as long as we cooperate with His grace and designs for us.  Let our prayer always be as Jesus taught us: Father, Your Will be done on earth as it is in heaven!

May God bless us; may Mary, Queen and Mother of our Seraphic Family, keep us in the depths of Her Immaculate Heart; and may Our Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi watch over each one of us, his Spiritual Children, with loving care.

May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be a constant reminder of God’s Extravagant Love for us, and through Jesus’ obedience even to death, may we live the Father’s Will to Life Eternal, always obedient to the prompting of the Holy Spirit within.

Peace and Blessings

Fr. Francis A. Sariego, O.F.M. Cap.

Regional Spiritual Assistant

 

 

 

May 2020, Fifth Anniversary of Laudato Si – Jeff Redder, OFS JPIC Animator

With the start of Laudato Si Week today and the recent conclusion of the National JPIC Commission Conference, I prepared the attached newsletter for local fraternities to use to promote JPIC.

Of important note is our call to pray on Sunday, May 24th at noon (local time) as part of a global Care for Creation.

Hopefully this will bring you all up to date on what is happening at the National Level and local level concerning JPIC.  As you will see, we all need to pray over our outlook and our understanding of what JPIC means to each of us.  There is always room for lots of dialogue and discussion when we can get back together as fraternities, because I know how we all miss the company and togetherness.

May God continue to watch over each of us as we continue with our daily lives!

Yours in Christ,

Jeffrey C Redder, OFS

SKD Regional JPIC Animator

May 2020-SKD JPIC Animator Laudato-Si-Bulletin-Insert USCCB Laudato-Si-discussion-guide

May, 2020, from the Regional Minister

Along With Everything Else in the World, Communicating Has Turned Upside Down!

Oh, the times we live in!  Could you ever imagine (outside of a Stephen King novel) that churches are locked, most people are not working, most retail business is closed and in order to go out of your house, you must wear a mask!?  Who would have thought? I’m not sure even Stephen King could dream up all that we have been through in the last two months that feel like two years. And I haven’t even touched on the virus itself and how it is robbing us of our loved ones, our health, our peace of mind, our livelihood, and our lives as we knew them.

Nothing is the same;  we’ve been shaken to our boots and yet, here we are.  Many of our local Councils and fraternities have met through conference calls or ZOOM meetings. Formation has started up again using some form of meeting virtually.  The only way to attend Mass is by watching it on TV or streaming on the computer.  Who would have thought??

But…………… and you knew that was coming, right!?  There are many good things coming out of the pandemic.  We have prayed the rosary together on the phone and we prayed the Stations of the Cross and the Divine Mercy Chaplet….on the phone.  Who would have thought?  The first night of the rosary, there were 80 of us on that call.  And although the parts where we prayed together sounded like a joyful Tower of Babel, we were one, saying one prayer with one purpose.  Who would have thought??

I was asked the other night what ministries we can be involved in with all these restrictions.  My immediate answer was “We are each other’s ministries!”  We need to check in with each other on a regular basis.  And that is not a task that has the ministers’ names on it.  It is something all of us can and need to be doing.  And I’m going to up the ante.  S-T-R-E-T-C-H those dusty Franciscan skills and call someone from your fraternity that you don’t regularly talk to or sit with at meetings or maybe don’t even like. It doesn’t have to be a long conversation and if it helps, write down a couple questions before you call.  Then, if the conversation lags for some reason, you are ready with some backup topics.  We have been given the gift of time and wouldn’t it be such a blessing all around if we actually got to know one another better?  Who would have thought??!!

We need to learn how to communicate and convey our love and joy….from behind the masks we are wearing.  That’s a skill that is going to take some work. If all someone can see of us is our eyes, are they getting the kindness our smile would normally be conveying?

When I was in high school – oh so long ago! – I went on a weekend retreat and late on Saturday afternoon, we were given the hardest task in the world.  We had arrived on Friday after school and the group consisted of high school seniors from the local Catholic high schools.  We were assigned rooms so we couldn’t bunk with our best friends.  We were separated into groups that had a good mix of kids from different schools.  And then we were assigned places at table for meals.  All to have us with someone we didn’t know.  And then came the group task on Saturday afternoon.  After listening to a wonderful presentation on forgiveness and accepting people as they are, each of us was told to go pair up with someone who we didn’t particularly like.  What a humbling experience.  We each had to go to someone we didn’t like and say, will you be my partner in this exercise.  At that point, we didn’t know what the exercise was.  For each pair, one was the leader and one was being led.  The one being led was blindfolded and taken outside by the leader and taken on a Blind Faith Walk.  The blindfolded one could not speak and had to rely on the leader to tell him or her when to turn, when to step up, when to step over and these directions were coming from someone we admittedly didn’t like!  So how hard can it be to pick up the phone and check in on someone?  Now, don’t get the wrong idea and think that anyone who calls you is someone who doesn’t like you!!  Look at it as the one who called you would really like to get to know you a little better and as a Secular Franciscan, is reaching out in love and concern to see how you are doing.

We all know this isn’t going to be over any time soon so I would like to go even further and perhaps once a month, have each minister trade phone lists with another minister and have the folks in your fraternity call from the list of another fraternity.  We might really end up knowing each other!  Who would have thought??  And the answer is simple.  Who would have thought?  God.  Pure and simple.  The pandemic has given us a lot of lemons.  God has given us the recipe for lemonade.

“Let each one confidently make known his need to another that the other might discover what is needed and minister to him. Let each one love and care for his brother as a mother loves and cares for her son in those matters in which God has given him the grace.” St. Francis   ~ St. Francis of Assisi, The Earlier Rule, (IX: Begging Alms), 71  Thanks, Cindy Louden, OFS, for this beautiful and very appropriate portion of The Earlier Rule

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

May 2020

 

Hail, O Lady, holy Queen, you are the virgin made church

and the one chosen by the most holy Father in heaven

whom He consecrated with His most holy beloved Son

and with the Holy Spirit the Paraclete,

in whom there was and is all the fullness of grace and every good.

Hail, His Palace! Hail, His, Tabernacle! Hail, His Home!

Hail, His Robe! Hail, His Servant!  Hail, His Mother!

And hail all you holy virtues which through the grace and light of the Holy Spirit

are poured into the hearts of the faithful so that from

their faithless state you may make them faithful to God.

(Salutation of the Blessed Virgin)

 

(below: first quote from Franciscan sources – second quote from various spiritual writers)

1

It was not that he was a man who prayed, than he himself was a living prayer. (2 Celano,chpt.95) – Abraham hoped everything would stay put, but he left everything and everyone on God’s word and traveled into the unknown.

2

His sure harbor was prayer not for a moment, but profoundly devout, humble and prolonged as much as possible.  If he began at night, with difficulty he ended his prayer in the morning. (1 Celano,chpt.71) – Like Abraham, we are sustained by not simply a promise, but by the Promise of God which was fleshed out in Jesus.

3

Often, almost daily, he withdrew secretly to pray.  He was inclined to do so by that same tenderness he had tasted  earlier, which now visited him ever more frequently, driving him to prayer in the piazza and in other public places. (Three Companions,chpt.3)  – Moses longed to see his dreams completed and stopped short of the land he was allowed to see but not enter.

4

Francis, totally unaware of earthly desires through love of Christ, strove to keep his spirit present to God by praying without ceasing lest he be without them consolation of the Beloved. (Major Legend,chpt.10) – It was enough for Moses to be given evidence of the future to die fulfilled and in peace.

5

The man of God gathered with his companions. They spent their time praying incessantly, directing their efforts mentally rather than vocally to devoted prayers, because they did have liturgical books from which to chant the canonical hours. (Major Legend,chpt.4) – Joseph, in spite of the rough breaks he had experienced since being sold by his brothers, refused to quit.

6

Let all the brothers always strive to exert themselves in doing good works. Servants of God, therefore, must always apply themselves to prayer or some good work. (Earlier Rule,chpt.7) – God intends you to be the person on whom He has conferred a unique “personhood”. God has committed Himself to you. Agree to do the same to Him.

7

Let us always make a home and a dwelling place for Him Who is the Lord God Almighty, father, Son and Holy Spirit, Who says: Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent. When you stand to pray say: Our Father in heaven. (Earlier Rule,chpt.22) – David wanted to build a monument to God but had to prepare the material for another to build.

8

Those brothers to whom the Lord has given the grace of working may work faithfully and devotedly so that, while avoiding idleness, the enemy of the soul, they do not extinguish the Spirit of holy prayer and devotion to which all temporal things must contribute. (Later Rule,chpt.5) – You who are meant to be part of God’s family,  are one of the community of the Crucified One; you too must crucify self and forget ego trips. Trust Him!

9

I admonish and exhort the brothers in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to pay attention to what they must desire above all else: to have the Spirit of the Lord and Its holy activity, to pray always to Him with a pure heart, to have humility and patience in persecution and infirmity. (Later Rule,chpt.10) – Elijah was so demoralized he wanted to give up, but God knew the inner strength of Elijah and gave him a firm >no=.

10

I am pleased that you teach sacred theology to the brothers providing that, as is contained in the Rule, you do not extinguish the Spirit of prayer and devotion, during study of this kind. (Letter to St. Anthony) – There is no permanent retirement for a Christian, only temporary respites from time to time to rest and reequip.

11

Francis used to say that, because of the office of prelacy or of zeal for preaching, they should not abandon holy and devout prayer, going for alms, and working at times with their hands, and performing other humble tasks like the other brothers, for good example and for the benefit of their souls, as well as others. (Mirror,chpt.73) – Jonah tried to run away from God’s Will and acceptance of his responsibilities, but he could not run from God.

12

He said that (ministers of the word of God) were heralds chosen by a great king. For he used to say: The preacher must first secretly draw in by prayer what he later pours out in sacred preaching; he must first of all grow warm on the inside, or he will speak frozen words on the outside.  (2Celano,chpt.122) – God still replies in the negative to those who claim a special relationship, but try to escape from responsibilities, or fall into a narrow, self-centered outlook.

13

(Description of General Minister) He must be a committed friend of holy prayer, who can distribute some hours for his soul and others for the flock entrusted to him. (2Celano,chpt.139) – Job questioned God and demanded answers, but God gave him no answers; His questions were more profound and penetrating.

14

They never or hardly ever stopped praying and praising God. They gave thanks to God for the good done. They would have thought themselves abandoned by God if they did not experience in their ordinary prayers that they were constantly visited by the spirit of devotion. (1Celano,chpt.15) – We present-day Jobs also are promised God’s sufficiency. He gives more than answers. He shares His life with us.

15

They were so devoted to prayer that there was no hour of the night that someone could not be found at prayer in the oratory. (Thomas Eccleston,#27) – The God who has committed Himself to us insists on a like-minded commitment.

16

The brothers at that time begged him to teach them how to pray, because, walking in simplicity of spirit, up to that time they did not know.  (1Celano,chpt.17) – The “covenanting” God has given His word to us that He will not desert us.  That promise has been sealed in blood – literally!

17

He implored divine clemency to show him what he had to do. (Major Legend,chpt.1) – The cross has been so sentimentalized by so many generations of songwriters and preachers that it no longer has any sting.

18

He had recourse to prayer that he might insistently implore what the will of God was regarding some specific matter. (Major Legend,1) – You have been given the gift of living and dying just one death. You may lay down your e energies, your time, and your goods for others, or you may stockpile self until it crushes you.

19

Fasting and weeping, he earnestly prayed for the savior’s mercy, and lacking confidence in his own efforts, he cast his care upon the Lord. (1Celano,chpt.5) – Time does not necessarily heal all wounds; sometimes it merely covers them with scar tissue.

20

Foreseeing the great things that God would do through him and his Order, he was calling and praying to God that, by his mercy and omnipotence, without which human frailty can do nothing, he should supply, help, and fulfill that which he could not do by himself. (Little Flowers,chpt.2) – Jesus has called “friend” the one we would label “enemy”; He pronounces them subjects of concern rather than objects of contempt.

21

Francis said: Wait for me a bit, because I first want to pray to God that He make our journey fruitful, that Christ, by virtue of His most holy passion, be pleased to give us poor and weak men this noble prey that we are  planning to take from the world. (Little Flowers,chpt.37) – Peter tried to bury his guilt of denial and grief of loss in work; he could not forget or conceal in activity his “failure”.

22

He saw St. Francis devoutly at prayer before Christ, who had appeared to him during that prayer and was in front of him. He saw Francis lifted up bodily from the earth.  Because of this he was touched by God and inspired to leave the world. (Little Flowers,chpt.37) –The Resurrection is God’s mighty “no” to depression and death.

23

He never ceased crying out to God with humble prayers and fervent affection, that God would protect the Order and grant salvation to all the friars, present and future. (Angelo Clareno) – A beggar pleaded for a handout and was given a hand up. God gives us His gifts that we may learn to help ourselves.

24

As blessed Francis got up, he joined his hands and, lifting his eyes to heaven, said: Lord, I give back to You the family which until now you have entrusted to me. (2Celano,chpt.104) – We carry the name “Christian” and stand strong in its meaning.

25

Once while his vicar was holding a chapter, he was praying in his cell, as the go-between and mediator between his brothers and God. (Major Legend,chpt.11) – Paul begged for healing and was given a thorn in the flesh, and a reminder that “my strength is sufficient”.

26

After I resigned my office among the brothers because of my illnesses, I am not bound at all except to pray for the religion and to show good example. The greatest help I can render to the religion is to spend time everyday in prayer to the Lord for it.  (Mirror,#81) – St. Teresa: Lord when will you cease to strew our path with obstacles? And the Lord: Don’t complain, this is how I treat my friends.  St. Teresa: Dear Lord, that is why You have so few.

27

The abbot of the monastery of San Giustino happened to meet Saint Francis. He humbly asked him to pray for him, and Saint Francis replied: My Lord, I will willingly pray. When the abbot had ridden away, he said to the brother with him: Wait for me a little while, brother, for I want to pay the debt I promised. (2Celano,chpt.117) – There is a certain enjoyment of unpleasant places when the challenges they offer help us to grow.

28

A pilgrim while in the body, away from the Lord, Francis, man of God, strove to keep himself present in spirit to heaven. With all his soul he thirsted for his Christ. We will tell about the wonders of his prayer, things that we have seen with our own eyes. (2Celano,chpt.61) – The all-powerful Lord turns even the causes of our curses into good.

29

He found (Greccio) rich in poverty and there, in a remote little cell on a cliff, he could give himself freely to heavenly things.  (2Celano,chpt.7) – Jesus is not a “departed hero”, a “deceased leader”, but the living Lord, Who does not leave us to fend for ourselves.

30

Brother Body should be cared for with discernment so it won’t get weary keeping vigil and staying fervently at prayer. (2Celano,chpt.92) – At the time when the outlook seems most bleak and pessimistic, God frequently opens new doors.  Sometimes, God seemingly allows roadblocks because He has bigger plans for us.

31

When he returned from his private prayers, in which he was changed almost into a different man, he tried his best to resemble the others, lest, if he appeared glowing, the breeze of favor might cancel what he had gained. (2Celano,chpt.65) – “Help” signals often are hard to pick up. God, however, patiently waits for us to be sensitive enough to detect those signs and signals from others.