October Reflections by Father Sariego, OFM Cap

October 2016
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 ..
(Saint Francis of Assisi)
Following are excerpts taken from: A Letter on the Passing of Saint Francis (attributed to Elias of Assisi)
Daily reflections are taken from various sources
Before I begin to speak, I sigh, and rightly so… For what I reared has overtaken me and has overtaken you. What I dreaded has happened to me and to you. Our consoler has gone away from us and he who carried him in his arms like lambs has gone on a journey to a far off country. – God is with you, God is within you, dwell for a moment in God’s presence.
He who was beloved of God and of man, who taught Jacob the law of life and of discipline, and gave to Israel a covenant of peace has been received into the most resplendent of dwellings. We would rejoice exceedingly on his account, yet for our own part we must mourn, since in his absence darkness surrounds us and the shadow of death covers us. – Holiness is where we are.
It is a loss for all, yet it is a trial singularly my own, for he has left me in the midst of darkness, surrounded by many anxieties and pressed me down by countless afflictions. For this reason mourn with me, brothers…For we are orphans without our father and bereaved of the light of our eyes. – If you have the virtue of obedience you have all the other virtues.
(Taken from the later part of the Letter of Elias) On the fourth day before the nones of October, the Lord’s day, at the first hour of the preceding light, our father and brother went to Christ.  I am sure dearest brothers, that when this letter reaches you, you will follow the footprints of the people of Israel as they mourned the loss of their great leaders, Moses and Aaron. Let us, by all means, give way to tears for we are deprived of so great a father. – From silly devotions and sour-faced saints, may the good Lord deliver us!
The presence of our brother and father Francis was a light …  He was a light shed by the true light to give light to those who were in darkness and sitting in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace… The true Daystar from on high shone upon his heart and enkindles his will with the fire of His love. – Union with God is perfect when our will has become free of all things and clings to God alone.
By preaching the kingdom of God and turning the hearts of fathers to their children and the rebellious to then wisdom of the just, he prepared for the Lord a new people in this world.  His name reached distant coasts and all lands were in awe at his marvelous deeds. – The best way of praying is the way in which you can pray the most fervently.
Do not mourn beyond measure.  God, the father of orphans, will give us comfort by his holy consolation.  If you weep, brothers, weep for yourselves and not fr him. In the midst of life we are caught in death, while he has passed from death to life. – Do not allow aridities in prayer to trouble you, for perfection does not consist in having delights but in possessing virtue.
Rejoice, for like another Jacob, he blessed all his sons before he was taken from us and forgave them all the faults which any one of us might have committed, or even thought of committing, against him. – Devotion is devotedness: lifting our thoughts to God, loving Him, living with Him.
And now, after telling you these things, I announce to you a great joy and the news of a miracle.  Such a sign that has
 never been heard of from the dawn of time except in the Son of God, who is Christ the Lord. – No heart can ever be empty when God is in it. And He will always be in the heart when we pray!
Not long before his death, our brother and father appeared crucified, bearing in his body the five wounds which are truly the marks of Christ.  His hands and his feet had as it were the openings of the nails and were pierced front and back revealing the scars and showing the nails’ blackness.  His side, moreover, seemed opened by a lance and often emitted blood. – If there has been any good in me, and if any fruit has grown from my littleness, it was due entirely to the help of the grace of God.
As long as his spirit lived in the body, there was no beauty in him for his appearance was that of a man despised.  No part of his body was without great suffering. – To do good without God’s help is as im possible as to make the sun shine at night.
His limbs were stiff, much like those of a dead man.  But after his death, his appearance was one of great beauty gleaming with dazzling whiteness and giving joy to all who looked upon him. – God is a generous spender, tossing the coins of His grace everywhere with Divine abandon.
His limbs, which had been rigid, became marvelously soft and pliable, so that they would be turned this way and that, like those of a child. Therefore, brothers, bless the God of heaven and earth and praise Him before all, for He has shown His mercy to us. – Grace ignored ultimately means grace withheld, grace repudiated, grace denied.
Hold fast the memory of our father and brothers, Francis, to the praise and glory of Him Who made him so great among people and gave him glory in the sight of angels. – Self-reform is impossible, at least difficult and disheartening, without sel-knowledge.
Pray for him, as he begged us, and pray to him that God may make us share with him in his holy grace. Amen. – Knowledge of self is a life-long study. It embraces all that is ours…enlightened by faith.
Indeed, it is in keeping with our love for him that we rejoice with Francis.  Still, it is right to mourn him! It belongs to us to rejoice with Francis, for he has not died but gone to the fair in heaven… – Lord, grant that I may know You, grant that I may know myself.
At the same time, it is right for us to weep for Francis.  He who came and went among us, as did Aaron, who brought forth from his storehouse bot the new and the old and comforted us in all our afflictions, has been taken from our midst.  Now we are like orphans without a father. – A saint is person like us who gets what he wants by working for it…a life-time.
Because it is written, the poor depend on you and you are the helper of orphans, all of you dearest brothers, must earnestly pray that, though this earthen jar has been broken in the valley of Adam’s children, the Most High Potter will deign to repair and restore another of similar honor, who will rule over the multitude of our race and go before us in battle like a true Maccabee. – We must speak to those in need with our hands before we speak to them with our lips.
Francis the servant and friend of the Most High, founder and leader of the Order of Lesser Brothers, the practitioner of poverty, the model of penance, the herald of truth, the mirror of holiness, and exemplar of all Gospel perfection, foreordained by grace from heaven, in ordered progression, from the lowest level arrived at the very heights. – The shortest road to heaven is the way of the cross.
The Lord made incomparably more brilliant in death this marvelous man, whom he had made marvelously bright in life… – To persevere bravely in spite of the lack of sweetness and relish in prayer – this is the sign of the spirit of God.
(He made him) rich in poverty, exalted in humility, vigorous in mortification, ,prudent in simplicity, distinguished in the integrity of life. – Holiness is a process of slow steady and growth: of trying, failing, trying, failing, and still undaunted, trying again.
After this blessed man left the world, that sacred spirit … left certain signs of future glory imprinted on his body; so that his holy flesh … bore the likeness of Christ’s passion by a singular privilege and would offer by the newness of a miracle a glimpse of the resurrection. – We cannot become good by wishing for it but by working for it.
In his blessed hands and feet could be seen the nails that had been marvelously fashioned by divine power of his flesh, and thus embedded in the flesh. – If we are to reach heaven by a devout life, sky-gazing and daydreaming will not help.  We must come down to earth, plant our feet firmly on the ground, and take one step at a time, like a child learning how to walk.
The wound in his side could be clearly seen, which was not inflicted on his body nor produced by human means; it was like the wound in the Savior’s side… – The most crippling obstacle to holiness is our expecting too much too soon…A great saint said: I shall be very happy if I am free of all imperfections only fifteen minutes before I die.
His sons were weeping at the loss of so lovable a father but were filled withy no little joy while they kissed the seal marks of the Supreme King in him. – God who has promised pardon to the penitent sinner, has nowhere promised him who delays his conversion a tomorrow to do penance in.
So unique and so remarkable was the sight to all who observed it that it confirmed their faith and incited their love. – If we are determined to do good and become holy, if tomorrow, why not now!
When the people heard of the passing of our blessed father and news of the miracle had spread, they hurried to the place to see with their own eyes so that they could dispel all doubt and add joy to their love. – Too late have I loved You, O Beauty ever ancient and ever new, too late have I loved You.
A great number of the citizens of Assisi were admitted to contemplate the sacred marks with their own eyes and to kiss them with their lips. – Without penance we shall never advance beyond mediocrity.
The venerable father left the shipwreck of this world in the 1226th year of the Incarnation of the Lord, on the fourth day of the nones of October, a Saturday evening, and was buried on Sunday. Immediately, the holy man began to reflect the light radiating from the face of God … – Too many people are curious to know the lives of others, but careless to amend their own.
in different parts of the world, his glorious miracles and the abundant benefits obtained through him, inflamed many to devotion to Christ and incited them to reverence for his saint. – Without repentance there will be nom reform of self; without reform of self there will be no progress in virtue; and without progress in virtue we shall never come closer to God.
The wonderful things which God was working through his servant Francis – acclaimed by word of mouth and testified to by facts – came to the ears of the Supreme Pontiff, Gregory IX…(who) was fully convinced of Francis’ remarkable holiness: not only from hearing of the miracles after his death, but also from his own experience during his life…He had no doubt that Francis was glorified in heaven by the Lord … – Live the Gospel without compromise, live like Christ…

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