September 2019 Thoughts for the Day by Fr. Francis Sariego, OFM Cap.

September 2019

I bend my knee to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ

so that, through the prayers and merits of the

holy and glorious Virgin Mary, His Mother,

and of our most blessed father Francis and of all the saints,

the Lord Himself, Who has given a good beginning,

may give increase and may also give final perseverance.


(The Testament of St. Clare of Assisi)

The daily excerpts continue from the Papal Decree of Canonization

and Legend of our Holy Mother, St. Clare of Assisi


(St. Clare) established in the estate of the Church a garden of humility hedged in by need of a multiplicity of things in which a great abundance of virtue flourishes. – Christ alone is the world’s salvation!


This woman built in the area of religion a citadel of strict abstinence in which a vast abundance of spiritual food was administered. – Only (Christ’s) death and resurrection represent true liberation from evil and death.


This woman was the first of the poor, the leader of the humble, the teacher of the continent, the abbess of the penitents. – (Christ’s) cross is the force of reconciliation and peace; it forms the basis of hope for believers in every time and place.


This woman governed her monastery and within it the family entrusted to her with solicitude and prudence, in the fear and service of the Lord, and with the full observance of the Order: vigilant in caring, assiduous in ministering, attentive in exhorting, diligent in admonishing, moderate in correcting, measured in commanding, unwavering in compassion – … no one can consider himself the master of his brothers and sisters. The Creator is the only master of time and history.


This woman governed her monastery and within it the family entrusted to her with solicitude and prudence, in the fear and service of the Lord, and with the full observance of the Order: … discerning in silence, mature in speech, and experienced in everything pertaining to perfect government, wanting to serve more than to command, to honor than to be extolled. – Look with unyielding trust upon Christ, light in difficulty, support in time of trial, and guide in every moment of life.


Her life was an instruction and a lesson to others: in this book of life some learned the rule of living, in this mirror of life others learned to behold the paths of life. – God wants peace and mutual understanding among all human beings, who are called to be one great family.


She remained in the body on earth, yet she was dwelling in the spirit in heaven: a vessel of humility, an armoire of chastity, the fire of love, the fragrance of benevolence, the vigor of patience, the bond of peace, and the communion of familiarity; meek in word, gentle in deed, and lovable and accepting bin everything – It is in being people of integrity that we are pleasing to the Lord: ready to meet him in prayer and liturgical celebration.


Because each one is stronger after overcoming an enemy, she had only the bare ground and sometimes twigs for her bed, and a piece of hard wood as pillow for her head in order to grow stronger in spirit after her body was repressed. – We must tell the good news to all who are willing to listen.


Content with one tunic with a mantle of poor, discarded, coarse material, she used these lowly clothes to cover her body … – To build a future of serenity and solidarity, it is right to turn our gaze to the disciple of Christ … courageously presenting anew to the contemporary world the saving message of the gospel.


Strict as well in food and disciplined in drink, she restrained herself so much by abstinence from these things that for a long time she did not taste any food three days a week, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. – Love enables people to dwell spiritually in one another.


She spent day and night especially giving herself assiduously to vigils and prayers.  When she was finally laid up with long-term illness so she could not raise herself by physical exertion, she was lifted up with the help of her sisters. – Christian leaders are challenged to bear witness to the Christian truth, which inspires us to place all our talents, intellectual resources, persuasive abilities, experience, and skills at the service of God, our neighbor, and the common good of the human family.


With support for her back, she worked with her own hands not to be idle even in her sickness. – Men and women are on a journey which is humanly unstoppable – a search for the truth and a search for a person to whom they might entrust themselves.


Out of the linen made by her skill and labor, she made many corporals for the sacrifice of the altar and had them distributed throughout the plains and mountains of Assisi. – To avoid losing his way, contemporary many needs more than ever to rediscover God to rediscover himself in God.


She was above all, a lover and supporter of poverty.  She so rooted it in her spirit, so fixed it in her desires, that, firmer in love of it and more ardent in its embrace, she never departed from her stronger and delightful union with it for any necessity. – (To rediscover God and oneself) is possible only when the heart listens to the Lord in silence and in prolonged contemplation.


She could not be induced by any persuasion to consent to have any possessions in her monastery, even though Pope Gregory of happy memory, our predecessor…generously wanted to endow sufficient and appropriate possessions for the sustenance of her sisters. – May Mary help us to understand the great value of prayer. Let us ask (Her) to open our hearts to greater confidence in the Lord.


In truth, because a great and splendid light cannot be restrained from displaying the brilliance of its rays, the power of holiness shone in her life with many and various miracles. – Faith teaches us that man’s destiny is written in the heart and mind of God, who directs the course of history.


She restored the voice of one of the sisters of the monastery after it had been almost totally lost for a long time. She healed a certain brother of the Order of Lesser Ones from insanity. – Faith also teaches us that the Father puts in our hands the task of beginning to build here on earth the ‘kingdom of heaven’, which the Son came to announce.


Once when, by accident, the oil of the monastery was totally depleted, she called for the brother assigned to gather alms for the monastery.  She took a jar, washed it, and placed it empty by the door of the monastery so that the same brother would take it for acquiring oil.  When he went to pick it up, he found it filled with oil, a gift of divine generosity. –  Christ is the only Savior of humanity.  This proclamation is still as effective today as it was in the days of the early Christians.


One day only half a loaf of bread was available for feeding the sisters she commanded that half of it be distributed in pieces among the sisters.  He Who is the living bread and gives food to the hungry multiplied it in the hands of the one who broke it so that there were fifty sufficient portions made and distributed to the sisters seated at table. – Do not be afraid to welcome the cross of Christ into your life!


When she was about to die, a white-robed choir of blessed virgins crowned with glittering crowns was seen to enter the house where the servant of Christ lay ill  (and) seen to approach Claire’s bed to show, as it were, the duty of visitation and comforting the sick with a certain human zeal. – (The Cross of Christ) gives full value and meaning to life’s joys and sorrows, helping every person to make his own life a gift of love for God and neighbor.


The venerable virgin shines with glorious deeds and miracles.  What her mother heard when she was pregnant with her and was praying appears to be clearly fulfilled: that she would give birth to a light that would illumine the entire world. – A spirit of prayer and contemplation, vital to the Christian life, must be the hallmark of all we say and do.


Therefore, let Mother Church rejoice that she had begotten and reared such a daughter who as a parent fruitful with virtues has produced many daughters of religion by her example, and has trained them for the perfect service of Christ by her thorough teaching. – Those who believe in Jesus, crucified and risen, carry the cross in triumph as an indisputable proof that God is love.


Let the devout multitude of the faithful be glad that the King and Lord of heaven has chosen their sister and companion as His spouse and has introduced her with glory to his lofty and brilliant palace. – With the total gift of himself on the cross, our Savior decisively conquered sin and death.


Let the multitude of saints rejoice that the nuptials of a new royal bride are being celebrated in their heavenly midst. The universal Church venerate(s) on earth her whom the Lord exalted in heaven, because her sanctity of life and miracles are evident from the thorough and careful investigation … even though, both near and far, her deeds were widely known before this. – The vocation of a Christian is holiness.


Truly dead to the flesh she was thoroughly a stranger to the world continually occupying her soul with sacred prayers and divine praises. – The vocation of Christian holiness has its roots in baptism and is proposed anew by the other sacraments, and principally by the Eucharist.


The usual signs prove how much strength she received in her furnace of ardent prayer, how sweet the divine goodness was to her in that enjoyment. For when she returned from holy prayer, she brought from the altar of the Lord burning words that also inflamed the hearts of her sisters. – God wishes to save all his children, especially those who have gone away from him and are looking for the way back.


In fact, (the sisters) marveled that such sweetness came from her mouth and that her face shone more brilliantly than usual.  Surely, in His sweetness, God has waited upon the poor, and the True Light which was already revealed outwardly in her body, had filled her soul in prayer. – Christ is the true answer, the most complete answer to all the questions which concern the human person and his destiny.


In a fleeting world, united unfleetingly to her noble spouse, she delighted continuously in the things above. – Do not be afraid of presenting Christ to someone who does not yet know him.


On the wheel of an ever-changing world, sustained by never-changing virtue, and hiding a treasure of glory in a vessel of clay, her mind remained in the heights, her body in the depths. – Without Christ, the human person remains an unsolvable riddle.  Therefore, have the courage to present Christ!


(In St. Clare) There was no place for tepidity, no place for idleness, where a sharp reproof prodded laziness to prayer and service of the Lord. – The fullness of our human vocation: to be like God, filled with love, since it is he who ‘makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust’.


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