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

October 2020

O loving one bear in mind your poor children for whom, without you, 

their one and only consolation, there is little comfort… 

they still .. tearfully cry out to you: O father, 

place before Jesus Christ, son of the Most High Father, His sacred stigmata; 

and show Him the signs of the cross on your hands, feet, and side, 

that He may mercifully bare His own wounds to the Father, 

and because of this the Father will ever show us in our anguish His tenderness. 


(Prayer to St. Francis from the End of the Second Book of the Life of St. Francis by Bl. Thomas of Celano) 

Following are excerpts taken from The Legend of the Three Companions 




While he was completing the church of San Damiano, blessed Francis wore the habit of a hermit: a staff in his hand, shoes on his feet, and a leather belt around his waist. Then, one day at Mass, he heard those things which Christ tells the disciples who were sent out to preach, instructing them to carry no gold or silver, a wallet or a purse, bread, walking stick, or shoes, or two tunics. – How well-protected is that soul whom God has protected beneath his wings


After understanding this more clearly because of the priest, he was filled with indescribable joy. “This,” he said, “is what I want to do with all my strength.” – When the Lord works within you, you need do nothing except leave the door of your heart wide open. 

And so, after committing to memory everything he had heard, he joyfully fulfilled them, removed his second garment without delay, and from then on never used a walking stick, shoes, purse, or wallet. He made for himself a very cheap and plain tunic, and, throwing the belt away, he girded himself with a cord. – Let the Holy Spirit accomplishes what he wants in you. 

Applying all the care of his heart to observe the words of new grace as much as possible, he began, inspired by God, to be a messenger of evangelical perfection and, in simple words, to preach penance in public. – Abandon yourself to the Spirit of the Lord and do not be afraid. 

His words were neither hollow nor ridiculous, but filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, penetrating the marrow of the heart, so that listeners were turned to great amazement. – Lord anchor me to Yourself so that trials cannot defeat me. 

As he later testified, he learned a greeting of this sort by the Lord’s revelation: “May the Lord give you peace!” Therefore, in all his preaching, he greeted the people at the beginning of his sermon with a proclamation of peace. – Do not anticipate the problems of this life with apprehension but rather with perfect hope in God. 

It is certainly astonishing, if not miraculous, that this greeting of peace was used before his conversion by a precursor who frequently went through Assisi greeting the people with “Peace and good! Peace and good!”- Live tranquilly with God

It seems plausible that, as John heralded Christ but withdrew when Christ began his mission of preaching, so too, like another John, this man preceded Francis in using the greeting of peace, but disappeared when he appeared. Immediately, therefore, filled with the spirit of the prophets, the man of God, Francis, after that greeting, proclaimed peace. – Simply hold on tightly to the hand of divine providence. 

As both the truth of blessed Francis’s simple teaching as well as that of his life became known to many, two years after his conversion, some men began to be moved to do penance by his example and, leaving all things, they joined him in life and habit. – When you are unable to walk, God will lead you; do not worry


The first of these was Brother Bernard of holy memory. He knew well how luxuriously blessed Francis had lived in the world; now he observed his constancy and zeal in the divine service, how, in particular, he was restoring dilapidated churches with a great deal of work, and what an austere life he was leading. – The Father who takes care of you today will do the same tomorrow and forever. 


He planned wholeheartedly to give everything he possessed to the poor, and, with determination, to join him in life and garb. Therefore, one day approaching the man of God in secret, he disclosed his plan to him, and arranged to have him come that evening to his home. – Remove from your mind what upsets you, and say God, I trust in you. 


Thanking God, for he did not then have a companion, blessed Francis was overjoyed, especially since Lord Bernard was a person of great stature. On the appointed evening, blessed Francis came to his house, his heart filled with great joy, and spent that whole night with him. – Face the present trials with trust in divine providence who permits them


Among many things, Lord Bernard said to him: “If, for many years, someone holds on to the possessions, many or few, he has acquired from his lord, and no longer wishes to keep them, what is the better thing for him to do with them?” Blessed Francis answered that he must give back to the lord what was received from him. – Do not lose heart or become discouraged. Trust! 


And Lord Bernard said: “Then, brother, I want to give away all my worldly goods for the love of my Lord who gave them to me, as it seems best to you.” – Fight valiantly and you will achieve the gift of strong souls. 


The saint told him: “We will go to the church early in the morning and, through the book of the Gospels, we will learn how the Lord instructed his disciples.” Rising at daybreak, then, together with another man named Peter, who also wanted to become a brother, they went to the church of San Nicolò next to the piazza of the city of Assisi. – Remember the words of the Master: You have faith in God. Have faith also in me


They entered for prayer, but, because they were simple, they did not know how to find the passage in the Gospel about renunciation. They prayed devoutly that the Lord would show them his will on opening the book the first time. – Jesus is with us who suffers with us and is for us


At its first opening, the Lord’s counsel confronted them: If you wish to be perfect, go, sell everything you possess and give to the poor, and you will have a treasure in heaven. Blessed Francis was overjoyed when he read this passage and thanked God. But since he was a true worshiper of the Trinity, he desired it to be confirmed by a threefold affirmation. – Do not scatter seed in the garden of others but cultivate your own


He opened the book a second and a third time. When he opened it up the second time he saw: Take nothing for your journey, etc., and at the third opening: If any man wishes to come after me, he must deny himself, etc. Each time he opened the book, blessed Francis thanked God for confirming his plan and the desire he had conceived earlier.- Do not desire to be anything but what you are. 


 After the third divine confirmation was pointed out and explained, he said to those men, Bernard and Peter: “Brothers, this is our life and rule and that of all who will want to join our company. Go, therefore, and fulfill what you have heard.” – Concentrate on perfecting yourself


Then Lord Bernard, who was very rich, after selling all he had and acquiring a large sum of money, went and distributed it all to the city’s poor.  Peter likewise followed the divine counsel according to his means. – Few live according to their duty and the will of the Lord. Say: Thy will be done in heaven, on earth, and in me


After getting rid of everything, they both received the habit which the saint had adopted after he put aside the habit of a hermit; and, from that hour, they lived with him according to the form of the holy Gospel as the Lord had shown them.  This is why blessed Francis said in his Testament: “The Lord Himself revealed to me that I should live according to the form of the holy Gospel.” – Many start out on the path of perfection, but few arrive at the summit of the same perfection





As we have said, while Lord Bernard was giving all his possessions to the poor, blessed Francis was at his side assisting him, glorifying and praising the Lord in his heart, in awe at the astounding work of the Lord.A priest named Sylvester, from whom the blessed Francis had purchased stones for the repair of the church of San Damiano, came. Seeing so much money being given away on the man of God’s advice, he was consumed by a burning passion of greed, and said to him: “Francis, you did not completely pay me for the stones which you bought from me.” – Always have courage. 


The scorner of greed, hearing him complaining unjustly, approached Lord Bernard, and putting his hand into his cloak where the money was, in great fervor of spirit, filled it with a handful of coins, and gave them to the disgruntled priest. He filled his hand with money a second time, and said to him: “Do you now have full payment, Lord Priest?” “I have it completely, brother,” he replied. Overjoyed, he returned home with his money. But after a few days that same priest, inspired by the Lord, began to reflect on these things blessed Francis had done, and he said to himself: “Am I not a miserable man? Old as I am, don’t I still covet and desire the things of this world? And this young man despises and scorns them all for the love of God!” – There is no remedy powerful than the Eucharist


The following night he saw in a dream an immense cross. Its top reached to the heavens, its base rested fixed in the mouth of the blessed Francis, and its arms stretched from one part of the world to the other. When he woke, therefore, the priest understood and resolutely believed that Francis was indeed Christ’s friend and servant, and the religion which he founded would spread all over the world. – In the grips of spiritual difficulties run to the Lord in the Eucharist 


From then on he began to fear God and to do penance in his own home. At last, after a little while, he entered the Order in which he lived excellently and ended gloriously. – Listen to the voice of the Lord speaking in your heart


The man of God, Francis, accompanied by his two brothers, had no place to stay, so he moved with them to a poor little abandoned church, which was called Saint Mary of the Portiuncula. And there they built a little hut in which they would live from time to time. After a few days, an Assisian, named Giles, came to them and, on his knees, begged the man of God with great reverence and devotion to accept him into his company. – Jesus loves you. He wants you to belong totally to him. 


When the man of God saw how unusually faithful and devout the man was, realizing that he was able to obtain great grace from God, as later became clear by his success, he received him with open arms. These four, united in immense happiness and the joy of the Holy Spirit, separated for greater spiritual advantage. – Do not let your soul dwell on anyone else but the Lord Jesus


The saint told Brother Giles: “Our religion will be like a fisherman who casts his nets into the water catching a great number of fish, and, leaving the small ones in the water, he puts the large ones into his basket.” Thus he prophesied that the Order would expand. – Do not think of what you are unable to do, but rather, think of what you can do, and do it well


After they had traveled around that province, they returned to the place called Saint Mary’s. After a few days had elapsed, however, three other men from Assisi, Sabbatino, Morico, and John de Capella, came to them, begging blessed Francis to receive them as brothers. He received them humbly and kindly. – Place everything in the hands of God


The bishop of the city of Assisi, to whom the man of God would frequently go for counsel, receiving him kindly, told him: “It seems to me that your life is very rough and hard, especially, in not possessing anything in this world.” To which the saint said: “Lord, if we had possessions, we would need arms for our protection. For disputes and lawsuits usually arise out of them, and, because of this, love of God and neighbor are greatly impeded. Therefore, we do not want to possess anything in this world.” The man of God’s response greatly pleased the bishop. – Your soul is in the arms of God, like a baby in its mother’s arms. 


He composed several rules and tested them, before writing that which he ultimately left to the brothers. In one of them he expressed his scorn of money: “May we who have left all things, then, be careful of not losing the kingdom of heaven for so little. If we find coins anywhere, let us pay no more attention to them than to the dust we trample underfoot.”- Sleep in peace. God will guide you in the way which is to your greatest advantage. 


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