Thoughts for the Day – January 2021 by Father Francis Sariego OFM Cap

January 2021 

He was named Jesus, the name given by the angel. (Luke 2:16-21)

Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We have come to do him homage. (Matthew 2:1-12)

Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John.  

A voice came from the heavens, “You are my beloved Son. With you I am well pleased.”  Mark 1: 7-11)

Behold, the Lamb of God. We have found the Messiah.(John 1: 235-42)

Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men. (Mark 1: 14-20)


We adore You, O Christ, and we bless you! … O Wisdom of God, you are our wisdom … O Root of Jesse, you are the vine and we are the branches … O Lord of lords, you are the newborn child … O Key of David, you are the key to the gates of heaven … O Dayspring, you are the light of the world … O Ruler of the world, you are the Lord of lords … O Emmanuel, you are God-with-us … May all the world rejoice in your coming and live in your Light and Love.

Following excerpts from Legend of Three Companions / Daily meditations from various sources 

Chapter XII





Seeing that the Lord would increase his brothers in number and merit, since there were already twelve most perfect men expressing the same belief, blessed Francis said to the eleven, he being the twelfth, their leader and father: “Brothers, I see that the Lord mercifully wants to increase our congregation. Then, going to our mother, the holy Roman Church, let us inform the Supreme Pontiff what the Lord has begun to do through us, that, with his will and command, we may continue doing what we have undertaken.” – God loves you and He loves you tenderly. Turn to His goodness with every confidence.


And since the proposal of their father pleased the other brothers, and they had embarked together with him on the journey to the Curia, he said to them: “Let us make one of us our leader and consider that man a kind of vicar of Jesus Christ, so that wherever he wants to go, we will go, and whenever he wants to rest, we will rest.” – May Jesus comfort and bless you. Dispel childish fears.


And they chose Brother Bernard, the first after blessed Francis, and, as the father said, they served him. They, then, made their way rejoicing and spoke about the words of the Lord, not daring to say anything except for the praise and glory of God and the benefit of the soul, and they frequently spent time in prayer. The Lord, on the other hand, prepared lodging for them, doing what was necessary to minister to them.- May the Infant Jesus bless, comfort, reward you for what you bear for love of Him.


When they arrived in Rome and found the bishop of the city of Assisi there, they were received with immense joy, for he honored blessed Francis and all the brothers with special affection. Not knowing the reason for their arrival, he began to be apprehensive, fearing that they might want to leave their native land, where the Lord had begun to do marvelous things through them. For he rejoiced to have in his diocese such men whose life and conduct he greatly appreciated.- Let trials be great. The One Who permits them to you is greater and more provident.


After he learned their purpose and understood their plan, however, he was overjoyed and promised them his counsel and help. The bishop was known to the cardinal bishop of Sabina, named Lord John of Saint Paul, a man truly full of God’s grace, who loved, in particular, servants of God. The bishop of Assisi made the life of blessed Francis and his brothers clear to him. On this account, he was eager to meet the man of God and some of his brothers. Hearing that they were in the City, he sent for those men and welcomed them with great reverence and love.– Religion is the academy of perfection.


During the few days they were staying with that man, they so edified him with their holy words and example, that, seeing what he had heard about them to shine in deed, he commended himself humbly and devoutly to their prayers. He even asked them, as a special grace, to be considered one of their brothers. – The soul must learn to allow itself to be smoothed by the divine Spirit.


Then asking blessed Francis the reason why he came and hearing from him their entire proposal and intention, he offered to be their procurator at the Curia. That cardinal then went to the Curia and told the Lord Pope Innocent III: “I found a most perfect man, who wishes to live according to the form of the holy Gospel, and to observe evangelical perfection in all things. I believe that the Lord wills, through him, to reform the faith of the holy Church throughout the world.” Hearing this, the lord pope was greatly amazed and had the cardinal bring blessed Francis to him. – Make positive acts of love for God and confidence in His goodness.


On the following day, therefore, the man of God was presented by that cardinal to the pope, to whom he revealed his entire holy proposal. The pope, a man of extraordinary discernment, in due fashion assented to Francis’s request, and encouraged him and his brothers in many ways. He blessed them saying: “Go with the Lord, brothers, and as He will see fit to inspire you, preach penance to everyone. When almighty God increases you in number and grace, come back to us. We will grant you more, and entrust you with a greater charge.” – Take heart and do not fear. Jesus is with you.


Before the saint left his presence, the Lord Pope wanted to know whether what had been, and what would be conceded, was according to the Lord’s will. And so, he said to him and his companions: “My dear young sons, your life seems to Us exceptionally hard and severe. While we believe there can be no question about your living it because of your great zeal, We must take into consideration those who will come after you lest this way of life seem too burdensome.” – The best way to avoid falling is to lean on the cross.


So he said to blessed Francis: “My son, go and pray that God will reveal to you whether what you ask proceeds from His will. In this way, knowing the Lord’s will, we may accede to your desires.” Once God’s saint had prayed, as the Lord Pope suggested, the Lord spoke figuratively to him in spirit (relating the story of the poor and beautiful woman with many sons) – Courage, for the Lord is closer to you than ever before.


After he completed his prayer, he presented himself to the Supreme Pontiff and narrated point-by-point the story that the Lord had revealed to him. “My lord,” he said, “I am that little poor woman whom the loving Lord, in His mercy, has adorned, and through whom He has been pleased to give birth to legitimate sons. The King of kings had told me that He will nourish all the sons born to me, because, if He feeds strangers, He must provide for His own. For if God gives temporal goods to sinful men out of love for providing for His children, how much more will He give to Gospel men who deserve these things out of merit.” – Arm yourself with the beautiful virtue of trust in the Lord.


On hearing this, the pope was greatly amazed, especially since, before blessed Francis’s arrival, he had seen in a vision the church of Saint John Lateran threatening to collapse, and a religious, small and of shabby appearance, supporting it on his own shoulders. When he awoke, stunned and shaken, as a discerning and wise man He pondered what this vision meant to tell him.- Take heed of the assurances which God gives you.


A few days later, blessed Francis came to him, made known his proposal, as we have said, and asked him to confirm the rule he had written in simple words, using the words of the holy Gospel, for whose perfection he fully longed. As he was reflecting on how enthusiastic blessed Francis was in God’s service, and comparing his vision with that shown to the man of God, he began to say to himself: “This is indeed that holy and religious man through whom the church of God will be sustained and supported.” – Praise be Jesus who is Master of your heart, and will never cease to console you.


So he embraced him and approved the rule he had written. He also gave him and his brothers permission to preach penance everywhere, with the stipulation that the brothers who preach obtain permission from blessed Francis. Afterwards he approved this in a consistory. Therefore, after obtaining these favors, blessed Francis thanked God, and on bended knees, promised obedience and reverence to the Lord Pope humbly and devoutly. The other brothers, in accordance with the precept of the Lord Pope, promised obedience and reverence to blessed Francis in a similar way. – What a consolation it is to know almost with certainty that one possesses Jesus.


After receiving a blessing from the Supreme Pontiff and visiting the tombs of the Apostles, blessed Francis and the other eleven brothers were given the tonsure. With his brothers, (Francis) set out into the world, greatly growing each day in the hope and trust of the Savior. – Our justification by God is so enormous that sacred Scripture compares it  to the resurrection of Jesus.


Chapter XIII






From then on, blessed Francis, going around the cities and villages, began to preach more widely and more perfectly proclaiming the kingdom of God with confidence, not in the persuasive words of human wisdom, but in the learning and power of the Holy Spirit. Strengthened by apostolic authority, he was a forthright preacher of truth, not using fawning words or seductive flattery, because he first convinced himself by action and then convinced others by word, so that he spoke the truth with the greatest fidelity. – God revealed His power more fully in our justification than in making heaven and earth from nothing.


Even a very great number of learned and well-educated people marveled at his power and truth, which no human had taught, and they hurried to see and hear him as if he were a person of another age. Drawn by divine inspiration, many people, well-born and lowly, cleric and lay, began to cling to blessed Francis’s footsteps, and, after they had abandoned the concerns and vanity of this world, to live under his discipline. – Non-existence has no power to resist God’s will, while the sinner is capable of resisting all of God’s wishes.


The blessed father with his sons were staying in a place near Assisi called Rivo Torto where there was a hut abandoned by all. The place was so cramped that they could barely sit or rest. Very often for lack of bread, their only food was the turnips that they begged in their need, here and there. – God’s grace has raised us to be nothing less than His own children.


The man of God would write the names of the brothers on the beams of that hut, so that anyone wishing to rest or pray would know his place, and so that any unusual noise would not disturb the mind’s silence in such small and close quarters. – God’s children are destined to reign with His Son for all eternity.


One day while the brothers were staying in that place, a peasant came with his donkey, wanting to stay in that hut with it. And so that he would not be driven away by the brothers, on walking into the hut, he said to his donkey: “Go in, go in, because we will do well in this place.” – The struggle can be harsh and the blow painful, but your gaze fixed on high.


Then the man of God said to his brothers: “I know, brothers, that God did not call us to prepare a lodging for a donkey, nor to have dealings with men. While we are preaching the way of salvation to people and are giving them wise counsel, we should dedicate ourselves most of all to prayer and thanksgiving.” – Take heart, Jesus makes you hear the same He allowed St. Paul to hear.


They left that hut for the use of poor lepers, moving to a small dwelling near Saint Mary of the Portiuncula where they stayed from time to time before acquiring that church. – Fight valiantly and you will receive the reward of strong souls.


Afterwards blessed Francis, in accordance with God’s will and inspiration, obtained it from the abbot of the monastery of Saint Benedict on Mount Subasio near Assisi. The saint, in a special and affectionate way, commended this place to the general minister and to all the brothers, as the place loved by the glorious Virgin more than any other place or church in this world. – Never abandon yourself to yourself.


A vision one of the brothers had, while in the world, contributed much to the commendation and love of this place. Blessed Francis loved this brother with unique affection as long as he was with him, by showing him extraordinary affection. – In times of great struggle and prostration turn to prayer and trust in God.


This man, wanting to serve God—as he later did so faithfully in religion—saw in a vision that all the people of the world were blind and were kneeling in a circle around the church of Saint Mary of the Portiuncula with their hands joined and their faces raised to heaven.- You will never be overcome by temptation if you turn to God in trust.


In a loud and sobbing voice, they were begging the Lord in his mercy to give them sight. While they were praying, it seemed that a great light came from heaven and, resting on them, enlightened all of them with its wholesome radiance. On awakening, the man resolved to serve God more faithfully, and, shortly thereafter, leaving the world with its seductions, he entered religion where he persevered in the service of God with humility and dedication. – The Lord will not permit any struggle to affect you that is beyond your strength.


Chapter XIV





After blessed Francis had obtained that place of Saint Mary from the abbot of Saint Benedict, he ordered that a chapter be held. At Pentecost, all the brothers used to gather at the church of Saint Mary and discuss how they could better observe the Rule. They appointed brothers throughout the various provinces who would preach to the people, and assigned other brothers in their provinces. – If you are despised by the world, enjoy it.


Saint Francis, however, used to give admonitions, corrections, and directives as it seemed to him to be according to the Lord’s counsel. Everything that he said to them in word, however, he would show them in deed with eagerness and affection. He used to revere prelates and priests of the holy Church, and honored the elderly, the noble, and the wealthy. Moreover, he intimately loved the poor, suffering deeply with them, and he showed himself subject to all. – In any privation, temptation, and trial, raise your eyes on high and redouble your courage.


Although he was more elevated than all the brothers, he still appointed one of the brothers staying with him as his guardian and master. He zealously used to admonish the brothers to observe the holy Gospel and the Rule which they had firmly promised; and particularly to be reverent and devoted about divine services and ecclesiastical regulations, hearing Mass devotedly, and adoring the Body of the Lord even more devotedly. – The Lord is with you, and there is no reason to fear.


He wanted priests who handle the tremendous and greatest sacraments to be honored uniquely by the brothers…He also admonished the brothers not to judge anyone, nor to look down upon those who live with refinement and dress extravagantly or fashionably. For, he would say, their God is ours, the Lord Who is capable of calling them to Himself and justifying those called. He also used to tell them he wanted the brothers to show reverence to these people as their brothers and lords. They are brothers, because we were all created by one Creator. – Place your desire for the world in the hands of heavenly Providence.


“The brothers’ way of life among the people should be such that whoever hears or sees them glorifies and praises the heavenly Father with dedication.” He used to tell them: “As you announce peace with your mouth, make sure that greater peace is in your hearts. Let no one be provoked to anger or scandal through you, but may everyone be drawn to peace, kindness, and harmony through your gentleness. For we have been called to this: to heal the wounded, bind up the broken, and recall the erring. In fact, many who seem to us to be members of the devil will yet be disciples of Christ.” – Maintain a tranquil heart amidst your multiple concerns.







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