July 2021 Thoughts for the Day by Father Francis Sariego, OFM Cap

July 2021

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 Anonymous of Perugia

The Anonymous of Perugia 

Chapter VIII 




On Pentecost all the brothers used to gather for a chapter near the church of Saint Mary of the Portiuncula. At the chapter they would discuss how they could better observe the Rule. They appointed brothers who would preach to the people throughout each of the provinces, and assigned brothers in their province. – Half the confusion in the world comes from not knowing how little we need

Saint Francis used to give the brothers admonitions, corrections and precepts, as it seemed best to him, after consulting the Lord. – God in heaven let me feel my nothingness to feel the greatness of your goodness. 

Everything, however, that he said in word, he would first, with eagerness and affection, show them in deed. – Why we do we say “Our Father” on Sunday and go around the rest of the week as orphans? 

He 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. – Look for the best in others and you will find the best in yourself. 

Although he was more exalted than all other brothers, he still appointed one of the brothers staying with him as his guardian and master. He humbly and devoutly obeyed him, in order to avoid any occasion of pride. – Little things and little moments are not really little. 

Among people this saint lowered his head even to the ground, and for this the Lord lifted him on high among the saints and elect in heaven. He zealously used to admonish them to observe the holy Gospel and the Rule conscientiously as they had promised; and especially to be reverent toward ecclesiastical offices and regulations; to be attentive and devoted when hearing Mass, and when they saw the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ. – When things seem at their worst, Christians must be at their best. 

They were to have reverence toward priests who handle these tremendous and greatest sacraments and, whenever they encountered them, they were to bow their heads to them and kiss their hands. – To transform the world we must first transform ourselves. 

He also admonished them not to judge or look down upon anyone, not even those who drink and eat and dress extravagantly, as stated in the Rule. “Their Lord is also our Lord. He who called us can call them, and He who willed to justify us can also justify them.” He would say: “And I wish to honor them as my brothers and masters. They are my brothers, because we are all from the one Creator; they are my masters because they help us to do penance, providing us with necessities of life.” – There is a hole in every heart that only God can fill. 

He also told them: “Let your way of life among the people be such that whoever sees or hears you will glorify and praise our heavenly Father.” His great desire was that he and his brothers would perform deeds through which the Lord would be praised. – We must fight what is wrong but do it in good humor. 


He used to tell them: “As you announce peace with your mouth, make sure that you have greater peace in your hearts, thus no one will be provoked to anger or scandal because of you. Let everyone be drawn to peace and kindness through your peace and gentleness. – It is never the wrong time to do the right thing


For we have been called to this: to cure the wounded, to bind up the broken, and to recall the erring. Many who seem to us members of the devil will yet be disciples of Christ.” – We must spend more time living our religion (charism) than arguing about it. 


On the other hand, he used to reprove them for the great austerity which they brought upon their bodies, for the brothers were then exerting too much effort in fasts, vigils, and bodily mortification … When he heard and saw this, blessed Francis reprimanded them, as we said, and ordered them not to act excessively. – Carry your cross patiently and in the end it will carry you


He was so filled with the Savior’s grace and wisdom, that he would make his admonition with kindness, his reprimand with reason, and his command with gentleness. Among the brothers assembled at chapter, not one of them dared to discuss worldly matters with anyone. Instead, they spoke about the lives of the holy fathers, or about the holiness of one of the brothers, or how they could better attain the grace of our Lord. – Kindness is loving people more than (we think) they deserve. 


If any of the brothers gathered at chapter experienced temptations of the flesh or the world, or some other kind of trial, the temptations would go away either on hearing blessed Francis who would speak fervently and sweetly, 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, so that, the words of the Apostle were fulfilled in him: Who is weak that I am not affected by it? Who is scandalized that I am not aflame with indignation? – Life can be understood backward but it must be lived forward


Chapter IX 




Once a chapter had ended, he would bless all the brothers at chapter and designated each of them throughout the provinces, as he wished. Whoever of them had the spirit of God and the eloquence for preaching—cleric or lay—to him he would give permission and an obedience to preach. They received his blessing with great happiness and joy in the Lord Jesus Christ. – Repentance is altering one’s way of looking at life


They went through the world as strangers and pilgrims, taking nothing for the journey, except the books in which they could say their Hours. Whenever they met a priest, whether rich or poor, they bowed to him, as blessed Francis had taught them, and paid their respect. When it was time to seek lodging, they preferred to stay with them, rather than with secular persons. – Repentance is taking God’s point of view and not my own


When they could not find lodging with priests, they would inquire who in that locality was a good and God-fearing person with whom they could be more suitably welcomed. After a while, the Lord inspired one such God-fearing person in each of the cities and towns they were prepared to visit to prepare a lodging for them, until, after a while, they built their own dwellings in the cities and towns. – To be controlled by the Spirit results in life and peace


The Lord gave the brothers the words and spirit suited to the time, to speak with incisive words, penetrating the hearts of many, but especially the young more than the elderly. Those who abandoned mother and father, and all their possessions, put on the habit of the holy religion. – Lighthouses blow no horns; they only shine


At that time and particularly in that religion, the word of the Lord in the Gospel was fulfilled: Do not suppose that my mission on earth is to spread peace. My mission is to spread not peace, but division. I have come to set a man at odds with his father and a daughter with her mother. – It takes years for an overnight success. 


Those whom the brothers accepted, they brought to the blessed Francis to invest them. In the same way, many women, virgins and those without husbands, hearing their preaching, would come to them with contrite hearts, saying: “And we, what are we to do? We cannot stay with you. So tell us what we can do to save our souls.” In response, they established, in every city they could, reclusive monasteries for doing penance. – We see things not as they are but as we are


They also appointed one of the brothers their visitator and corrector.  Similarly, married men said: “We have wives who will not permit us to send them away. Teach us, therefore, the way that we can take more securely.” The brothers founded an order for them, called the Order of Penitents, and had it approved by the Supreme Pontiff. – In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart


Chapter X 




The venerable father, the Lord Cardinal, John of Saint Paul, who frequently offered counsel and protection to blessed Francis, would praise the merits and deeds of blessed Francis and all of his brothers to all the other cardinals. – Aspire to do the will of God: nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. 


When they heard him, their hearts were moved to loving the brothers and each of them desired to have some brothers in his Curia, not for receiving service from them, but because of the devotion and love that they had toward the brothers. – People wait to see what we do about our religion (Franciscan charism) than what we say about it


One day when blessed Francis came to the Curia, particular cardinals asked him for some brothers; and he graciously acceded to their request. – When good people do nothing, evil triumphs


After this, the Lord inspired one of the cardinals, Hugolino, the bishop of Ostia, who loved blessed Francis and his brothers very much, not merely as a friend, but even more as a father. When blessed Francis heard of his reputation, he approached him. – Good leaders know, show and go the way


When the cardinal saw him, he received him with joy and said: “I offer myself to you for counsel, assistance, and protection as you wish, and I want you to have me remembered in your prayers.” – True spiritual vision is the ability to see the invisible. 


Blessed Francis gave thanks to the Most High for inspiring that man’s heart to offer advice, assistance, and protection, and told him: “I gladly want to have you as the father and lord of me and of all my brothers. And I want all my brothers to be bound to pray to the Lord for you.” – Build your lives on Jesus. 


Then he invited him to come to the chapter of the brothers at Pentecost. He agreed and came each year. Whenever he came, all the brothers gathered at the chapter would go in procession to meet him. As they were coming, he would dismount from his horse and go on foot with the brothers to the church because of the devotion he had for them. – If you cannot find happiness on the way, do not think that you will find happiness at the end of the road. 


Afterward he would preach to them and celebrate Mass during which blessed Francis would chant the Gospel. – One stands best who kneels the most.   

Chapter XI 



After eleven years had passed since the founding of the religion and the number of brothers had increased… They had endured many trials from clerics and laity and had been stripped by thieves, they returned to blessed Francis very embittered and depressed.   The brothers informed the Lord Cardinal of Ostia about these situations. Once he called blessed Francis to himself, he took him to the Lord Pope Honorius. After this happened and the brothers lived and preached there, many people, seeing their humble way of life, upright conduct, and their very pleasant words, came to the brothers and put on the habit of holy religion. – When we do what we can, God will do what we can’t


Blessed Francis petitioned the Lord Pope for one of the cardinals who would be the governor, protector, and corrector of this religion, as stated in the Rule. And he granted him the Lord of Ostia…Seeing the trust and love that the Lord of Ostia had for the brothers, blessed Francis loved him from the depths of his heart, and when he would write to him, he would say: “To the venerable father in Christ, Bishop of the entire world.” After a short time had passed, the Lord of Ostia was elected to the Apostolic See, according to the prophecy of blessed Francis, and is called Pope Gregory the Ninth. – Only when we learn to see the invisible will we learn to do the impossible


Comments are closed.