Daily Thoughts – October 2021 – By Father Francis Sariego, OFM Cap

October 2021 

 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)


The following excerpts continue our daily meditations taken from  

The Legend of the Three Companions 

And other spiritual writers 


Chapter V 




One day, when he was more passionately begging for the Lord’s mercy, the Lord showed him that he would be told in the near future what he must do. From that moment on, he was filled with such great joy, that, failing to restrain himself in the face of happiness, he carelessly mentioned some of his secrets to others. – God is with you, God is within you, dwell for a moment in God’s presence.  


He nevertheless spoke cautiously and in riddles, saying that he did not want to go to Apulia, but that he would accomplish great and noble deeds at home. His companions noticed the change in him, indeed he was already estranged from them in his thoughts, even though he sometimes joined their company.- Holiness is where we are.


And so they asked him as a joke: “Francis, do you want to get married?” He replied to them in a riddle, as we mentioned above. A few days had passed when, while he was walking by the church of San Damiano, he was told in the Spirit to go inside for a prayer. – If you have the virtue of obedience you have all the other virtues.


Once he entered, he began to pray intensely before an image of the Crucified, which spoke to him in a tender and kind voice: “Francis, don’t you see that my house is being destroyed? Go, then, and rebuild it for me.” Stunned and trembling, he said: “I will do so gladly, Lord.” For he understood that it was speaking about that church, which was near collapse because of its age. – From silly devotions and sour-faced saints, may the good Lord deliver us! 


He was filled with such joy and became so radiant with light over that message, that he knew in his soul that it was truly Christ crucified who spoke to him. Upon leaving the church, he found a priest sitting nearby and, putting his hands into the pouch, he offered him a handful of coins. “My Lord,” he said, “I beg you, buy some oil and keep the light before the Crucified burning continually. When this money runs out, I will again give you as much as you need.” – Union with God is perfect when our will has become free of all things and clings to God alone.


From that hour, therefore, his heart was wounded and it melted when remembering the Lord’s passion. While he lived, he always carried the wounds of the Lord Jesus in his heart. This was brilliantly shown afterwards in the renewal of those wounds that were miraculously impressed on and most clearly revealed in his body. – The best way of praying is the way in which we can pray the most fervently.


Once he was walking by himself near the church of Saint Mary of the Portiuncula, weeping and wailing loudly. A spiritual man, overhearing him, thought he was suffering some sickness or pain. Moved by piety for him, he asked why he was crying. “I am crying because of the Passion of my Lord,” he said, “for whom I should not be ashamed to go throughout the world crying in a loud voice.” – Perfection does not consist in having spiritual delights but in possessing virtue.


Frequently, even when he got up from prayer, his eyes seemed full of blood because he was crying with such bitterness. But, in memory of the Lord’s passion, not only did he afflict himself in tears, he also did so by abstaining from food and drink.- Devotion is devotedness: lifting our  thoughts to God, loving Him, living with Him.


Whenever he would eat with seculars, and they would give him some delicious food, he would eat only a little of it, offering some excuse so that it would not seem he was refusing it because of fasting. When he ate with his brothers, he often sprinkled ashes on the food he was eating, telling a brother, as a cover for his abstinence, that “Brother Ash” was chaste.- No heart can ever be empty when God is in it.


Once, when he sat down to eat, a brother remarked that the Blessed Virgin was so poor that when it came time to eat, she had nothing to give to her son. When he heard this, the man of God sighed deeply with great sorrow and, after he left the table, he ate bread off the bare ground. – God will always be in the heart when we pray.


Many times, in fact, having sat down at table, he had barely begun to eat when he would stop eating and drinking, absorbed in meditation on heavenly things. Then he did not want to be disturbed by any conversation. – To do good without God’s help is impossible.


Sighing loudly from the depths of his heart, he would tell the brothers that, whenever they heard him sighing this way, they should always praise God and pray for him faithfully…after that vision and the message of the image of the Crucified, he was always conformed to the passion of Christ until his death. – God is a generous spender, tossing the coins of His grace everywhere with Divine abandon.


Chapter VI 






Overjoyed by the vision and hearing the words of the Crucified Christ, he got up, fortifying himself with the sign of the cross. And mounting his horse and taking cloth of different colors, he arrived at a city named Foligno and, after selling there the horse and everything he was carrying, he returned immediately to the church of San Damiano. – Grace ignored ultimately means grace withheld.


After he found a poor priest there, he kissed his hands with great faith and devotion; he offered him the money he was carrying, and explained his purpose in great detail. – Self-reform is impossible, at least difficult and disheartening, without self-knowledge.


The priest, astounded and surprised at his sudden conversion, refused to believe this, and, thinking he was being mocked, refused to keep his money. – To know yourself is a life-long study.


But stubbornly persisting, he endeavored to create confidence in his words, and he begged the priest more emphatically to allow him to stay with him. Finally the priest agreed to let him stay but, out of fear of his parents, did not accept the money. – Lord that I may know You. Grant that I may know myself.


And so the true scorner of money, throwing it on a windowsill, cared for it as much as he cared for dust. – A saint is a person like us who gets what he wants by working for it…a lifetime.


While he was staying there, his father, like a diligent spy, went around seeking to learn what might have happened to his son. And when he heard that he was so changed and was living in that place in such a way, he was touched inwardly with sorrow of heart and deeply disturbed by the sudden turn of events. – We must speak to those in need first with our hands before we speak to them with our lips.


Calling together his friends and neighbors, he ran to him. Because he was a new knight of Christ, as he heard the threats of his pursuers and knew beforehand of their coming, he left room for his father’s anger; and, going to a secret cave which he had prepared for this, he hid there for a whole month.- The shortest road to heaven is the way of the cross.


That cave was known to only one person in his father’s house. He would eat the food that, from time to time, was secretly brought to him there, praying all the while with flowing tears that the Lord would free him from destructive persecution, and that he could favorably fulfill his fervent wishes.- Holiness is a process of slow and steady growth: trying, failing, trying, failing, undaunted, trying again.


Strengthened with Christ’s armor of confidence, and burning with divine fervor, he blatantly exposed himself to the threats and blows of his persecutors, accusing himself of laziness and groundless fear. Those who knew him earlier, seeing him now, reproached him harshly – We cannot become good by wishing for it.


Shouting that he was insane and out of his mind, they threw mud from the streets and stones at him. For they saw him so changed from his earlier ways and so weakened by starving his body, that they blamed everything he did on starvation and madness. But…neither broken nor changed by any wrong, the knight of Christ gave thanks to God. – To reach heaven we must plant our feet firmly on ground, and take one step at a time, like a child learning to walk.


When rumor of this sort spread through the streets and quarters of the city, it finally reached his father. After he heard that the townspeople had done such things to him, he instantly arose to look for him, not to free him, but rather to destroy him. – The most crippling obstacle to holiness is our expecting too much too soon. – If we are determined to do good tomorrow, why not today?


Confining him to home and locking him up in a dark prison for several days, he strove, by words and blows, to turn his spirit to the vanities of this world. But, since he was neither moved by words, nor exhausted by chains or blows, he endured all these things patiently, more fit and eager to carry out his holy plan. – Too late have I loved you, Beauty ever ancient ever new.


When his father had to leave home on a pressing need, his mother remained at home alone with him. Since she did not approve of her husband’s action, she spoke to her son in gentle words. When she realized she could not dissuade him from his holy intention, moved by her deep feeling for him, she removed the chains, and let him go free. – Without penance we shall never advance beyond mediocrity.


More self-confident because of the injuries he had received, he made his way more freely and with an even greater heart. In the meantime his father returned, and not finding his son, he turned on his wife in abuse, heaping sin upon sin. Then the father hurried to the palace of the commune complaining to the city magistrates about his son and asking them to make him return the money he had taken from the house. – Too many are curious to know the lives of others, but careless to amend their own.


The magistrates…sent a messenger to summon Francis to appear before them. He told the messenger that he had been made free by God’s grace and, since he was a servant of almighty God alone, was no longer bound by the magistrates. The magistrates told his father: “Because he is in the service of God, he no longer falls within our power.” Francis] answered the messenger: “I will appear before the lord bishop, because he is the father and lord of souls.”Then he came before the bishop and was received by him with great joy. “Your father,” the bishop said to him, “is infuriated and extremely scandalized. If you wish to serve God, return to him the money you have, because God does not want you to spend money unjustly acquired on the work of the church. [Your father’s] anger will abate when he gets the money back. – Without repentance you cannot reform yourself.


My son, have confidence in the Lord and act courageously. Do not be afraid, for He will be your help and will abundantly provide you with whatever is necessary for the work of his church.” …he brought the money to him, he said: “My Lord, I will gladly give back not only the money acquired from his things, but even all my clothes.” – Without self-reform there can be no progress in virtue.


He took off all his clothes, and, putting the money on top of them, came out naked before the bishop, his father, and all the bystanders, and said: “Listen to me, all of you, and understand. Until now I have called Pietro di Bernardone my father. But, because I have proposed to serve God, I return to him the money on account of which he was so upset, and also all the clothing which is his, wanting to say from now on: ‘Our Father who are in heaven,’ and not ‘My father, Pietro di Bernardone.’- Without progress in virtue we can never come closer to God.


At that moment, the man of God was found to be wearing under his colored clothes a hair shirt next to his skin. Then his father, overcome with unbearable pain and anger, took the money and all the clothing. Those who were present at this spectacle…Moved by piety, they began to weep over him. – Where the human spirit fails, the Holy Spirit fills.


The bishop, focusing his attention on the man of God’s frame of mind and enthusiastically admiring his fervor and determination, gathered him into his arms, covering him with his mantle. For he clearly understood his deeds were prompted by divine counsel, and realized that what he had seen contained no small mystery. And so, from that moment, he became his helper, exhorting, encouraging, loving, and embracing him with the depths of his charity. – Live the Gospel without compromise. Live Jesus!

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