November, 2021 Meditation by Father Francis Sariego, OFM Cap

St. Katherine Drexel Regional Fraternity

Regional Spiritual Assistant

St. Francis of Assisi Friary

1901 Prior Road

Wilmington, Delaware 19809

tel: (302) 798-1454      fax: (302) 798-3360      email:  skdsfo     email:

November 2021

Dear Sisters and Brothers in St. Francis,

The Lord give you His peace!

Creation speaks to us of God.  The human mind, through experience, can come to know there is a God, but it is faith that opens our hearts, souls, and minds to deepen our knowledge and awareness of the magnificence of our Creator, our Redeemer, and the ever-present Advocate-Guide-Sanctifier.   Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are known to us and we enter an intimate relationship with this sublime Trinity through God’s revelation of Himself through Jesus in the Spirit. Thus, Faith responds to Revelation.

Once we have read God’s Word in Scripture and recognize His work and attributes in Creation, faith leads us to accept and live the message God speaks to us through these. Sacred Scripture requires faith as a response to revelation.  God calls us to faith, and this call of God is through creation. It is a response in time directed toward eternity. Believing is accepting God as creator, liberator, protector, savior. Belief is recognizing Jesus through His death and resurrection: This Jesus, God raised from the dead. And we are all witnesses to this … therefore, let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus Whom you crucified.  (Acts 2: 32, 36)

In books we search for God, in prayer we find Him.  The love of God the Father sacrificed His only begotten Son for the salvation of all humanity.  Christ Jesus, totally one with the Father and Holy Spirit always, even when journeying in time as a man, lived in a harmonious acceptance of the Father’s Will, for it is His Will as well!  Thus, through Christ and in Christ Crucified there is salvation.  This was also the depth of awareness and total surrender to Christ of our Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi. His faith in Christ Crucified urged him to seek more deeply what was imprinted on his heart at San Damiano, and even before in the restlessness of his search. The challenges of life, especially those presented so often by the brotherhood that had grown far beyond all expectations so quickly, kept St. Francis always aware of his need to surrender to the Will of God.

During November we celebrate the month of the Holy Souls in Purgatory. We celebrate, for they are saved, but not yet in the fullness of eternal life. They have finally passed the crucible of life.  What about those who live daily emotional, physical, spiritual deaths that challenge the faith to believe beyond oneself alone, and who are still on life’s journey?   The daily demands and challenges influence the decisions we all make and will ultimately be the determining factor on how we pass from time to eternity. These little crucial challenges or “deaths” to any disordered expression of our “ego” have a great deal to do with achieving the purpose for our creation. “What’s it all about?” We should never be totally pleased with ourselves. Grateful for all we have done cooperating with God and His direct or indirect will, we know that the challenges end when time does, not before. Joy and gratitude in the Lord at the good we have been able to accomplish is wonderful, but we must never grow complacent.

Francis blessed the hands that guided him. He saw in those moments God’s Love offering, not imposing, opportunities to live in “perfect joy”.  The sole purpose was to sanctify him, to render Francis similar to Jesus, the Father’s only begotten Son.  Trials are not a sign of God’s “irritation” with us. Faithfully accepting those crucial moments and also the persons who may be involved in them, our faithfulness and trust are increased. Like our Father St. Francis, we feel “the love you felt in your crucifixion” (These are the words of the prayer of St. Francis seeking a greater experience of Christ’s love in His ultimate act of redeeming grace on Calvary) The marks are not visible on our body, but when the Cross of Jesus is firmly imprinted on the heart and lived with the joy of a unifying love, the serenity and joy of the blessed are ours already here on earth.  Calvary is the hill of the saints. The purifying process leads us to the cross of dying to ourselves.  This leads to a transformation of mind, heart and soul. Thus, we enter a participated inner glory in time as we continue, transformed inwardly, to the fullness of glory in God for eternity. “World without end”, as we were and are accustomed to conclude many prayers, is a firm reminder that the world, “Theater of Redemption”, would not end but be forever transformed. And we are the protagonists of that world God calls to restored beauty and holiness in Him.

In Christ. we are transfigured by death to ourselves and thus ascend to eternal glory.  Per Crucem ad Lucem (Through the Cross to the Light!)

We often encounter difficult “mountains” to overcome. Face them with determination and trust in God first and in the gifts God has bestowed on you to be used gratefully and wisely. Confidently and cheerfully move on and do not be discouraged.  The more violently the enemy attacks the more we must abandon ourselves to the Lord. St. Paul reminds us: ‘God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted (tested) beyond your strength, but with the temptation (challenge) will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it’. (1 Corinthians 10: 13)  The goodness of our God is beyond all our imaginings?  It seems more often than not that God is more concerned than we are for our salvation. Think of God’s love for you and his zeal for your well-being. Remain calm and never doubt that He will always protect you with Fatherly care against all your enemies.

Serenity in the midst of trouble is a wonderful witness of a faith that continues to trust in the love of an eternally-loving, ever-present and all-providing God.  Reason may help us to know that God exists, but it is our faith that leads us into a relationship with life-giving Love. It is this Love that fills the hearts of those who search for Him.  It is this Love that is mysterious in His nature but accessible through His works.  It is this Love that we seek to know and understand more during life’s journey so that when time meets eternity in death we can joyfully, trustingly, and lovingly ‘let go’ and let this Eternal Love embrace us with a fullness we could never have imagined.  This Love, Who is God, the Father-Creator, the Only-Begotten-Son-Redeemer, the Holy Spirit-Advocate-Sanctifier, can be studied about in books, discussed with others to deepen our human knowledge, but can be personally known, loved and lived only when we surrender ourselves to that Love and His Infinite Will.

We have to go beyond trying to merely learn about spiritual things. We are expected to listen to the Holy Spirit and live in the spirit of God.  We are not part of a “spiritual movement” of the year or age. Spirituality is not reading and knowing the writings of all the mystics, or knowing the prophecies of all the visionaries. They may be interesting, helpful or even necessary for us to know.  Nevertheless, we are directed to live holy lives in the present, to trust God in all things, and to resign ourselves to His most Holy Will.  Facts only accumulate with other facts whether theological, spiritual, or what have you.  The ‘book’ that makes all others more understandable is the ‘book’ of Christ Crucified. Reading that ‘book’ and learning its message well increases faith, rekindles hope, and leads us into a transforming intimacy with Eternal Love and the Source of Life.

Trust God unconditionally.  Believe God is Who God is.  Submit to God’s loving providence. Receive all that God permits to come your way.  The saints encourage our need to recognize, in any distress, whether spiritual or physical, God’s purifying presence.  We are thus led to a more transparent relationship with God and neighbor, because in God we have become transparent to ourselves. We have come to know ourselves better because we see ourselves in the knowledge we have of God.

We have come to live in a world, a society, of masks and mirrors. The mask seeks to hide our true identity.  The mirrors seek to deflect clear and true vision from any who seek to know us, or perhaps even “target” us. No matter. Trust in God and who you are created to be. The need will be supplied by the Eternal Provider. St. Francis of Assisi says: You are who you are before God and nothing more.  Knowing God more deeply through prayer, meditation, God’s Word, and celebrating and receiving the Eucharist often and worthily, strengthens faith, focuses vision, clarifies reason, confirms trust in God’s will – direct or indirect – calms fears, establishes inner peace and serenity, generates inner joy…LOVES!

The ‘process’ intensifies as we seek to respond to God’s will without reserve. God invites us to go beyond the limitations caused by our fears, hesitation, caution, or perhaps even our indifference or spiritual lethargy.  What God asks of us is based on what God knows about us, not the other way around.  Let us remember that God sees the ‘whole picture’. We see only the ‘now’.  True faith enkindles our hope in the One in Whom we responsibly commit ourselves to risk all the world holds dear – power, prestige, possessions. Let go of fearful caution. Ride the wave of God’s will. Experience the exciting fulfillment of recognizing and achieving your purpose in life.  Then we can say with St. Clare of Assisi: Thank you Lord for creating me.

The Spiritual Children of the Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi know from the example of St. Francis how necessary it is to enter the mystery of Christ Crucified before we can recognize the miracles of grace that surround us.  All too often people go in search of extraordinary expressions of God’s Love yet fail to see and acknowledge the magnificence of God’s presence at work every moment, especially in the daily responsibilities, where, with God’s grace, we go beyond our limitations and fears. Human reason and logic tell us to be careful, think things out, take time.  Do not be overcome by fear of failure. Do not accept the mediocrity of  tepidity. Believe, trust, and act without hesitation in the Name of God Who strengthens and assists all who surrender to His will.  

 Prayer acknowledges God as the source of all good. Believe God is Who He says He is. We cannot help but hope in the One Who loves us. We thus know that God makes all things work for the good of those who love Him. If God is for us, then who can be against us? (Romans 8: 31)  The thought of death and dying that are the focus of so many Catholics in this month, can be such a disheartening thought. When life is lived in God’s Will, then death is the point of encounter between time and eternity. It is the moment when a life leaps joyfully and gratefully into the arms of God. Praise be You my Lord God for Sister Bodily Death (Canticle of Brother Sun-St. Francis). Such good awaits me that every pain is a delight.  (St. Francis of Assisi)  These brief sentences speak volumes.  

 My God bless you; Our Lady and good St. Joseph, guide, guard, and protect you; and St. Francis of Assisi and our Holy Mother St. Clare watch over each one of us, their Spiritual Children, with loving care. May all the Holy Ones of our Seraphic Family living in eternity intercede for us. May their lives teach and inspire us, their sisters and brothers still journeying. They were where we are; we will be where they are! … saying, as our Mother Mary, “yes” at all times to the Loving and all-Merciful Will of God!

Peace and Blessings

Fr. Francis A. Sariego, OFM Cap

Regional Spiritual Assistant 

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