December 2021 Thoughts for the Day by Fr. Francis Sariego, OFM Cap

December 2021 

The daily excerpts for each day are taken from The Legend of the Three Companions 

 Chapter IX 



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. – Calvary is the hill of the saints

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: and said to him: “Francis, you did not completely pay me for the stones which you bought from me.” 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. – Trust in God’s authority and do not fear the storms that may surround you

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. – Whoever obeys God will sing victory

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!” – May Jesus be your comfort, sustenance, and compensation. 

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. – Take heart. He suffers with you, groans with you, and is pleased with you

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. –  Every predestined soul must resemble Jesus. 

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. – Unite yourself more to Jesus, and don’t lose heart in difficulties. 

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. – Calm yourself and with holy indifference carry on with your tasks. 

Blessed Francis, taking Brother Giles with him, went into the Marches of Ancona; the other two went into another area. While going to the Marches, they rejoiced enthusiastically in the Lord; the holy man, however, sang with a loud and clear voice, in French, the praises of the Lord, blessing and glorifying the goodness of the Most High. There was as much happiness in them as if they had found a great treasure in the evangelical field of Lady Poverty. –  Don’t become impatient over your daily struggles. 


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. – Humble yourself before God


Even though the man of God did not yet fully preach to the people, when he went through cities and towns, he encouraged everyone to fear and love God and to do penance for their sins. Brother Giles, on the other hand, exhorted his listeners to believe him because he gave them the best advice. – Confide all your needs to God


Those who heard them would say: “Who are these men?” and “What are these words they’re saying?” For, at that time, love and fear of God were non-existent almost everywhere, and the way of penance was not only completely unknown, but it was also considered folly. –  Keep Jesus present to your gaze


Lust for the flesh, greed for the world, and pride of life was so widespread, that the whole world seemed to be engulfed in these three malignancies. There was a diversity of opinions about these evangelical men. Some declared that they were fools or drunkards, while others maintained that such words did not come from fools. – Be humble and be more humble. 


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. – You are not the object of God’s vengeance, but of God’s love. 


When they were begging alms throughout the city, hardly anyone would give to them…Even their own relatives and families would persecute those men, and others in the city mocked them as senseless and stupid, because no one at that time would abandon what was his to go begging alms from door to door. – All that happens to us is an effect of God’s love. 


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.” – All that happens to us is a trial, a vocation, and a cause of glory for all who surrender to God’s will. 


The man of God’s response greatly pleased the bishop. For Francis scorned all worldly goods, but money most of all; so much so, that in all his rules he most forcefully commended poverty and repeated that the brothers be eager to avoid money. 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.” – The Lord is with you always. Do not be anxious

Chapter X 




Calling together the six brothers, Saint Francis,  predicted to them what was about to happen. “Dearest brothers,” he said, “let us consider our vocation, to which God has mercifully called us, not only for our own good, but for the salvation of many. We are to go throughout the world, encouraging everyone, more by deed than by word, to do penance for their sins and to recall the commandments of God. Do not be afraid that you seem few and uneducated. – At all times and in every circumstance trust in the love and goodness of our God. 


With confidence, simply proclaim penance, trusting in the Lord, who conquered the world. Because by His Spirit, He is speaking through and in you, encouraging everyone to be converted to Him and to observe His commandments. –  Keep Jesus as the center of your heart. 


“You will find some faithful people, meek and kind, who will receive you and your words with joy. You will find many others, faithless, proud, and blasphemous, who will resist and reject you and what you say. Therefore, resolve in your hearts to bear these things with patience and humility.” – Humble yourself before the Lord with complete confidence


When the brothers heard this, they began to be afraid. The saint told them: “Do not fear, because after not much time many learned and noble men will come to us, and will be with us preaching to kings and rulers and great crowds. Many people will be converted to the Lord, Who will multiply and increase His family throughout the entire world.” – Live in the presence of Jesus in your mind, your heart, in the Sacrament of the Altar


Whenever they came upon a church or a cross, they bowed in prayer and said with devotion: “We adore you, Christ, and we bless you in all your churches throughout the whole world, because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.” For they believed they would find a place of God wherever they found a cross or a church. –  The Holy Eucharist is the great means through which you can aspire to perfection


(When asked who are you and where to come from) they responded simply that they were penitents originally from the city of Assisi. In many places, after they had suffered a number of insults, they sought lodging in the porticos of churches and homes. – Receive the Eucharist with desire. 


A man, named Guido, was distributing alms to the poor who were in the church. When he came to the brothers and wanted to give money to each one of them, as he had done to the others, they refused the money and did not want to accept it. – Do not desire to be anything more that what you are and what God has called you to be,  


But he said to them: “Since you are poor, why don’t you accept the coins like the others?” Brother Bernard answered: “While it is true that we are poor, poverty is not burdensome for us as it is for other poor people. For, by the grace of God, we have willingly made ourselves poor. It is His counsel we fulfilled.” – Unite your heart with the Heart of Jesus and be simple-hearted as He desires


Astonished at these things and asking if they had ever possessed anything, he heard from them that they had indeed possessed much. For the love of God, though, they had given everything to the poor. The one who answered in this way was Brother Bernard, the first disciple of blessed Francis, whom today we truly believe to be a most holy father. – In spite of our own unworthiness, our merciful Lord has adorned us with the gift of His holy love. 


He was the first to run after the holy one of God, embracing the delegation of peace and penance. Selling everything he possessed and giving to the poor, according to the counsel of Gospel perfection, he persevered to the end in most holy poverty. When that woman reflected that the brothers did not want the coins, she approached them and told them that she would gladly receive them into her home if they wanted lodging there. – Give glory to the heavenly Father and be transformed in Him! 


The brothers answered humbly: “May the Lord reward you for your good will.” That man, however, hearing that the brothers were unable to find lodging, took them to his house, saying: “Look, this is the lodging the Lord has prepared for you. Stay in it according to your pleasure.” – The human spirit without the flame of divine love, tends to reach the level of the beasts. 


Giving thanks to God, they stayed with him several days, edifying him in the fear of the Lord, more by example than by word. Afterwards, he gave much to the poor. – With faith and hope you will arm yourself in order to sustain all that you are called to bear. 


Suffering all these things steadfastly and patiently, as blessed Francis had admonished them, they did not become dejected or disturbed, nor did they curse those who brought evil upon them. –  Remember that you are the child of a merciful Father who is indulgent toward you.  


On the contrary, as perfectly evangelical men, placed at a great advantage, they greatly exulted in the Lord, considering it pure joy when they fell into temptations and trials of this sort. According to the word of the Gospel, they prayed carefully and enthusiastically for their persecutors. – Practice mercy rather than justice, in imitation of your heavenly Father

 May the Lord bless you and keep you 

Show His face to you and have mercy on you, 

Look on you with kindness and grant you His peace. 

And throughout the New Year 2022 

May the Lord live with you and may you always live with Him

Happy and Blessed New Year 2022 To All 

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