January 2022 Thoughts for the Day by Father Francis Sariego, OFM Cap

My apologies for the lateness in posting the January writings of Father Francis.  Some lovely person took over my debit card and my email account more than a week ago and it  has been difficult regaining control.  The devil herself has been after me!

January 2022

Lord, just as I believe that at an earlier time 

(I may have been sinful and not fully open to Your will) 

so now I realize that, because of Your abundant mercy 

and in Your own time, You have shown an abundance of Your mercies to (me)… 

Give glory to Your name, 

(may I) offer the fragrance of good life, doctrine, and good reputation 

to the whole Christian people. 

I ask you therefore, Lord Jesus Christ, Father of mercies, 

not to consider (my) ingratitude. 

May (I) always be mindful of the abundant mercies which you have shown (me)

that (I) may always … glorify Your name blessed and glorious throughout the ages. 

Amen.

 (Paraphrase [in parenthesis] of the blessing of Saint Francis for the City of Assisi 

Excerpts of for each day are taken from the Legend of the Three Companions 

Chapter XI 

THE RECEPTION OF FOUR OTHER BROTHERS 

AND THE MOST BURNING CHARITY THEY HAD FOR EACH OF THE FIRST BROTHERS, 

OF THEIR EAGERNESS IN WORKING AND PRAYING AND THEIR PERFECT OBEDIENCE

1

People then saw that the brothers rejoiced in their tribulations, persisted in prayer with eagerness and devotion, neither accepted nor carried money, and possessed a great love for one another; and through this they were known to be really the Lord’s disciples. –  Lord teach me to be generous. Teach me to serve you as you deserve.

2

Many came to them with heartfelt sorrow, asking pardon for the offenses they had committed against them. They forgave them from their hearts, saying: “May the Lord forgive you,” and encouraged them soundly about their eternal salvation – God says: With your very wounds I will heal you.

3

Some asked those brothers to receive them into their company. And because of the small number of the brothers—all six of them possessed authority from blessed Francis to receive others into the Order—they accepted some of them into their company.  – Never fear shadows. They simply mean there’s light shining somewhere nearby.

4

After they were received, they all returned at a predetermined time to Saint Mary of the Portiuncula. When they saw one another again, however, they were filled with such delight and joy, as if they didn’t remember anything of what they had endured at the hands of the wicked. – All we see teaches us to trust the Creator we have not seen.

5

Each day they were conscientious in prayer and working with their hands to avoid all idleness, the enemy of the soul. – Give me faith, Lord, and let me help others find it.

6

They rose conscientiously in the middle of the night, and prayed most devoutly with copious tears and sighs.-  Lord, teach me to give and not count the cost.

7

They loved each other deeply, served one another, and took care of each other as a mother for an only and beloved child. – A humble knowledge of oneself is a sure way to God

8

Charity burned so ardently in them that it seemed easy for them to give their bodies to death, not only for the love of Christ, but also for the salvation of the soul or the body of their confreres. – Underneath the masks there are in every person, there is a noble nature.

9

One day, when two of the brothers were walking along, they came across a simpleton who began to throw rocks at them. One of them, noticing that stones were being thrown at the other, ran directly in front of him, preferring that the stones strike him rather than his brother. –  We will not be judged on our successes but on our love and faithfulness.

10

Because of the mutual charity with which they burned, they were prepared to lay down their life in this way, one for the other. – It is better to be patient than powerful

11                                                       

They were so rooted and grounded in humility and love, that one respected the other as father and master, while those who excelled by way of the office of prelate or some grace, seemed humble and more self-effacing than the others. – It is better to win control over yourself than over others.

12

They all dedicated themselves wholeheartedly to obedience, ever prepared for the will of the one giving orders. They did not distinguish between a just and an unjust command because they considered whatever they were ordered to be the Lord’s will.- God give me the serenity to accept, even joyfully, that part of myself that I can’t change.

13

Fulfilling commands, therefore, was pleasant and easy for them. – Lord give me the courage to change that part of me that I ought to change.

14

They abstained from carnal desires, judging themselves carefully and taking care that in no way would one offend the other. – Be thankful for your handicaps, for it is through them that you will find yourself, your work, and your God.

15

If it ever happened that one uttered an annoying word to another, his conscience troubled him, so much so that he could not rest until he admitted his fault. – Things “turn out best” for those who make the best of the way things “turn out”.

16

He would humbly prostrate himself on the ground, so that his brother would place his foot over his mouth. If the brother who was offended refused to do this, then the brother who offended him, if he were a prelate, would order him to do so. – Make sure the thing you’re living for is worth dying for.

17

If he were a subject, he would have a prelate give the order. In this way, with the grace of Jesus Christ anticipating and helping them, they strove to banish all ill will and malice from their midst, to preserve among them always perfect love, and, to combat, as far as possible, each vice by practicing a corresponding virtue. – Nothing here below is profane for those who know how to se the sacred in everything.

18

Moreover, they did not appropriate anything as their own, but used books or other items in common according to the pattern handed down and observed by the apostles. – You can’t turn back the clock. But you can wind it up again.

19

Although there was real poverty in and among them, they were generous and openhanded with everything given them for God’s sake. –  Now is the time for strong minds, great hearts, true faith, and ready hands!

20

The alms freely given to them out of His love, they gave to all those who begged from them, especially to the poor. – God’s presence is not discerned at the time it is upon us but afterward when we look back.

21

In fact, if they were traveling along the road and found the poor begging from them for the love of God, when they had nothing to offer them, they would give them some of their clothing even though it was shabby. – God exists within us more intimately than we exist within ourselves.

22

Sometimes they gave their capuche, tearing it from the tunic; at other times they gave a sleeve, or tore off a part of their habit, that they might fulfill that Gospel passage “Give to all who beg from you.” – The Lord has a plan for each one of us, even though we might not know it yet.

23

One day, however, a poor man begging alms came to the church of Saint Mary of the Portiuncula, near where the brothers sometimes stayed. There was a cloak there that a brother wore while in the world. When blessed Francis told him to give it to that poor man, he gave it to him freely and quickly. – We are the hands and eyes through which God’s compassion can shine upon a troubles world.

24

And immediately, because of the reverence and devotion which that brother had in giving the cloak to the poor man, it seemed to him that the alms rose up into heaven and he felt himself inundated by a new happiness. – Unless we have within us that which is above us, we shall soon yield to what is around us.

25

When, in fact, the rich of this world would go out of their way for them, they received them quickly and kindly, striving to call them from evil and prompting them to do penance. – We should all try to learn before we die what we are running, from, and to, and why.

26

They also eagerly sought not to be sent to the lands where they had been raised, that they might avoid association and dealings with their relatives and could observe the prophetic word: “I have become an outcast to my brothers, a stranger to my mother’s sons.” – People may doubt what we say, but they’ll believe what we do.

27

They rejoiced most in poverty, because they did not desire riches, but spurned everything transitory that can be desired by those enamored of this world. –  Desire to get involved in God’s plan, regardless of the cost.

28

Above all, they trampled upon money as if it were dirt under their feet and, as they had been taught by the saint, considered it as equal in worth and weight to the dung of an ass. –  We tend to forget that we have an unbelievable control over our destiny.

29

They constantly rejoiced in the Lord, not having within themselves nor among themselves anything that could make them sad. – Today’s decision is tomorrow’s reality.

30

For the more they were separated from the world, the more they were united to God.  – The enemy of the best is not the worst, but the good enough.

31

As they advanced on the way of the cross and the paths of justice, they cleared all hindrances from the narrow path of penance and of the observance of the Gospel, that they might make a smooth and safe path for the future. – Troubles are often the means God uses to fashion people into something better than they are.

 

 

 

 

 

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