May 2922 Thought for the Day by Father Francis Sariego, OFMCap

May 2022 

 O virgin mother, daughter of your Son, humble beyond all creatures and more exalted; 

predestined turning point of God’s intention; 

Your merit so ennobled human nature that its divine Creator did not scorn 

to make Himself the creature of His creature. 

The Love that was rekindled in Your womb sends for the warmth of the eternal peace 

Within whose ray this flower has come to bloom. 

Here to us, you are the noon and scope of Love revealed; 

and among mortal men, the living fountain of eternal hope. 

Lady, you are so near God’s reckonings that who seeks grace and does not first seek you 

would have his wish fly upward without wings. 

Not only does your sweet benignity flow out to all who beg, 

but oftentimes your charity arrives before the plea. 

In you is pity, in you munificence, in you the tenderest heart, 

in you unites all that creation knows of excellence! 


This prayer appears now and then in our monthly letters or calendars. It is part of a Cantico of the Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. An Italian poet of the 13th century whose love for St. Francis of Assisi urged him to become, as we are told, a member of the Third Order of Penitents of Assisi, as the Secular Franciscans were called in the beginning. He expresses in these words he writes in the Paradiso part of his Divine Comedy, a prayer he places on the lips of St. Bernard of Clairvaux. He presents so beautifully in prose what St. Francis of Assisi proclaimed in prayer regarding our Blessed Mother Mary. Our love for Mary should never lessen. She is the One Whose Motherly love will assist and lead us closer to Jesus, Her Son and our Lord and Savior. Through Mary we have the opportunity of approaching one another as spiritual siblings in the Blood of our Older Brother, Jesus, in Whom we have become the redeemed  children of God the Father gifted with His Holy Spirit. One can never say enough or too much ofMary. De Maria Numquam Satis! – (You can never get enough of Mary – free translation). First said by St. Bernard of Clairvaux, then taken up by other saints and people of faith, we are invited to enter Her Immaculate Heart and be embraced by Her Motherly Love.

Chapter XVII




After twenty years of clinging most perfectly to Christ, and of following the life and footsteps of the apostles, in the one thousandth, two hundredth, and twenty-sixth year of the Incarnation of the Lord, on the fourth of October, a Sunday, Francis, that apostolic man, most joyfully passed to Christ, winning eternal rest after many labors, and fittingly entering into the presence of the Lord. One of his followers, renowned for his sanctity, saw his soul like a star as big as the moon with the brilliance of the sun, rising up above the great waters, and borne up to heaven by a brilliant cloud. – Endurance bears what is difficult and turns it into glory.


For he had worked intensely in the Lord’s vineyard, eager and fervent in his prayers, fasts, vigils, sermons, and wholesome journeys, in care and compassion for his neighbor, and in disregard of himself. From the beginning of his conversion to the day of his passing to Christ, he had loved Him with his whole heart, constantly keeping the memory of Him in his mind, praising Him with his mouth, and glorifying Him with his fruitful deeds. – Repentance is sorrow turned into action, movement toward a new and better life.


For he loved God with such enthusiasm from the depths of his heart that, on hearing His name, completely melting within, he would burst forth saying that heaven and earth must bow at the Lord’s name. – Reverence for life offers a new relationship with creation.


While he was still alive in the flesh, the Lord adorned him with a wonderful prerogative of a unique privilege, wishing to show the whole world the fervor of love and the incessant memory of the Passion of Christ which he carried in his heart. – Faith knows the way; hope points the way; love is the way.


For when he was taken above in the seraphic ardor of desires into God and into Him, he who, by a boundless love, wanted to be crucified, was transformed by a compassionate sweetness. – The confession of evil works is the beginning of good works. (St. Augustine)


One morning, around the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, while he was absorbed in prayer on a slope of Mount La Verna, two years before his death, a seraph with six wings appeared to him. – The greatest truth are the simplest and so are the greatest people.


Within its six wings there was the form of a very beautiful, crucified man, whose hands and feet were extended after the manner of a cross, and whose features were clearly those of the Lord Jesus. – Imitate Mary, you will not go astray. (St. Bernard)


Two wings covered his head, two, the rest of his body down to the feet, and two were extended as if for flight. – Pray to Mary, you will not despair. (St. Bernard)


When the vision disappeared, a marvelous glow of love remained in his soul, but, even more marvelous, an impression of the stigmata of our Lord Jesus Christ appeared in his flesh. – Think of Mary, you will not err. (St. Bernard)


Until his death, the man of God, unwilling to divulge God’s sacrament, concealed it to the best of his ability, although he was unable to cover it completely since it became known to at least his intimate companions. – Supported by Mary, you will not fail. (St. Bernard)


After his most happy passing, all the brothers who were present, as well as many seculars, clearly saw his body unmistakably adorned with the wounds of Christ.- Embraced by Mary, you will be saved. (St. Bernard)


They saw in his hands and feet, not just the holes of the nails, but the nails themselves formed by his own flesh, taking shape from it, and showing the dark color of iron. – If you judge people, you will have no time to love them. (Mother Teresa)


His right side appeared as if pierced with a lance, covered with a red scar from a very real and very visible wound, which, even while he was living, frequently poured out sacred blood.- Every child come with the message that God is not discouraged with us.


The undeniable truth of those stigmata appeared most brilliantly through sight and contact not only in his life and in death, but also after his death, the Lord revealed their truth even more brilliantly by many miracles shown in different parts of the world. – Be quiet and God will speak to you.


Through these miracles, the hearts of many who did not look kindly on the man of God and doubted the stigmata were also moved to a great assurance of faith. – There is a child asleep in the heart of the most severe people. (Dom Helder Camara)

Thus, those who had been his detractors, by God’s active goodness and the undeniable weight of evidence, became faithful heralds and promoters of his fame. – What begins in the heart of God is complete only when it enters my heart.

Chapter XVIII



In various parts of the world blessed Francis was becoming resplendent because of the light of new miracles. – Jesus is the condescension of divinity and the exaltation of humanity. (cfr. St. Leo the Great)


And from far and wide, those who, through his merits, enjoyed unique and extraordinary benefits from the Lord, hurried to reverence his holy remains.- The recognition of sin is the beginning of salvation.


After consulting the cardinals and many other prelates, and approving the miracles which the Lord wrought through his intercession, the Lord Pope Gregory enrolled him in the catalog of saints, ordering that his feast be solemnly celebrated on the day of his death. – When the soul lays down its faults before God, it feels as though it had wings.


These things happened in the city of Assisi, in the presence of many prelates of the Church, an exceptionally large representation of rulers and barons, and a vast crowd of people from all parts of the world whom the Lord Pope had invited. – If you want an increase of Jesus, there must be a decrease in self.


This took place in the year one thousand two hundred and twenty-eight, the second year of the Lord Pope’s pontificate. – You may not have been responsible for your heritage, but you are responsible for your future.


The Sovereign Pontiff, who loved the saint very much during his lifetime, not only honored him through an extraordinary canonization, but also laid the first stone of the church to be built in his honor, enriching it with sacred gifts and precious appointments. –       The world is round, and the place which seems like the end may be the beginning.


To this new church, two years after his canonization, the saint’s most sacred body was solemnly transferred from the place where it was first buried. – Positive anything is better than negative nothing.


He sent to the church a golden cross, decorated with precious gems and containing wood from the Lord’s cross.- Half the confusion in one’s life comes from not knowing how little one needs.


He also sent appointments, vessels, and many other furnishings for the service of the altar, together with many precious and solemn vestments. – God in heaven let me feel my nothingness, in order to feel more powerfully the greatness of your goodness.


Exempting the church from any inferior jurisdiction, the Sovereign Pontiff, by apostolic authority, proclaimed it “the Head and Mother” of the whole Order of Lesser Brothers, as is clear in an official public document that was undersigned by all the cardinals. – What I have will belong to another someday. But what I am will be mine for all eternity.


It would mean little to honor the saint of God with material things, had not the Lord willed to work through him, physically dead but spiritually alive in glory, numerous miracles of conversion and healing. – Why is it that so many church members say “Our Father” on Sunday and go around the rest of the week acting like orphans?


After his death, both men and women, through his intercession, were converted to the Lord. Many nobles and their sons put on the habit of his Order, and their wives and daughters entered the monasteries of the Poor Ladies. – When we look for the  best in others we find the best in ourselves.


Many learned and exceptionally educated men, some laymen, others holding ecclesiastical offices, wholeheartedly renounced the allurements of the flesh, the absence of piety, and the lust of this world.- The little things! The little moments! They aren’t little


They entered the Order of the Lesser Ones, obliging themselves to follow, according to the particular grace given them by God, the poverty and the footsteps of Christ and his most blessed servant Francis. – How well does the light of your faith radiate to those with whom you live and work?


What was written of Samson can fittingly be said of him who lives a life of glory: those he killed at his death were more than those he had during his lifetime. Through the merits of our most holy father Francis, may He who lives and reigns forever bring us to this same glory. Amen. – When the world seems at its worst, Christians must be at their best.


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