July – 2022 Thoughts for the Day by Father Fracis Sariego, OFM Cap

July 2022 

Wherever we are, in every place, at every hour, at every time of the day, every day and continually, 

let all of us truly and humbly believe, hold in our heart and love, honor, adore, serve, 

praise and bless, glorify and exalt, magnify and give thanks 

to the Most High and Supreme Eternal God, Trinity and Unity, 

Father, Son and Holy Spirit, 

Creator of all, Savior of all who believe and hope in Him, and love Him, Who, 

without beginning and end, is unchangeable, invisible, indescribable, ineffable, 

incomprehensible, unfathomable, blessed, praiseworthy, glorious, exalted, 

sublime, most high, gentle, lovable, delightful, 

and totally desirable above all else forever. 


(Prayer of Saint Francis taken from the Earlier Rule, chapter 23)



Excerpts from: A Book of the Praises of St. Francis (1277-1283) 


Chapter II (continued) 



When the rich of the world went out of their way to visit them, they received them quickly and kindly, and would invite them to call them back from evil, and prompt them to penance. Wherever they met men on the roads or in the piazzas, the brothers would encourage them to love and to fear their Creator. – Why not let Jesus take over your life?  He can do more with it than you can.


They would more willingly accept hospitality among priests than among other seculars. But when they could not obtain lodging, they would inquire who in that place was God-fearing with whom they could be more suitably lodged. And although they were extremely poor, they were always generous in giving to all who asked of them, sharing the alms given to them. They so spurned earthly things that they barely accepted the most basic necessities of life. – Hate is like burning down your house to get rid of a rat.


They were content with a single tunic, often patched inside and out, with crude trousers, and with a piece of common rope for a belt. Nothing about it was refined, rather it appeared lowly and rough. Often, when they needed a place to stay at night, they would stay concealed in crypts or bake-ovens. During the day, those who knew how, worked in suitable places with their own hands, and would incite all who were with them to an example of humility and patience. – Without love and compassion for others, our own apparent love for Christ is fiction.


The virtue of patience so enveloped them that, they were often mocked and made objects of insult, beaten, stripped naked, and, not defending themselves with anyone’s protection, they endured all these things so humbly, that from their mouths came only the voice of praise and thanksgiving. 29They never or hardly ever stopped praying and praising God. Instead, in ongoing discussion, they recalled what they had done. – It is possible to give without loving, but it is impossible to love without giving.


They gave thanks to God for the good done and, with groans and tears, paid for what they neglected or did carelessly. They would have thought themselves abandoned by God if they did not experience in their ordinary prayers that they were constantly visited by the spirit of piety. For when they felt like dozing during prayer, they would hold themselves up with various props, so that furtive sleep would not disturb their prayer. – A person’s judgment is no better than his information.


If one of them took some food or drink, as normally happens out of weariness from travel or for some other reason, they punished themselves severely with many days of fasting. They strove to restrain the burning of the flesh by such harsh treatment, that they frequently did not hesitate to strip their bodies naked on ice, or to cover themselves in blood from gashing them with sharp thorns. – If we tap the best in ourselves, we will bring out the best in others.


They would inflict so much discomfort on themselves that it seemed they hated themselves. As they practiced peace and gentleness towards all, they avoided all scandal with the greatest zeal. 36They thought humbly about themselves, piously about others, especially about priests.- Death is not a period but a coma in the story of life.


When a priest told a brother: “Watch out that you’re not a hypocrite,” the brother thought that he was a hypocrite and said: “It was a priest who said it. A priest can’t lie, can he?” He was grieving, dejected and troubled, until the saint wisely excused the priest’s statement. With a remarkable zeal for silence, these brothers curbed their tongue. They hardly spoke even when necessary, nor did anything harmful or useless come out of their mouths. – One prays best who loves best.


All their senses were so subdued that they scarcely allowed themselves to hear or see anything except what the purpose of religion required. In them there was a simple appearance, a modest bearing, and, with their eyes fixed on the ground, their minds were set on heaven. – One is truly poor not when they have nothing but when they do nothing.


The saint taught them they must mortify not only the vices of the flesh, but also their exterior senses through which death enters into the soul. When the emperor Otto passed through that area with great pomp to receive the crown of the empire, the most holy father was staying with the others in that small hut next to the parade route. He did not go outside to look, and did not allow anyone else, except for one, that he might continually remind him that this glory would be only short-lived. Apostolic authority resided in him; so he altogether refused to flatter kings and princes. – For those who believe in God no explanation is needed.


He also used to engage carefully in a daily examination of the brothers. If he found something inappropriate was done, he did not leave it unpunished and he drove from their hearts any negligence. The brothers strove diligently to fulfill not only what he told them as by brotherly advice or by fatherly command, but also what by some sign they recognized he wanted. – For those who do not believe in God no explanation is possible.


To bring them to perfection, he used to say that true obedience is not just about a prelate’s word, but also about recognizing his will, and in doing what a subject perceives, by a sign, a prelate wants. In this way holy simplicity filled them, purity of life so possessed them, that they were totally ignorant of duplicity of heart. – If at first you don’t succeed, you are running about average.


For just as there was in them one faith, so there was one spirit, one will, one charity, continual unity of spirit, harmony in living, cultivation of virtues, agreement of minds, and piety in action. – Every survival kit should include a sense of humor.


These are the lessons of the devoted father by which he instructed his new sons not so much in words and speech, but in deed and in truth, and in which he renewed the purpose and zeal of an apostolic life. – Discovery consists in seeing what everyone has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.


To show what had been approved was approved in heaven, it was revealed in a vision to a holy man in the beginning of the novitiate that the holy Apostles Peter and Paul gave thanks to God each day for the renewal of their lives, and they were praying for the preservation of that religion. When he made this known to blessed Francis, he said: “If the blessed Peter and Paul are daily praying for us, it is only right that we venerate them daily with reverence.” – God’s grace is all we need. God’s power is greatest when we are weak.


Therefore, it was decided that in the remembrance of the Apostles that is made in each Hour of the Office of the Blessed Virgin, these two Apostles be mentioned by name, even though previously according to the custom of the Roman Church there was only the general mention of all the Apostles in these prayers. At this time there was added to the orations: Protect, O Lord, and: Hear us, O God the words of your Apostles, Peter and Paul, where previously it read: and of all your Apostles, etc – The more the world is at its worst, the more we need the Church at its best.


Chapter III 




The holy man expressed great joy over the brothers’ progress, while never looking down on the sick or the tempted. – Character cannot be purchased, inherited, rented or imported from afar. It must be homegrown.


At one time when a tempted brother asked Francis to pray for him, the holy man said: “Believe me, son, I believe you are even more a servant of God because of this.” “No one,” he said, “should consider himself a servant of God until he has passed through temptations and tribulations. –  People are made by their beliefs.


A temptation overcome is like a ring with which the Lord betroths the soul of his servant. Many flatter themselves over their many years of merit and rejoice at never having suffered any temptations. But sheer fright would knock them out before a battle even started. – As we believe, so we are.


So they should know that the Lord has kept in mind their weakness of spirit. Hard fights are rarely fought except by those with the greatest strength.” – Salvation: Don’t leave earth without it.


Another brother was vexed for a long time by a temptation of the spirit, which is worse and more subtle than the prompting of the flesh. He came to Saint Francis and threw himself at his feet; overflowing with bitter tears, he could say nothing, prevented by deep sobs. The saint, however, realized that he was tormented by wicked spirits. “I command you, demons,” he said, “from this moment stop assailing my brother.” And immediately the brother became free of all temptation. – Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.


In this both the saint’s piety for a son and his power over demons appeared. Tempted himself, he learned to suffer with those who were sometimes tempted. – It isn’t a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream.


For at times he endured a very great temptation of the flesh and, to put this temptation to flight, he would scourge himself unmercifully. But when this spirit would not depart despite the severe discipline, he would cast himself naked into the snow. It was by this chastisement of his flesh that he expelled the spiritual wound from his breast. – I am always ready to learn, although I do not always like to be taught.


At another time a very serious temptation of spirit came upon him, surely to embellish his crown. Because of it he was filled with anguish and sorrow; he afflicted and chastised his body, he prayed and wept bitterly. He was under attack in this way for several years, until one day while praying at Saint Mary of the Portiuncula, he heard in spirit a voice: – The future belongs to those who believe ion the beauty of their dreams.


“Francis, if you had faith like a mustard seed, you would tell  he mountain to move from here, and it would move.” The saint replied: “Lord, what is the mountain that I could move?” And again he heard: “The mountain is your temptation.” – The thing to try when all else fails is again.


And he said, sobbing: “Lord, be it done to me as you have said!” At once, after the whole temptation was driven away, he was set free. His spirit emptied itself with humility, cherishing everyone, deferring to everyone. – If we do stay in our littleness, we will lose our greatness.


He used to revere priests of the Church; would respect the elderly, and honored the noble and the wealthy. He loved the poor intimately, however, and, while preserving peace with people of all rank, he urged his brothers eagerly to this. He used to tell them: “As you announce peace with your mouth, may you keep it in your heart, thus no one will be provoked to anger or scandal, but rather to kindness and gentleness. – Why do we find it easier to break a commandment than a habit?


For we have been called to this: to cure the wounded, to bind up the broken, and to recall the erring. Many who seem to us to be members of the devil, will yet be disciples of Christ.” – Help me, Lord, to put all aside, that I may abide with You.


To his brothers he would speak compassionately, not as a judge, but as a father to his children and a doctor to the sick, so that the word of the Apostle might be fulfilled in him: Who is weak that I am not weaker? Great was his compassion toward the sick and great his concern for their needs. He conducted himself toward all as he would toward individuals. – God will put His angels in charge of us to protect us wherever we go.  


As he scrutinized with dignified honor any revered person coming to the Order and respectfully gave to each his due, he wisely considered in all matters the dignity of rank of each one. – Pray, and then start answering our prayer.


He was truly endowed with outstanding discernment and the grace of simplicity, so that with a true dove-like simplicity, he possessed the prudence of a serpent. – You cannot just go on being a good egg. You must either hatch or go bad.








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