August 2022 Thoughts for the Day by Father Francis Sariego, OFMCap

August 2022 


I bend my knee to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ 

so that, through the prayers and merits of the 

holy and glorious Virgin Mary, His Mother, 

and of our most blessed father Francis and of all the saints, 

the Lord Himself, Who has given a good beginning, 

may give increase and may also give final perseverance. 



(The Testament of St. Clare of Assisi)


The daily excerpts continue from the Book of Praises 


Chapter IV 



Among other characteristics, Francis’s zeal to observe poverty and humility and to be continually engaged with virtuous things was unusual. He rejoiced in poor little dwellings, in cells of wood rather than of stone. – The person with true humility never has to be shown his place, he is always in it. 


 He often stayed with a few in hermitages, where an enclosure of thorn bushes sufficed for a wall, and small huts for dwellings. In cities, however, neither people’s maliciousness nor the large number of brothers allowed it to be so. – Turn to the Lord and pray to Him know that He is near.


He detested a brother with a great deal of clothes, made of refined, soft cloth. Two layers of clothing do not seem to belong to a poor man, since expenses are reduced by clothing that is old and mended. While cheap cloth is certainly rougher, heavier, and less warm, the pious purpose of religion demands this, and, with use, difficulty is easily overcome by grace. – It was not the nails that held Jesus on the cross but His love for us.


Whoever was forced by necessity to wear a softer inner tunic, he would support, as long as rough and cheap clothing was kept on the outside, for we have been given to people as an example of poverty and penitence. – Life is short! Hurry and be kind.


As for “necessity” not based on reason but on pleasure, he declared that it was a sign of a spirit that was extinguished. “Not bearing patiently with need,” he said, “is the same as returning to Egypt.” – When you try to make an impression that is the impression you make.


He wanted few books kept, ones not notable for elegance or expense, and available to the brothers who needed them. He did not want the brothers to have money or handle it even out of consideration of piety. – Prepare for eternity. You’re going to spend a long time there.


Therefore, with a remarkable chastening, he punished a brother whom he once found touching a coin. Even though his companion and the saint’s word forbade it, another brother took a coin he found carelessly left on the road, and wanted to give it to the lepers. He immediately gnashed his teeth and lost the power of speech. At last, he threw away the coin, and his penitential lips were set free to give praise – If it’s going to be, it’s up to me.


In order to avoid the superfluous, the holy man would not even permit a small plate to remain in the house if, without it, he could avoid dire need. He said it was impossible to satisfy necessity without bowing to pleasure. – The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work.


He depended on the divine foresight according to the word he spoke to the Lord Pope who argued that it was difficult to live without possessions. “My Lord, I trust in my Lord Jesus Christ. Since he has promised to give us life and glory in heaven, He will not deprive us of our bodily necessities when we need them on earth.” – Hard work is the price we pay for success.


Proposing a parable to him, he said: “There once was a king who contracted marriage with a poor but beautiful woman. While he married her because of her beauty, he fathered by her very handsome sons. As adults, they were sent to the king by their mother that he would take care of them. When the king recognized that they looked like him, he embraced them as his sons. And he said: ‘You are sons and heirs. Do not be afraid! If strangers are fed at my table, I feed those to whom by right an inheritance is due. The brothers are Christ’s poor and the sons of a poor religion.’ ” – You can accomplish almost anything if you are willing to pay the price (salvation?!) 


He was well aware that the Lord cared for him even in the smallest matters. When he was weak from a very serious illness, while returning from Spain, on the way he told Brother Bernard that he would have eaten a bit of a bird if he had one. Just then someone came riding across the field carrying an exquisite bird and said to him: “Servant of God, take what divine mercy sends you.”  Accepting it, he blessed Christ for everything, seeing how He cared for him. – Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls.


He did not want to be involved with the world through temporal things. When the Bishop of Assisi told him that to possess nothing in this world seemed to be a very rough life, he responded: “Lord, if we had any possessions, we would need to have arms to protect them, because they cause many disputes and lawsuits. Possessions usually impede the love of God and neighbor.”- Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some person ever reads.


He would frequently say: “As far as the brothers will withdraw from poverty, that far will the world withdraw from them. They owe the world an example, and the world owes the food they need. When the brothers withdraw good example, the world withdraws from them its support.”- What is important in prayer is not to think much but to love much.


Concerned about poverty, the man of God feared large numbers and he used to say: “Oh, if it were possible, I wish the world would only rarely get to see Lesser Brothers, and should be surprised at their small number!”- Let your light shine before all.


He wanted the brothers to be content with a few things, and not to possess these few things, whether places or things, as their own. He wanted to own nothing so that he could possess everything more fully in the Lord. – Some people spend their time trying to put out the lights of others.

Chapter V 



With the greatest zeal he cultivated poverty’s companion, the virtue of humility. Because of this he wanted the brothers to be clothed in a humble habit, girt with a rope, to be called Lesser Brothers, and never to be exalted in this world. – We can’t always trust what we hear with our ears but we can always trust what we hear with our heart. 


When he was asked by the Lord of Ostia about promoting his brothers to ecclesiastical dignities, he would in no way consent, but replied they should be kept in humility. – We are our choices.


Blessed Dominic was also present and likewise opposed the promotion of his brothers. He clung to Blessed Francis by such devotion that he most devotedly wore under his inner tunic a cord which he had given him, said that he wished that Francis’s religion and his own could be one, and stated that he should be imitated for his holiness by other religious. – Lord, help me not only to hear your word but to put it into practice.


Oh, how this humility and mutual charity of their Fathers must be imitated by their sons! Truly, it would be profitable to them and to God’s Church. – Lord, help me not only to love your word but to live it.


He wanted such great deference shown to prelates and priests that, because of reverence for their dignity and spiritual power, the brothers would consider not only their hands but also their feet worthy of being kissed.- As we are merciful to others so will mercy be shown to us.


He used to say: “We have been sent to help clerics for the salvation of souls  so that we may make up whatever may be lacking in them.- Anger is the wind that blows out the lamp of the mind.


Each shall receive a reward, not on account of authority, but because of the work done. – Evangelization is one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread.


Know then, brothers, that the good of souls is what pleases God most, and this is more easily obtained through peace with the clergy than fighting with them. – God selects his own instruments and sometimes they are very strange ones.


If they should stand in the way of the people’s salvation, revenge is for God, and he will repay them in due time.” – Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere.


And he would say: “Be subject to prelates so that as much as possible on your part no jealousy arises. How is it too much to be subject to superiors, when, for God’s sake, we must be subject to all human creatures?” – Make peace with who you are and you will be at peace with what you have.


As he thought humbly of himself, he was, in his own eyes, a great sinner, while actually he was in every way a mirror of holiness, and also a virgin in the flesh, as he revealed to that very holy man, Brother Leo, his confessor, and then disclosed to the General Minister. – Life with Christ is an endless hope, without him it is a hopeless end.


For as the just one is his own first accuser, while Blessed Francis accused himself in public of being the greatest of sinners, in private he never confessed the sin of bodily fornication. – When you’re through changing, you’re through.


His confessor was astonished, and piously wanted to know whether he was untainted in his flesh, something he could not obtain from the saint by repeated entreaty. – Affirmation empowers people to become the beautiful people God made them to be.


But, because he was a simple man of the greatest purity, he merited to secure from God that he was a virgin. This was revealed and shown to him by a special sign. – Insisting to see with perfect clarity before deciding is to never decide.


For while he was praying, he saw blessed Francis standing in a high prominent place which no one could approach and no one could touch. He was told in spirit that this indicated the prominence of the virginal purity found in blessed Francis. – The more faithfully we listen to the voice within, the better we hear what is sounding outside of us.


Virginal purity was fitting for flesh adorned with the sacred stigmata. If some ordinary people of the world, by the working of grace and nature, preserve the integrity of the flesh even to old age, who would wonder that Francis preserved it, when God was disposed to exalt him with such a grace? Therefore, a greatly humble man was exalted by the greatest exaltation. – Be glad and rejoice forever in what God creates.

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