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

September 2022 


Let us desire nothing else, let us wish for nothing else, 

let nothing else please us and cause us delight, except our Creator and Redeemer and Savior, 

the one true God, Who is fullness of Good, all Good, every Good, the true and Supreme Good, 

Who alone is merciful and gentle, delectable and sweet, Who alone is holy, just and true, holy and right, 

Who alone is kind, innocent, pure, from Whom and through Whom and in Whom is all pardon, all grace, all glory.  

Therefore, let nothing hinder us, nothing separate us or come between us. Let us all, wherever we are 

Glorify and exalt, magnify and give thanks to the Most High and supreme eternal God. 


The following excerpts for the days of the month are taken from 


The Book of Praises 


Chapter VII 



Francis’s teaching produced fruit especially in the three Orders that he established. The first is the Order of Lesser Brothers whose purpose is to serve the Lord according to the Gospel in poverty and humility, and to preach penitence. Innumerable signs in the professed testify that this is acceptable to God, Who is capable of recounting with how many miraculous signs in and through them the Lord embellished this state! – Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger.


I will come, however, to the visions, to the expressed callings or few revelations that faithful people now drop from memory. Through these the Lord deigned to demonstrate very plainly the perfection of this way of life. Father Brother Haymo, former general minister of holy memory, told of a prelate in England who, while taken up in a vision to the heavenly mansions, saw no Lesser Brothers there among the other religious. – Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks.


While he was wondering about this, the most beautiful of ladies, the most blessed Mother of God, came to him and asked what he was turning over in his mind. When the Bishop told her that he was wondering why he saw in that blessedness no Lesser Brothers, whom the Church Militant esteemed so highly, the Blessed Mother responded: “Come with me and I will show you where they are staying.” – The greatest gift you can do for another is to reveal to him/her their own riches.


She showed him brothers who were joined to Christ on intimate terms. “See,” she said, “they are under the wings of the Judge. Save your soul with them.” The Bishop, considering the grace of the vision and on the salutary counsel of the Mother of God, entered the Order of Lesser Brothers with the approval of lord Pope Gregory IX. Some religious are said to have been shown under the mantle of the Blessed Virgin. Thus, the Mother of God herself showed brothers to be under the protection of the wings of the Son of God, each like those of the two Cherubim. – The path to light is often through sin.


That prelate is believed to have been Ralph whose entry into the Order has been established; he was a Master of Theology and the Bishop of Hereford. Besides him, there were two other Ralphs, both doctors of theology, one of whom entered the Order at Paris in this way. One time while he was studying, he fell asleep at his book. – Be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, and tolerant with the weak and wrong. Sometime in life, you have been all of these.


The devil appeared to him and threatened to take away his sight: “I will blind you with dung.” He woke up but fell asleep again, when the devil again appeared to him and repeated the same words. He drove him away by putting his fingers to his eyes. “You will not blind me,” he said, “I will blind you.” – Children have never been good at listening to their elders, but they’ve never failed to imitate them.


On the following day, while he was sitting in the professor’s chair, he received from England a thick letter from a bishop offering him revenue. Interpreting the money as the dung with which the devil wanted to blind him, he entered the Order of Lesser Brothers, scorning everything. – We will change the world only when we have changed ourselves.


Some time ago, I was traveling with the then celebrated general minister throughout parts of Germany and Flanders. After many years I again had another meal with the brothers, one of whom had been a canon, a very venerable man, and who had been led to enter the Order by means of a remarkable cure and a vision.- When you’re through changing, you’re through.


Perhaps I do not remember all the circumstances after what is now a long time, but I have no doubt about the entry and the cure of the person. I relate the probable fact just as I recall it. That canon was also a noble and respected person, who feared God and had a special devotion to the virgin saint, Euphemia. Although he was, at that time, weak and advanced in age, yet he was concerned about the salvation of his soul which was accustomed to being jeopardized by his wealth. – Be still and know that I am God.


While wishing to put his hand to more heroic deeds, he desired to be shown the path of salvation, according to the words of the Prophet: Your ways, O Lord, make known to me; teach me your paths. Show me the way in which I should walk, for to you I lift up my soul. – Salvation is something that happens within you.


Through that virgin whom he had taken as his advocate, he begged with continual supplication to be directed to a state suitable for his salvation. Finally, the Lord poured into his heart to renounce the world completely in the Order of Saint Francis. – Salvation is the transformation of a life attitude.


He was sick, however, and had an ugly tumor on his throat. Because of this, the minister of the brothers delayed receiving him and, as cautiously as he could, he withdrew from his intention. He recommended his state as honorable, wholesome, fruitful, one that was capable of doing good works for many persons. While he recognized the dismissal, and was deeply saddened because of it, he once more gave himself to prayer, and then fell into a light sleep. – If you want God to listen to you when you pray, shouldn’t you listen to God when God speaks to you?


Then blessed Euphemia, to whom he was devoted, appeared to him in a vision with a brilliant company of virgins, and urged his entrance into the Order of Lesser Brothers, removed the obstacle to his reception by curing him, and gave him an unequivocal sign that he could easily endure the Order. “Let this be a sign for you,” she said, “that I am curing you of all infirmity.” – We die on the day when we cease to be illumined by the steady radiance of a wonder, the source of which is beyond reason.


Soon after the place of the swelling opened and every bit of that tumor was expelled, she closed the place of the tumor by the touch of her hand, and perfectly restored the man to complete health. When he awoke, that lord found himself perfectly cured. – If we are not rising to be angels, depend on it, we are sinking to be devils.


And he was received to vows in the Order, and he was transformed there in a most holy way. He is said to have grown in such virtue before the Lord that, impeded neither by age nor by usual weaknesses, he easily endured the hardships of the Order, and could travel longer on foot than he had been accustomed to do on horseback. – Though we as yet are not what we ought to be, we must be thankful that we are not what we used to be.


The most illustrious emperor of Constantinople, Jean, was advised by a divine revelation to take the habit of blessed Francis. Some claim that he alone was left without a court was left to his fraternal peers, and that he was destined for the Knight Templars or Hospitallers. – A rose is merely the evidence of the vitality of the root.


Since he was a young man, as noble in birth as he was conspicuous in behavior, he attained, with the help of God, the dignity of the kingdom of Jerusalem, and then to that of the Empire. He was renowned for many honors, since his son-in-law was the Roman Emperor. He was a very great defender of the true faith and an adversary of non-believers. – Thank God that your prayers have not all been answered.


Towards the end of his life, when he was seriously reflecting on how many gifts God had bestowed on him during his life, the greatest desire was sent to him from heaven, some believe, to know beforehand what kind of death he would have. He remained for some time with this desire and, because of it, persisted in his constant supplication of God. – When we go forth seeking God, we find that God is seeking us.


One night while he was sleeping, a dignified man appeared to him dressed in white, carrying in his hands the habit, cord, and sandals of the Lesser Brothers. “John,” the man said, calling the emperor by name, “since you anxiously desire to know the manner of your death, you should know that you will die in this habit and that this is the will of God.” The emperor, awake and terrified at such a future humiliation that, according to the man, was his, aroused with a scream those who by royal custom rested near him. When they came running, however, he would not reveal the reason for his cry. – The process of character goes from thoughts that become words that become actions that become our character.


The following night two men similarly dressed in white appeared to him in his sleep, carrying the same habit, cord and sandals and repeating that it was the divine will that he should die in that habit. Just as before, his spirit shuddered and, awake, he shouted but, again, he would not reveal the reason to those running to him from their beds. – Before thinking of changing others, strive to change yourself.


The third night three men likewise appeared to him in a vision, dressed in white like the others, carrying the same habit, cord, and sandals, and, as before, repeating that his passing would be in them. They added: “Do not believe that this is an illusion or an empty dream. What we say will truly be fulfilled.” The disturbed emperor ordered that his confessor, Brother Angelo, be called immediately. When he arrived, he found the emperor in bed, weeping. – Conscience is the walkie-talkie by which God speaks to us.


He said to him: “I know why you have called me. The same vision which you had was revealed to me.” After a few days a tertian fever gripped the emperor and, with full deliberation, he entered the Order and happily finished his days there according to the vision’s intent. But while he was still living, he was impeded by the gravity of his infirmity and debility from exercising the usual duties of humility in the Order. – Be conscious of human weakness, but be confident that it can be overcome.


He is said to have expressed his soul in a memorable passage: “O my most sweet Lord, Jesus Christ, would that I who have lived elegantly in the pomp of the world, clothed in priceless garments, could, as a truly poor and humble man, follow you, who are poor and humble, by seeking alms in this habit with a sack hanging from my neck!” – The most important person to be honest with is yourself.


In this a very excellent man left us a very great example, that neither the great nor the ordinary nor much less others would be ashamed of what pertains to poverty and humility. He achieved in this vow what nobles usually win for themselves in this Order, that is, to be more humble, more gentle and more simple. Indeed, the sobriety of gentleness and humility is a distinguishing mark of nobility. – The test of courage comes when we are in the minority.


Grace often ennobles the ignoble, and the fault of pride or sloth makes the noble ignoble. What is more worthless than for a noble to become a boor? Not to be shunned are the lowest in birth, to whom it has been given to serve the Lord as a knight; there is nothing greater than to be a knight of Christ. But let me continue what I have begun. – The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority.


Brother William of happy memory, former minister of Aquitaine, related that there was a man, once a master in the city of Chartres, bound by a vow to enter the Order of Lesser Brothers. He missed the time, however, determined by brothers for entering the Order. While he was playing checkers outside in front of the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, he suddenly lost his sight. When he realized this, he overturned the game with his hand so that the bystanders would notice it. Then calling a boy, putting his hand on his shoulder, he entered the church where, prostrate before the altar of the Virgin, he promised the Mother of God with tears and devotion that, should she restore his sight, he would enter the Order of Lesser Brothers without delay. – The greatest treason is to do the right thing for the wrong reason.


When he recovered his sight, he came to the brothers and named the day when he would enter the Order. But once again he went back on his word. He was again playing checkers in the same place as before, and again was made blind. He entered the church as before, and, after many tears, he made a promise to the Blessed Virgin that, if he regained his sight, he would no longer put off entering the Order. At last, he recovered his vision, but not as quickly as the first time. Nevertheless, once again he lied by neglecting and delaying his promise of entering the Order. A third time he became blind as before, entered the church as before, and wept very devoutly before the altar of the Mother of God. Once more, after he repeated his promise to enter the Order, he regained his sight, although even more slowly. – The greatest tragedy is not the clamor of bad people, but the appalling silence of good people.


Seeing that out of necessity he would have to fulfill his vow that had been proven by so many tests to be pleasing to God and the blessed Virgin, he told the brothers all that had happened to him, and entered the Order according to his promise. After his entrance into the Order, he did not entirely put off the old man, and did not want to follow the common life of the Order. Under the pretext of need, he wanted to wear shoes at all times, to eat in the infirmary, and always to sleep on a mattress. During the winter, he hurried to the kitchen to warm himself after Mass. – If at first you don’t succeed, you are running about average.


The brothers tolerated his living as one of the sick for almost two years—not without great dislike, especially since he had been an honorable person in the world. One night Saint Francis appeared to him in a vision and said to him: “My son, carry me a little while.” But the brother refused: “I cannot carry you,” he said. “You are a large and heavy person, while I am weak and feeble.” But since the saint asked to be carried by him just the same, grabbing his shins, he dragged the saint’s head on the ground. Blessed Francis cried out: “You’re hurting me, you’re hurting me! You’re carrying me poorly.” “I can’t carry you any other way,” he replied. The saint complained loudly that he was dragged in this way. – People more frequently require to be reminded than informed.


The next morning after Mass, he entered the kitchen as usual, and there told of his dream. A discerning brother listening to this said to him: “It is as you have seen. For you do hurt and carry blessed Francis poorly, that is, his Order which you are dragging through the dirt because of the worldly and degrading life you lead by living excessively and according to the flesh.” When he heard the brother’s interpretation of the dream and knew it was true, he took it to heart. He took off his fur cloak and shoes, and lost interest in the infirmary and the feather bed. Instead, taking up the common life of the Order that he had neglected, he turned into another man, completely spiritual and religious, and later became an outstanding preacher. – God is more anxious to communicate with us than we are to listen.











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