Daily Reflections, May 2023 Father Francis Sariego, OFM Cap

May 2023

Hail, O Lady, holy Queen, you are the virgin made church 

and the one chosen by the most holy Father in heaven 

whom He consecrated with His most holy beloved Son 

and with the Holy Spirit the Paraclete,  

in whom there was and is all the fullness of grace and every good. 

Hail, His Palace! Hail, His, Tabernacle! Hail, His Home! 

Hail, His Robe! Hail, His Servant!  Hail, His Mother! 

And hail all you holy virtues which through the grace and light of the Holy Spirit 

are poured into the hearts of the faithful so that from 

their faithless state you may make them faithful to God. 

(Salutation of the Blessed Virgin) 


(below: first quote from Franciscan sources THE TRIBULATIONS – 

second quote from various spiritual writers) 



The life of Francis, poor and humble man of God, founder of the three Orders, has been written by four estimable persons, brothers brilliant in learning and holiness, namely John and Thomas of Celano, Brother Bonaventure, minister general after blessed Francis, and a man of marvelous simplicity and holiness, Brother Leo, the companion of Saint Francis. – To expect God to do something while we do nothing is superstition not faith.


Anyone who reads and diligently examines these four descriptions or histories will be able to know in part from the matters told in them the vocation, way of life, holiness, innocence, life, and first and last intention of that seraphic man; and how Christ especially loved him and was kind and familiar with him, cleansing, illuminating, and forming him; drawing him after Himself to follow the footprints of His perfection, appearing to him crucified. He so transformed him into Himself, that from then on he lived not for himself but, fully crucified, for Christ. – Live with people to know their problems and live with God in order to solve them.


To him Christ was substance, impulse, sense, light, and life; he was imprinted by fire in his memory, intellect, and passion; he was united and secretly conformed to the cross deep within his marrow. And all that he was, all that he desired, thought, spoke, and did, he received from Christ, and he vigilantly, humbly, and blessedly arranged and perseveringly fulfilled all according to Him and on account of Him. – The hottest place in hell, says the poet Dante, is reserved for those who in a moral crisis maintain their neutrality.


Christ Instructs Francis 


Jesus Christ found him faithful, obedient, grateful, simple, upright, humble, in accord with His heart; and revealed to him the first and last perfection of His evangelical life and that of His mother, His apostles, and the evangelists. He opened his ears and trained him with a powerful hand in the incorruptible and perfect works of heaven, and placed Himself in his heart, his mouth, and his arms. – A Christian must resemble a fruit tree whose fruit grows on it and not a Christmas tree whose gaudy decorations are only tied on. 


Christ said to him: “Take from my hand the scroll, the law of grace and humility, of poverty, piety, charity, and peace; the form of life which I kept with my disciples, a life-giving rule for a spotless life and fullness of grace, the sure acquisition of glory for the soul directing in action and in thought the possession and ascent to heavenly and divine things. This I created substantially in the saints from the beginning and showed it to be the form of perfection. – Faith is the power that you and I have to move mountains if we are not too proud to push a barrow.


“Naked, being born of the Virgin in a way words cannot describe, I was wrapped in the swaddling clothes of poverty, and lay in the manger of humility, because I did not want to have a place in the inn, so that, in a mystery, I might show poverty to be the sure way to the kingdom of heaven, and I might confirm in words and deeds the humble lovers and observers of poverty to be heirs and kings of that same kingdom, ordained by my Father from eternity. – Let one do good deeds and then ask God to explain His Law.


“A powerful angel, in spirit and power the prophet Elias, herald of my advent and incarnation, John the Baptist, I sent before me to prepare my ways and to make straight the paths, to preach penance and, in deeds and in word, to give knowledge of salvation for the remission of sins. Thus, through him, all might believe in me, and for believing, loving, and observing the perfection of my poor, meek, and humble way of living and most divine life, all wishing to come after me might have a pious and most sure director, guide, and patron from this point until the end of the world. – First act like good an upright people then ask for wisdom.


“For this reason, giving to those choosing to come after me escape from the shadows of error and the damnation of eternal confusion and death, and entry to the kingdom of God, reborn of water and the Holy Spirit, as soon as I was baptized by him I was led into the desert by the Holy Spirit. In fasting, vigils, and prayer I consecrated by example the period of forty days, teaching through this that the lifetime of the baptized ought to be consecrated fully and perfectly to divine worship; and so those following me, by my power might conquer the prince of death, ruler of the world of this darkness, and dead to the world and all things which are of the world, they might live for God alone, seeking and minding things that are above, not those on earth. – When we have grasped the way of humility then we can ask God for understanding.


“I preached penance and the kingdom of heaven, like a swift runner, covered with one tunic and a cheap cloak, opening up the ways of life to my disciples, going along together with them without money, sandals, bag, or purse. Lacking a roof, I who made the heavens had no place to lay my head, so that I might show to those imitating me that the world and all things which are of the world must be accounted as loss and dung and despised. –  When someone says they have rights that usually means they are suffering wrongs.


“I spent the night awake in prayer before God, by day teaching in the synagogues and the temple hatred of the world, desire, greed, hypocrisy, and of lies, pride, and malice. And so that they might recognize Me as the Messiah promised to our forefathers, God made human, Emmanuel, and might accept Me for salvation, curing by My power all illnesses and infirmities, I cast out demons, cleansed lepers, raised the dead, and forgave sins. – When you begin to ignore human dignity you will eventually begin to ignore human rights.


“I made those whom I chose from the world otherworldly, Brother, by both My word and the example of My poor, humble, heavenly life. I did not lose any of them, but they remained with Me in My trials, and I sanctified them. Leaving the world, I commended them to the Father, because they were Mine and not of the world. By My example they were to be supernaturally victorious, and to preach through the whole earth to Jews and Gentiles hatred and contempt of the world on account of My name, and profess faith in Me and the eternal glory and honor of My kingdom, which is not of this world. – Justice impels us to desire and to insist that everyone receives what we all have a right to.


“I confirmed My preaching in My blood through death on the cross, naked, outside the gate hanging in the midst of thieves, abandoned to insults and the most bitter sufferings, boundless and innumerable, so that, redeemed by the price of My blood and the power of My death, I might raise up those corrupted by pride, vanity, and carnality, those rightly condemned to a double death; so that I might make them most ardent lovers of My pains and death and cross, overcoming themselves, the world, and the devil. – The challenge to Christians is to respond to the Word of God as present to us through human beings who have specific needs and strive to affirm their humanity. 


Just as I laid down My life for the salvation of humankind to the honor and glory of the Father, so they, redeemed through Me, might lay down their life, to the glory and honor of My name, holding fast to the means of My death and the cross, by which the world, with the prince of death, is conquered, grace is possessed in the present, and glory in the future. – Glory is perfected grace.


“I conformed them to My death, sharing My pains and suffering, so that they might understand the beginning of the opening of the book of life and, in it, the inscription and message of My infinite love, the door leading into the brilliance of My wisdom, and the key opening the secret splendors of My works, words, precepts, counsels, sacraments and promises, and the sure revelation of the blessings of my glory, by which the children of light and My grace are separated from the children of darkness and sin, and the citizens of the kingdom from the citizens of Babylon and Hell.” – We cannot seek grace through gadgets.


This Benjamin, Francis, along with Paul, the least of the saints, learned and received all the things which he wrote in the Rule and the Testament and in his letters and admonitions, neither from men nor through a man, but by revelation of Jesus Christ appearing to him, seraphically dwelling in him, and speaking to him in the form of the cross. These things he preached blatantly in very clear, brief words, and perfectly fulfilled them in faithful deeds. – Don’t let go of me. God hold on a bit longer.


He was so ignited by the fire of the Holy Spirit when Christ Jesus appeared to him as if nailed to the cross, that after the example of Christ Jesus the redeemer, who hung on the cross naked in the midst of thieves and died, he firmly proposed that, naked and separated from the world, unrecognized by all men, as we read about Mary Magdalene and many other saints, he would serve Christ even unto death, or he would offer himself to any harsh tortures and martyrdom to preach the faith and witness to Christ Jesus among the Saracens or other unbelievers. – We ride with ease when we are carried by the grace of God.


Turned toward Christ, he begged with devout prayers and burning desires, to be enlightened about his direction and reassured by Him from whom every good thing and every gift is freely given to all and without whom nothing pleasing to God can be accomplished. – We are drawn to God by loving attractions and holy inspirations.


Appearing to him, Christ Jesus, our Savior, said: “Francis: follow Me, and hold to the footprints of the poverty and humility of My life. To be conformed and united to Me in the senses, intellect, and action is the goal of My every promise and fulfillment of grace and glory. For if you cling to Me with your whole heart, your whole soul, your whole mind, and your whole strength, so that your every thought is in Me and about Me, all your words are from Me, for Me, and with Me, and all your works are done always on account of Me and for the honor and glory of My name, you will be My servant and I will be with you, and I will speak through your mouth, and whoever hears you, hears Me, and whoever receives you, receives Me, and whoever blesses you, will be blessed and whoever curses you, will be cursed. – Go only asks from you what he gives you the power to do.


“You and all your brothers whom I will give you are to live in My likeness living, as strangers and pilgrims, dead to the world. Ground yourself, your rule and life on the poverty and nakedness of My cross, because My substance of all communicable riches of grace and glory is grounded and based on poverty, and the infinite blessed enjoyment of all My goods is possessed in striving toward My humility. For the depth of humility is immense, and in those who truly love and possess poverty and humility is the look of My happiness and the resting-place and dwelling of My favor. – Grace justifies me and sets me free from the slavery of sin.


“Therefore the congregation of your brotherhood will be called the religion of lesser ones, so that from the name they might understand that above all they are to be truly humble of heart; since humility is the cloak of My honor and praise, and anyone passing from this life with this habit will find the gates of My kingdom open. – Man is born broken; he lives by mending. The grace of God is the glue.


“I asked My Father to grant Me in this last hour a little poor people, humble, and meek, and mild, who would be like Me in all things, in poverty and humility, and who would be content to have only Me; I would come to rest and remain in this people, just as My Father rests and remains in Me: and this people would rest and remain in Me just as I remain in the Father and rest in His Spirit. My Father gave you to Me, along with those who with their whole heart and with unfeigned faith and perfect charity cling to Me through you; and I will guide and nourish them, and they shall be sons to Me, and I shall be a father to them. – Grace is nature’s perfection.


Whoever receives you, receives Me; and whoever persecutes you, persecutes and despises Me: and My judgment will come upon your despisers and persecutors; but My blessing will remain upon those receiving and blessing you. “Let My Gospel be your Rule, and My life be your life, My cross your repose, My charity your life, My death your hope and resurrection. – A balanced soul, filled with the light of inner grace, is not afraid to look at the darkness outside.


Let the reproaches, blasphemies, and mockery against Me be your honors, blessings, and commendations; let your life, joy, and glory be to endure death and torments for Me; let your portion and riches be to wish to have nothing under heaven; let your distinction, consolation, and triumph be to be humbled beneath all and to rejoice to be afflicted and vilified on account of My name. – Grace is the free gift of Almighty God to needy humanity.


“The places in which the brothers will live as strangers and pilgrims to worship and praise Me, shall be vile, poor little buildings, made of mud and wattle, set apart from the vanities and tumult of the world, and lacking ownership and rights. With the obedience, permission, and good pleasure of bishops and clerics they shall accept the buildings as strangers and pilgrims, staying in them only as long as the owners of the places wish it and it pleases the bishops, always prepared to leave there willingly and thankfully when their hosts ask them to leave. They shall be like Me and conformed to Me when they spend time in worshiping Me, living in these places as strangers, preaching My name in deed and conduct; and as strangers and pilgrims they shall leave very willingly when asked, showing perfectly by such a glad and humble gesture that they hold onto nothing there and did not wish to hold onto anything.” – God and ourselves can only be bridged by God.


Therefore in his Testament, which he made near his death, he says: “After the Lord gave me brothers and companions, no one showed me what I ought to do, but the Most High Himself revealed to me that I ought to live according to the pattern of the Holy Gospel. And I had this written down simply and in a few words, and the Lord Pope confirmed it for me.” And for the pure and Catholic observance of this life, in the end he made his Testament, in which he showed that he received the beginning, development, and end of his conversion through revelation from Jesus Christ.  – If you have seen your brother, you have seen God.


The faith and obedience of the Roman Church and of all the priests ordained by the same Church, though sinners, are to be venerated, so much so that, if he had as much wisdom as Solomon, he would not preach in their parishes against their will and obedience. Enlightened by Christ he taught them to respect, love, and honor the ministers of the sacraments of the Church as their lords, and above all that these sacraments and divine words and all masters and doctors of sacred theology must be venerated and honored because, he said, through this we share in spirit and life through their ministry. – To be Church means to live as part of a family aware that we need others.


They should perform the Office according to the custom of the Roman Church. The brothers should be content with one tunic patched inside and out for the sake of the true observance of poverty, and not wish to have more, but be sincerely subject to all, showing the lesser state of humility in their way of life and work, working with their hands for the sake of example and love of virtue, to avoid idleness, and to provide for the needs of their bodies and of those of their brothers in an evangelical way; showing that it is great humility, ineffable dignity, and participation at the table of the King of glory Himself to have recourse to the table of the Lord and seek alms from door to door when they are not paid for their work. – God did not spare His only Son, and He is not going to be soft on His adopted ones either.


Blessed Francis had learned from Christ that it is a great dignity and incomparable honor according to God and man for the evangelical poor to seek alms for the love of the Lord God, because all things created both in heaven and on earth cannot be compared to the love of God, for all things which the heavenly Father created for human use out of love for His beloved Son, after sin, have been given, free, as alms, to the worthy and the unworthy. Therefore, what is asked and given for the love of the Lord God and the love of Christ Jesus His Son, who became poor for us so that by His poverty He would make us rich in present grace and sanctify us as blessed in future glory, can be called the bread of angels rather than the food of the body. – I am a part and parcel of the whole, I cannot find God apart from the whole of humanity.


Thus, according to what he received from Christ, Francis says in his Rule: “Let the brothers not make anything their own, neither house, nor place, nor anything at all; but as pilgrims and strangers in this world, serving the Lord in poverty and humility, let them go seeking alms with confidence; and they should not be ashamed because, for us, the Lord made Himself poor in this world. This is that sublime height of the highest poverty which has made you, my most beloved brothers, heirs and kings of the Kingdom of Heaven, poor in temporal things, exalted in virtue. Let this be your portion, which leads into the land of the living. Giving yourselves totally to this, most beloved brothers, never seek anything else under heaven for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you will help them to become what they are capable of being.


In order to preserve purely and completely the perfection of the highest evangelical poverty revealed to him by Christ, Francis, in the strength and certitude of the spirit of Christ, strictly orders: “Wherever they may be, they are not to dare to ask any letter from the Roman Curia, either personally or through an intermediary, whether for a church or a place, or under the pretext of preaching or the persecution of their bodies; but wherever they have not been received let the brothers flee into another country to do penance with the blessing of God.” He adds at the end that his Testament is not another Rule, but an exhortation or remembrance of both his first and last intention, revealed to him by Christ, a testament which he made for his blessed brothers, that they might observe the Rule they promised the Lord in a more Catholic way, because the Catholic, faithful, and pure observance of the Rule, which he received from Christ, was contained in the literal understanding of the Testament and Rule. – No wise man wants a soft life.


Therefore he strictly commanded by obedience that they were not to place glosses on the Rule and Testament, saying: “They should be understood in this way.” But as the Lord granted him to speak and write the Rule and Testament simply and purely, they were to understand them simply and purely without gloss, and observe them with a holy activity until the end. Therefore anyone who possesses the truth of the faith and charity of Christ knows how many absurd and inappropriate things are said by those who attempt to void or nullify Saint Francis, his Rule and Testament, things against Christ, the apostles, their disciples, the evangelists, anchorites, cenobites, heads of churches, founders of all the orders of perfection and, in fact, even against the Roman Church itself. Christ was familiar with Francis, like a father with his most beloved son. He informed him of the good pleasure of His will; and showed him what was useful, fit, and helpful at the moment, and for coming, foreseen tribulation. He showed through him and in him the preparations for the final perfect state of contemplation in the heaven of the Church. But his own did not accept him. – They can be no wisdom disjoined from goodness.





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