Daily Reflections June 2023 by Father Francis Sariego, OFM Cap

June 2023


(The following prayer was prayed by St. Pio of Pietrelcina everyday.

This might be a simple daily tribute to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, requesting that He remain in our hearts always.)


Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have You present so that I do not forget You. / You know how easily I abandon You. / Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak and I need Your strength, that I may not fall so often. / Stay with me, Lord, for You are my life, and without You, I am without fervor. / Stay with me, Lord, for You are my light, and without You, I am in darkness. / Stay with me, Lord, to show me Your will. / Stay with me, Lord, so that I hear Your voice and follow You. / Stay with me, Lord, for I desire to love You very much, and always be in Your company. / Stay with me, Lord, if You wish me to be faithful to You. / Stay with me, Lord, for as poor as my soul is, I wish it to be a place of consolation for You, a dwelling of Your Love. / Stay with me, Jesus, for it is getting late; the days are coming to a close and life is passing.


Death, judgment, eternity are drawing near. / It is necessary to renew my strength, so that I will not stop along the way and for that, I need You. / It is getting late and death approaches. / I fear the darkness, the temptations, the dryness, the cross, the sorrows. / O how I need You, my Jesus, in this night of exile! / Stay with me tonight, Jesus, because in the darkness of this life, with all its dangers, I need You. / Help me to  me recognize You as Your disciples did at the breaking of bread, so that the Eucharistic Communion be the light which disperses the darkness, the power which sustains me, the unique joy of my heart.


Stay with me, Lord, because at the hour of my death, I want to be one with you, and if not by Communion, at least by grace and love. / Stay with me, Jesus. / I do not ask for divine consolation, because I do not deserve them, but I only ask for the gift of Your Presence. / Oh yes, I ask this of You! / Stay with me, Lord, for it is You alone, Your Love, Your Grace, Your Will, Your Heart, Your Spirit, because I love You and ask for no other reward but to love You more and more, with a strong and active love.


Grant that I may love You with all my heart while on earth, so that I can continue to love You perfectly, throughout all eternity, dear Jesus. Amen


(The following are taken from Franciscan Sources and each is followed by a quick thought for the day)


The Tribulations


[Francis Instructs His Companions]



His companions—namely Bernard of Quintavalle, Giles, Angelo, Masseo, and Leo —related that Saint Francis once said in secret to these five: “Brothers, although I may be the most vile man and least worthy creature of God, nevertheless, that you may grow in reverence and faith in your vocation and the promise of the life and Rule revealed to me by the Lord, know that Christ reveals His presence to me with great kindness and familiarity, especially whenever I cry out to Him for the benefit of the religion. He so fully and clearly agrees to all the things that I ask for that—as the Lord Himself once told me—He gave to very few, to the rarest of saints, such an abundance of His presence. – No wise man wants a soft life.


By His kindness and grace alone He called me and revealed Himself to me, and He taught me that I should seek confirmation of His spotless life from the Church and the Lord Pope. And Christ swayed the Lord Pope and his brothers the Lord Cardinals, and they understood that I had been sent to them by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and the Lord Pope granted me everything that I asked. – Wisdom has four virtues: prudence, temperance, courage and righteousness.


“Happy are they who faithfully and devoutly strive to live according to their vocation, and observe purely and simply until the end the things which they promised the Lord, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven with unique glory. – There is no wisdom disjoined from goodness.


And woe to those who attempt to nullify out of their knowledge those things which He deigned to reveal to me to the glory of His grace, for the present and future benefit of the whole religion, and for the salvation of the souls of all the brothers. Because such people deprive themselves of grace, and drag others away from salvation, they deserve the most bitter punishments of Gehenna.” – It is always wise to look ahead, but difficult to look further than you can see. – Carry your cross patiently and in the end it will carry you.


Christ did not wish to hide from him the good things and the bad, defects and progress, slips and falls, what trials and tribulations, what struggles, and what revelations would follow and happen to the religion until the end. – The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.


Now, after that remarkable vision and its effect on the heart of each—when, absent in body, Francis was present to his brothers in a fiery chariot and their consciences were laid bare to each other, as the holy man Brother John of Celano wrote in his legend—on returning to the brothers he first comforted them regarding the heavenly vision shown them, then foretold in detail what was to happen in the religion after them. – A wise person looks at things the way they are.


“Do not be discouraged, brothers, because you are few and simple. Shortly many shall come to this life and religion, not only simple men, but also the wise and noble, rich and poor, laymen and clerics; and not only Italians, but also French, Spanish, Scots, Irish, Germans, Slavs, Hungarians, and those from other nations. Behold, the sound of their feet is in my ears. – Pain is God’s way of arousing a deaf world.


“Therefore be grateful to God and strive with all your might to make firm before Him your vocation and election in both works and holy feelings, because God placed us—unlettered, contemptible, and abject—as founders of this humble, poor, and first and last final state in this last hour. – God whispers in our pleasures but shouts in our pains.


It follows that it is fitting that we be even more humble, and with fear and trembling work out our salvation and bear worthy fruit of penance before God, Who by His good will alone called us to the heavenly following of His life. – Great things are accomplished with great endurance.


“Since many will be called and few chosen even in this religion, especially in the last days, when the times of tribulation approach, you should understand the truth of future happenings. The Most High will fill us now, at the beginning of the religion, with gifts and graces, with the sweetness of His blessing and the fruits of charity. – Beauty is God’s handwriting.


Like guests at His table, He will feed us the bread of life and understanding and give us to drink spiritual joy and happiness, and content us with the ineffable taste of peace and wisdom. – It is impossible for the world to exist without God.


“But an enemy will try to sow weeds in the religion, and many will enter the religion who will begin to live not for Christ but for themselves, and will follow the prudence of the flesh more than obedience to the faith and the Rule, granting much to the flesh and little to the spirit, acquiescing to the fragility of nature, and closing the ears of the heart to grace. – We expect too much of God, but He always seems ready.


They shall neglect to do violence to themselves that they may seize the kingdom of God. Because of this the religion will diminish and decline from perfection, and the fervor of perfect charity will begin to grow tepid. – The hardness of God is always kinder than the softness of man.


There shall also be some who innocently and faithfully follow after us in sorrow and weariness, and they shall be afflicted and oppressed by those who differ from them. – God is not an idea or a definition we have committed to memory, He is a presence we experience in our hearts.


“Then, after that tribulation of evils and sufferings, the situation will decline toward what is worse and even more bitter. Evil spirits shall attack the religion, and many shall rise against it: those living carnal, animal lives in the religion shall be multiplied, and they shall be entangled and caught in the delights and the cares of life. – If God loves us as much as we love God, where would we all be?


“They shall shamelessly throw themselves into lawsuits in order to acquire money, bequests, and legacies. They shall withdraw from love of holy poverty and humility. In hatred they shall persecute and punish those in the religion who resist them. Because of this their words and deeds, internally and externally, shall be very bitter. Internally, they shall move away from poverty, humility, and prayer; they shall give themselves ambitiously to learning and lecturing, and they shall prefer words to virtues, learning to holiness, pride and arrogance to humility. – God would not be the God that He is if we could prove that He was.


Accusing those who oppose them, they shall call it piety to shame and oppress them by deceit, and will preach that it is justice to wage war upon them. They shall disturb clerics and fall away from reverence for them, contradicting the humility they promised. – The atheist staring from his attic window is often nearer to God than the believer caught up in his own false image of God.


The laity shall be scandalized by their greed for things, and they shall give an example of frivolity and vanity in their changing places, and in sumptuous and ornate buildings. They will bite and devour each other. They will pant for ecclesiastical honors, competing among themselves to be and to appear superior. – God is a busy worker, but He loves help.


But they shall despise as crazy brothers who try to cling to humility and labor to rise up to Heaven through a pure observance of their promises. They will revile such brothers as useless and good for nothing, but they will admire and extol those intent on seeking high offices, and praise their prudence. – Nothing is impossible to a willing heart.


“Therefore, after these things, their conduct and life will be very bitter and completely unbearable to everyone, and they shall shame and persecute and defame each other. The stench of their conduct will be impossible to hide. Then the religion beloved by God will be so defamed by bad example that the good brothers will be ashamed to go out in public. – Give what you have; to someone it may be more than you dare to think.


Then every wicked man will turn the stench of his own malice back at the brothers, and will start to excuse and minimize his crimes by comparing his deed to those of the brothers, saying: ‘The brothers do things that are even worse.’ Only a few, with many tribulations and much opposition, will turn themselves wholeheartedly to Christ and the observance of their vocation. – The return from our generosity is not always evident.


The novices who shall then enter the religion, lacking the example and direction of their superiors, will be stunned by the things they will see and their life-giving desires and works of grace will dry up, and they shall look back. But some of them shall cry out to Christ in prayer and, lacking the guidance of masters, they shall be filled with outstanding gifts of grace and blessings from the Lord and shall be led to the summit of highest perfection. – When the hand ceases to scatter, the mouth ceases to praise.


In the end what will become of them is what usually happens with fishermen: they cast their net into the sea, and catch a great multitude of bad fish and a few good ones. Hauling it to shore they pick out the few good ones and place them in their containers, but they toss out the bad ones and leave them on the shore to be devoured by birds.” This is already happening to this religion in these last days. – There is nothing permanent except change.


[Confirmation of the Rule]


After a few days, when their number had now come to twelve, Christ appeared to him again and said: “Write down the life which I have revealed to you and present it to My Vicar. Request in My name that it be confirmed for you, your companions, and all who wish to accept it. Those who shall receive it humbly and reverently, and observe it simply and faithfully, will share in the spirit of life and be clothed in the light of My splendor. – When human beings are easy in their circumstances, they are naturally enemies to innovations.


Those who despise it shall be wrapped up in darkness and shadows, and they shall be worse off than other men for they will have fallen from a higher state and calling.” – Christians are supposed not merely to endure change, not even to profit by it, but to cause it.


What he requested seemed very difficult, almost impossible, for the weakness and tepidity of the men of his day, so the Supreme Pontiff urged him to accept some order or rule that was already approved. But he insisted that he had been sent by Christ to request this life, not another, and remained firm in his petition. – When people shake their heads because we live in a restless age, how would they like a stationary life and do without any change.


Then Lord John of Saint Paul, Bishop of Sabina, and Lord Hugo, Bishop of Ostia, moved by the spirit of God, stood by Saint Francis, and in the presence of the Supreme Pontiff and the cardinals offered many reasonable and very effective arguments for the things he was asking. – There is no mortar that time will not loose.


Meanwhile, that night, the Supreme Pontiff saw in a dream a man identical in every way to Saint Francis, supporting on his shoulders the Lateran church, which was leaning so far that it would fall, and kept it upright by his strength. – To change and to improve are two different things.


And the next day Saint Francis, instructed by the spirit of Christ, presented before the pope a parable about a poor and beautiful woman who conceived and bore sons resembling the king; and she raised them in the desert. Sometime later, passing through the area again, the king recognized them as his offspring, placed them at his table, and made them heirs and kings of his kingdom. – What Jesus asked is not that we give up anything, because that is loss, but that we exchange what we have for something better.


The Supreme Pontiff understood that what he was asking came from Christ and not from man, and giving thanks to God, granted his requests, and by his authority made them preachers of the Gospel, and promised in the future that if they asked for something he would do it generously and graciously. – Nothing surpasses the greatness or dignity of the human person.






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