June 2023 Meditation from Father Francis Sariego, OFM Cap

St. Katherine Drexel Regional Fraternity

Regional Spiritual Assistant

St. Francis of Assisi Friary

1901 Prior Road

Wilmington, Delaware 19809


tel: (302) 798-1454      fax: (302) 798-3360      website: skdsfo     email: pppgusa@gmail.com


June 2023



Dear Sisters and Brothers in St. Francis,


In the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Through the Immaculate Heart of Mary

May you enter the loving embrace of the Father

Whose Holy Spirit fills us with Life and Love.


The Cross, earth’s greatest pulpit, raised our King for all to see in the glory and majesty of his infamy and humiliation. The Heart of Jesus unloved by those loved by Him must have felt such deep sorrow and pain that words cannot fathom, much less explain. His words cut deeply into the hearts of those who stood by. The words of the bystanders to the Cross were filled with anger, ridicule, blasphemy. Jesus responded with words from the Cross filled with understanding,

compassion, forgiveness, surrender, and LOVE.


The Cross-Road of Calvary offers a challenge to all who look upon the Crucified. It indicates a needed directional change “upward” and beyond. Jesus, exhausted and weak, musters up the strength to say It is finished (John 19: 30). If we only would reflect and understand the powerful meaning and impact of these few words, how our lives might change! While the English translation is good, it is the Latin expression that so powerfully expresses the deeper significance of the words. They speak of the completion of a mission, the fulfillment of the Promise God made to our first parents, as well as of all the prophecies up to that time regarding the Messiah. Nevertheless, they also speak of the intimacy and fruitfulness of the greatest act of God’s love: consummatum est! – It is consummated! (John 19: 30) When an agreement is consummated, when a love is consummated, the total surrender of one to the other is made without reserve, and from the two a new way of being emerges, unique in its own personality, but similar to those whose agreement and love have allowed it to be. Jesus totally surrendered His Will and existence to the Father and thus also to all humanity.


We are the children of that consummated act of love that introduced humanity once again to the loving embrace of the Eternal Father. In the Blood of the Savior, and His love for us, we are re-born into a new creation and receive our status as children of God, (cfr.1 John 3: 1) in the blood of Christ. We are unique in our individual personalities but are one with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, through the Blood of Christ. The Easter Proclamation of Light Service chants: What good would life have been had Christ not come to us as our Redeemer! Father, how wonderful your care for us! How boundless your merciful love! To ransom a slave you gave away your Son. It is this same Incarnate Son Who completed His mission on earth by being “consumed” upon the cross. It was this consummation that brought an end to the earthly life of Jesus and began a new Life for us.


The completion of His mission from the Father was the beginning of our being sent forth as His “backup plan” as His Mystical Body in time. This awesome responsibility and trusting mandate of Jesus continues for the sisters and brothers of the Poverello of Assisi who responded with their “yes” to live the life of the Gospel. The Gospel is the “Good News” and the Good News is the person of Jesus the Christ, Son of God, Word Incarnate. He continues His life-giving ministry of presence and power through us, a compassionate presence of powerful love.


The Divine Heart of Jesus burned with love for everyone. The crown of thorns was a sign to mock Him as Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews. (John 19: 19)  His majesty was marked by the throne of the cross, the crown of thorns, nails for jewels, and a beaten body covered in blood for a royal robe. The image of the Crucified Savior and His pierced Heart is a constant reminder that Love is not loved. St. Francis of Assisi weeping profusely often repeated this phrase so that others might consider the Love of Christ that is so often taken for granted, or “not taken” at all.


Many great Saints have promoted devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Devotion to the Sacred Heart is not some emotional expression of pious prayers intended to excite our feelings, as some seem to believe. All true prayer should be able to arouse within us a sense of the Divine Presence. Prayers help us feel good and trusting in what we believe God will respond to our needs according to His Will. However, when we speak Cor ad Cor  (heart to Heart) to the Lord, the relationship deepens and we move from feeling to becoming. The Sacred Heart of Jesus is a symbol for us to focus upon that reminds us of a love unequaled and always desired. Prayer keeps the loving relationship alive and, hopefully well, with the Source of all we are and are called to be.


Devotion to the Sacred Heart offers us the image that society uses to express the transparency of truth (cross my heart and hope to die – used by children), unquestionable integrity (put my whole heart and soul into it), and the depth of limitless love (I love you with all my heart). We use the heart to confirm and seal many a relationship we desire to establish with others. The heart is mentioned not just as an emotional symbol but as a verifying reality of the depth of a person’s desires and availability. The heart conditions the thoughts and actions that people often express. The following of one’s heart reveals a great deal about who a person is, or desires to be.


The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, following The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi), is the crowning celebration of the liturgical year. All the other liturgical celebrations originate and revolve around the great Paschal Mystery of the Passion-Death-Resurrection of Jesus. More often than not they concern some truth of our Catholic Faith that we accept and believe as “Catholics”. The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus may not be a dogma of faith, but it summarizes in this image the love of Jesus for humanity. In a sense it explains everything we believe as God’s continued act of Eternal Love. It becomes the ultimate explanation for all the events celebrated during the year by reminding us of their origin in God’s Love, their development and progression in God’s Love, and their ultimate fulfillment in God’s eternal Loving Embrace.


Reflection and meditation on the Sacred Heart of Jesus, our Lord and God, Crucified Savior, Pierced Redeemer, invites all to come to the Throne on which hung the Savior of the world (cfr. Veneraton of the Cross Liturgy of Good Friday). Ascending to the right hand of the Father He bears with Him the “engraved” signs of His love for His family redeemed in His sacrificial offering on the Cross. The nail prints and open side are eternal reminders for us of the love of God Who became one of His own creatures, the condescension of compassion as St. Leo the Great refers to the Incarnation. For all eternity He bears the marks of His indelible unity with creation and the length He was willing to go as one of us to seal an unbreakable bond with the Father. In Jesus, the bond between time and eternity is made sure and we are offered the undeniable road that leads to the fullness of Life. God devised the way in Jesus, and the Sacred Heart of Jesus reminds us of the solid connection that leads to Life.


The human Heart of Jesus is one with the Eternal Love of God and the two who are one call us to seek first the kingdom of God and His holy operation (Scripture and St. Francis of Assisi) Come, let us adore Him! As we do, our eyes are open to see, our minds to understand, and our hearts to receive the message of love and compassion we are called to continue. Unless we can open our hearts to envelop others in love, our love remains stale and life-less, or better, love-less. As our Mother St. Clare of Assisi wrote to a spiritual daughter St. Agnes of Prague: Gaze upon the Lord. Gaze upon His Face. Allow the image of the Crucified and His pierced Heart to enter your soul through the windows of your eyes and experience the love that emanates from that image.


The Love of Christ forgets our sins and remembers only His mercy. Jesus makes his voice more clearly audible in our hearts when we focus in prayer and gaze upon the Lord. St. Francis knew that love is recognized in the daily crosses of our lives. It is as though Jesus is saying Courage! Do not be afraid! (Mark 6: 50) I have conquered the world! (John 16: 33) The love of Jesus and the images of that Love in the Crucified and the Sacred Heart empower us to be courageous in proclaiming, faithful in living, and thus at peace in our trust in the One Whose Love can never fail.  The moment of His greatest defeat, was the moment of His victory.


Franciscans of any obedience strive to embody for deeply the charism of our Seraphic Father. We are called to disarm our hearts as Jesus disarmed His Most Sacred Heart. Through His ultimate sacrifice to death we are able to rejoice in our restored nature to grace and new life. Faith in Jesus empowers us with courage rooted in an active hope that conquers hearts and the world. After the battles of life comes the serenity, peace and joy that can only be lived and not even imagined. We are consumed by love for God and love for neighbor. God is continually fixed in our mind and imprinted in our heart. We can never lose sight of Him. We feel nothing except the desire to have and want what God wants. How overpowering it is to live by the heart! It means living at every moment a death to our egos that never kills the body, but energizes and enlivens our spirit, our soul. Who will set me free from this consuming fire! (cfr Hebrews 12: 29)


St. Francis of Assisi lived in the presence of God and was consumed by God’s love. The more he lived in God, the more he was aware of the concerns and needs of his sisters and brothers. How can we speak of love of God in our hearts, when we have no love for our sisters and brothers?! Love is not always materially fruitful. In fact, some may think us foolish, others may think us exhibitionists, others may call us hypocrites. We may be ridiculed by those who cannot understand a forgiving heart. Some may think us weak because we have disarmed our heart towards those who may oppose or offend us. Others may fail to recognize us now that we have unmasked our fears and are willing to stand courageously and trustingly before one another in the Name of Jesus.


True devotion for the Love of Jesus in His Sacred Heart is found in its epitome in our love for the Hidden Prisoner in the Tabernacle. This love is a transforming antidote to all that affects us in spirit and often even in the body. Jesus, I trust in You! (Prayer of Divine Mercy) We trust in Jesus, because Jesus has shown us the depth of his trust in us, to the point of being pierced that we might be healed. Through His wounds you are healed (1 Peter 2: 24).


It is most obvious how the Poverello of Assisi lived the image of the Crucified. A few years before he died his body received the visible stigmata of the wounds of Jesus. Hearts were rekindled in their awareness and love for the Passion-Death of our Savior. It was in the wound of the heart however, seen by only a privileged few, that Francis could say I have died, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ Who lives in me (Galatians 2: 20). The holy heart of St. Francis, empowered by the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Whose image he was gifted to be, could now say with St. Paul: rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s sufferings, for the sake of his body, the church (Colossians 1: 24). Now he understood, the words of the Cross of San Damiano: Francis rebuild my Church for as you see it is falling in to ruin. The consuming love that filled the heart of our Seraphic Father was one with the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the spirit until the mystery became fullness of reality for eternity.


As Spiritual Children of St. Francis of Assisi, the Crucified of La Verna, how much we still have to learn about Love! The Sacred Heart that pulsated from the womb of Mary until it was pierced by the soldier’s lance as Jesus hung upon the Cross keeps reminding us that Love is not loved. Can we ever learn to love God for God’s Love’s sake without looking for return?! When we can love without fear, though we recognize our sins and failures that never seem to leave us, then it is that we can truly say Jesus I trust in you.(Divine Mercy prayer)  Redemption was sealed with the last drop of blood and water from the Sacred Heart of Jesus spilled on the cross at Golgotha by the soldier’s lance. This gift of redeeming and forgiving love is repeated whenever we celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation with sincere loving repentance. The Love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus knows no limits, His love is everlasting (Psalm 136). Do not let human inconstancy, foolish fear, and senseless shame keep you from the well of Jesus’ Love that is overflowing for all to drink from the richness of His Most Sacred Heart. And may that forgiving Love lead us to the uniting and empowering Love of the Eucharist that allows us to be one with Him as He is in the Father.


May the Good Lord bless you; Our Lady and good St. Joseph, guide, guard and protect you; and may our Seraphic Father St. Francis and holy Mother St. Clare watch over you, their Spiritual Children and all your loved ones, with loving care.

Peace and Blessings

Fr. Francis A. Sariego, OFM Cap

Regional Spiritual Assistant



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