June 2024-Monthly Spiritual Assistant Reflection (Fr. 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 2024

O loving one

bear in mind your poor children for whom, without you, their one and only consolation,

there is little comfort… they still .. tearfully cry out to you:

O father,

place before Jesus Christ, son of the Most High Father, His sacred stigmata;

and show Him the signs of the cross on your hands, feet, and side,

that He may mercifully bare His own wounds to the Father,

and because of this the Father will ever show us in our anguish His tenderness.

Amen.

Prayer to St. Francis from the End of the Second Book of the Life of St. Francis by Bl.Thomas of Celano

Random quotes from various sources

 

OF THE FIFTH AND LAST CONSIDERATION OF THE MOST HOLY STIGMATA

(taken from the Little Flowers of St. Francis)

1 – The fifth and last consideration regards certain visions and revelations and miracles God made known after the death of St. Francis, in confirmation of his most holy Stigmata, and for a declaration of the day and the hour when Christ gave them unto him. Concerning this, in the year of our Lord 1282 on the . . . day of the month of October, Friar Philip, Minister of Tuscany, at the commandment of Friar John Buonagrazia, Minister-General, in the name of holy obedience, asked Friar Matthew of Castiglione Aretino, a man of great devotion and sanctity, to tell what he knew concerning the day and the hour when the most holy Stigmata were imprinted by Christ on the body of St. Francis; because he heard that he had had a revelation about this matter. – Faithfulness in little things is a big thing.

2 – Whereupon Friar Matthew, compelled by holy obedience, answered him saying: “While I was in the community of Alvernia, last year in the month of May, I went one day to prayer in my cell, which is on the spot where it is believed that that seraphic vision took place. In my prayer I asked God most devoutly that He would reveal to some person the day and the hour and the place that the most holy Stigmata were imprinted upon the body of St. Francis; and, when I had continued in prayer the first watch, St. Francis appeared to me with very great radiance, and said unto me: ‘Son, for what are you praying to God?’ – There is nothing small in the service of God.

3 – And I said unto him: ‘Father, I pray for such and such a thing’. And he said unto me: ‘I am your Father Francis. Do you know me well?’ ‘Father,’ I said, ‘yes.’ Then he showed me the most holy Stigmata in his hands and feet and side, and said: ‘The time has come when God wills that that, which for a time the friars have not been curious to know, shall be made known  for His glory. – Accomplish the great task by a series of small acts.

4 – Know that He Who appeared unto me was not an angel, but was Jesus Christ, in the form of a Seraph, who, with his own hands, imprinted on my body these wounds, even as He received them in His body on the Cross. – Hope is the first thing to take some sort of action.

5 – And this is how it happened: On the day before the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, an angel came to me, and, in God’s name, told me to be ready and patient and to receive what God might will to send me. And I answered that I was ready to receive and to endure everything that in God’s good pleasure He desired to send me. Thereafter, on the following morning, the morning of [the festival of the] Holy Cross, which that year fell on a Friday; at daybreak I came forth from my cell, in very great fervor of spirit, and went to pray in this place where thou now are and where I often prayed, and, as I prayed, through the air, there came down from heaven, with great swiftness, a young man crucified, in the form of a Seraph with six wings; at which marvelous sight I humbly kneeled down and began to contemplate devoutly the boundless love of Jesus Christ crucified, and the boundless pain of His passion. – Hope ever urges us on and tells us tomorrow will be better.

6 – The sight of Him engendered in me such pity that I verily seemed to feel His passion in my own body; and, at His presence, all this mountain shone as the sun; and, so descending, He approached me. And, standing before me, He said certain secret words to me, which I have not yet revealed to anyone; but the time approaches when they shall be revealed. Then, after a while, Christ departed, and returned to heaven, and I found myself thus marked with these wounds. – Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.

7 – Go then,’ said St. Francis, ‘and tell these things to your minister doubting nothing; for this is the operation not of man but of God.’ And, when he had said these words, St. Francis blessed me and went back to heaven with a great multitude of youths, exceeding bright.” All these things Friar Matthew said he had seen and heard, not sleeping but awake. And he swore that he had truthfully told these things to the said minister in his cell at Florence, when he inquired of him concerning the same for obedience’ sake. – To be a sinner is our distress but to know it is our hope.

HOW A HOLY FRIAR, READING THE LEGEND OF ST. FRANCIS IN THE CHAPTER OF THE MOST HOLY STIGMATA, PRAYED SO MUCH TO GOD CONCERNING THE SECRET WORDS, WHICH THE SERAPH SPOKE TO ST. FRANCIS. WHEN HE APPEARED TO HIM, THAT ST. FRANCIS REVEALED THEM UNTO THE SAID FRIAR

8 – At another time, a devout and holy friar, while reading the legend of St. Francis in the chapter of the most holy Stigmata, began with great trouble of spirit to consider what those so secret words could have been, which St. Francis said that he would not reveal to any one while he lived, which the Seraph had spoken to him when He appeared to him. And this friar said within himself: “St. Francis willed not to speak those words to any one during his lifetime; but now, after his bodily death, perchance he would tell them, if he were prayed devoutly so to do”.- Every child comes into the world with a message that God does not yet despair of man.

9 – And from then on, the devout friar began to pray God and St. Francis that they would vouchsafe to reveal those words. This friar continued eight years praying thus. In the eighth year he merited to be heard. One day, after eating, thanks having been given in the church, he was in prayer in a certain part of the church, and was praying to God and St. Francis concerning this matter, more devoutly than he usual wont, and with many tears; when he was called by another friar, who commanded him in the name of the Guardian to accompany him to the town for the good of the Place.  Not doubting that obedience is more meritorious than prayer, as soon as he had heard the commandment of his superior, he humbly left off praying and went with the friar that called him. – Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement, but nothing can be done without hope.

10 – And, as God willed it, he, by this act of ready obedience, merited what he had not merited by his long praying. No sooner than they had gone from the gate of the Place, they met two strange friars, who appeared to have come from a far country; and one of them seemed a young man and the other old and lean; and, by reason of the bad weather, they were all muddy and wet. Wherefore that obedient friar had great compassion for them, and said unto the companion, with whom he was going: “Mt dear brother, if the business we are going on may wait a little, since these strange friars have great need to be charitably received, I ask you to permit me first to go and wash their feet, and especially those of this aged friar, who has the greater need, and you will be able to wash those of this younger one, after we will go about the business of the convent”. – All human wisdom is summed up in two words: wait and hope.

11 – Then this friar consenting to the charitable desire of his companion, went back and received those strange friars very charitably, and took them into the kitchen to the fire to warm and dry themselves. At the fire eight other friars of the Place were warming themselves. And, after they had been a little while at the fire, they took (the two friars) aside to wash their feet, as they had agreed to do. – Love means to love that which is unlovable.

12 – And while that obedient and devout friar was washing the feet of the older friar, and removing the mud the feet, for they were very muddy, he looked and saw that his feet were marked with the most holy Stigmata and  for joy and wonder he embraced them closely, and began to cry aloud: “Either thou art Christ, or thou art St. Francis”. – Forgiving means to pardon the unpardonable.

13 – At that cry and at those words, the friars at the fire, arose and approached with great fear and reverence to see those glorious stigmata. And then, at their prayer, this ancient friar permitted them clearly to see and touch and kiss them. And, while they marveled yet more for joy, he said to them: “Doubt not and fear not, dearest friars and sons; I am your father Friar Francis, who, according to the will of God, founded three Orders. And seeing that, for eight years, I have been entreated by this friar, who is washing my feet, and to-day more fervently than ever before, that I would reveal unto him those secret words which the Seraph spoke to me when He gave me the stigmata, the words I resolved never to reveal in my lifetime, to-day, by the commandment of God, by reason of his perseverance and the ready obedience with which he left the sweetness of contemplation, I am sent by God to reveal to him, before you all, that which he asks.” – Faith means believing the unbelievable.

14 – And then, turning to that friar, St. Francis spaid: “Know, dearest friar, that, when I was upon the mountain of Alvernia, wholly absorbed in the remembrance of the passion of Christ in that seraphic apparition, I was by Christ thus marked on my body with the Stigmata, and then Christ said to me: ‘Do you know what I have done to you? I have given you the tokens of My passion, so that thou may be My standard-bearer. – If it were not for hope the heart would break.

15 – And even as I, on the day of My death, descended into Limbo, and, in virtue of these My Stigmata, drew out from there all the souls I found there, and took them to Paradise; so to you do I grant even from this hour, to the end that thou may be conformed to Me in death as thou hast been in life, that, after thou shall have passed from this life, every year on the day of your death, thou shall go to Purgatory, and, in virtue of your Stigmata which I have given youe, shall draw out from there all the souls of your three Orders, minors, sisters and continents, and, beyond this, those others whom thou shall find there, who were devoted to you, and shall lead them to Paradise.’ – Thought and feeling do not matter. We shall be judged only by our will.

16 – And these words I never spoke while I lived in the world.” And, when he had said these words, St. Francis and his companion suddenly vanished away. Many friars afterwards heard this from those eight friars who were present at this vision and at these words of St. Francis. – Don’t wait for the Last Judgment. It takes place every day.

HOW ST. FRANCIS, AFTER HIS DEATH, APPEARED TO FRIAR JOHN OF ALVERNIA, WHILE HE WAS PRAYING

17 – Once, on the mountain of Alvernia, St. Francis appeared to Friar John of Alvernia, a man of great sanctity, while he was praying, and stayed and spole with him for a very long time; and, at the last, desiring to depart, he said: “Ask of me what you wish”. Said Friar John: “Father, I pray you tell me what I have long desired to know: What were you doing, where were you, when the Seraph appeared to you”. – Human beings judge one another by their external actions. God judges them by their moral choice.

18 – St. Francis answered: “I was praying in that place where the chapel of Count Simon da Battifolle now is, and I was requesting two graces of my Lord Jesus Christ. The first was that He would grant me to feel, in this life, in my soul and in my body, as far as might be possible, all that pain which He Himself felt at the time of His most bitter passion. The second grace which I asked of Him was likewise that I might feel in my heart that intense love He was enkindled to bear so great passion for us sinners. – Every moment of resistance to temptation is a victory.

19 – And then God put it in my heart that He would grant I feel both one and the other, as much as was possible for a mere creature, and this was abundantly fulfilled in me at the imprinting of the Stigmata.” – No one is truly alive in the art of living till they have been well tempted.

20 – Then Friar John asked him whether those secret words which the Seraph had spoken to him had been even such as were rehearsed by that holy friar aforesaid, who declared that he had heard them from St. Francis in the presence of eight friars. St. Francis replied that the truth was even as that friar had said. – You cannot run away from a weakness. You must sometime fight it or perish.

21 – Thereupon, Friar John, encouraged by the liberality of the granter, took heart to ask yet more, and said: “O father, I beseech thee most earnestly that thou grant me to behold and to kiss your most holy and glorious Stigmata; not because I doubt in any way, but only for my consolation; for this have I always yearned”.- God is faithful and He will not let you be tempted beyond your strength.

22 – And, St. Francis freely showing them and offering them to him, Friar John clearly saw and touched and kissed them. And, at the last, he asked him: “Father, how great consolation had your soul, beholding Christ the Blessed coming to you to give you the marks of His most holy Passion? Now would to God that I might feel a little of that sweetness!” – Happiness in this life consists in the mastery of our passions.

23 – Then St. Francis made answer: “See these nails?” Said Friar John: “Father, yes”. “Touch again,” said St. Francis, “this nail which is in my hand.” Then Friar John, with great reverence and fear, touched that nail, and immediately, as he touched it, so great a perfume issued from it, as though it were a thin spiral of smoke, like of incense, and, entering through the nose of Friar John, filled his soul and body with so much sweetness, that he was rapt in God in ecstasy, and became insensible; and he remained rapt from that hour, which was the hour of Terce, even until Vespers. – A possibility is a hint from God.

24 – And of this vision and familiar conversation with St. Francis Friar John never spoke to any man, save only to his confessor, until he was about to die; but, being near his death, he revealed it to many friars. – God’s will is not an itinerary but an attitude.

OF A HOLY FRIAR WHO SAW A WONDERFUL VISION

OF ONE OF HIS COMPANIONS WHO WAS DEAD

25 – In the Province of Rome, a very devout and holy friar saw this marvelous vision. A certain friar, a very dear companion of his, having died one night, was buried, in the morning, before the entrance of the chapter-house; and, on the same day, after dinner, that friar went to a corner of the chapter-house to pray God and St. Francis devoutly for the soul of that dead friar his companion. And, as he persevered in prayer with supplications and tears, at noon, when all the others were gone away to sleep, he heard a great noise as of one being dragged through the cloister; whereat immediately with great fear he turned his eyes toward the grave of his companion, and saw St. Francis standing there at the entrance of the chapter-house, and behind him a great multitude of friars round about the said grave. – Prayer is no other but the revelation of the will or mind of God.

26 – He looked beyond, and saw in the midst of the cloister a very great flaming fire, and in the flames was the soul of his companion who was dead. He looked round the cloister and he saw Jesus Christ walking round the cloister with a great company of angels and of saints. And, while he gazed upon these things and marveled much, he saw that, when Christ passed before the chapter-house, St. Francis kneeled down with all those friars and spoke thus: “I beseech You, my dearest Father and Lord, that, through the inestimable charity which You showed Yourself to the human race in Your Incarnation, – What is most often asked of God is not His Will or Way but His approval of our way.

27 – Thou wilt have mercy on the soul of this my friar, who is burning in that flame”; and Christ answered him never a word but passed on. And, when He returned, the second time, and passed before the chapter-house, St. Francis again kneeled down with his friars, as the first time, and begged Him: “I pray You, merciful Father and Lord, through the boundless charity which You showed the human race when You died upon the wood of the cross, that Thou will have mercy on the soul of this my friar”. – Do not live in the past nor be anxious about the future, but quietly live the present in the hands of God.

28 – And Christ passed on as before and did not answer him. And going round the cloister He returned the third time and passed before the chapter-house, and then St. Francis, kneeling down as before, showed Him his hands and his feet and his side and said: “I beseech You, merciful Father and Lord, by that great pain and great consolation which I endured when You set these Stigmata in my flesh, that You have pity on the soul of this my friar who is in that fire of purgatory”. – If you want to disobey God, look for a place where He cannot see you.

29 – O wonderful thing! No sooner was Christ prayed that third time by St. Francis in the name of his Stigmata, than He forthwith stayed His steps and, looking upon the stigmata, gave ear to his prayer and said: “To you, Francis, I grant the soul of your friar”. And in this, of a surety, He willed to honor and confirm the glorious Stigmata of St. Francis, and openly to signify that the souls of his friars, who go to Purgatory, can in no way be more easily delivered from their pains and brought to the glory of Paradise, than by virtue of his Stigmata, according to the words which Christ spoke to St. Francis when He imprinted them upon him. – I cannot receive now what God will offer me tomorrow.

30 – Wherefore, as soon as these words had been spoken, that fire in the cloister vanished, and the dead friar came to St. Francis: and, together with him and with Christ, all that blessed company went up into heaven with their glorious King. For the which cause, this friar his companion, who had prayed for him, was exceeding glad when he saw him delivered from his pains and taken to paradise; and thereafter he told all that vision in order to the other friars, and together with them gave praise and thanks to God. – Nothing is small or great in God’s sight, whatever He wills becomes great to us.

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