March 2024 – Fr. Francis Sariego, OFM Cap – Monthly Spiritual Reflection

Saint Katharine Drexel Regional Fraternity Spiritual Assistant

St. Francis of Assisi Friary

1901 Prior Road

Wilmington, Delaware 19809

tel: (302) 798-1454      fax: (302) 798-3360      website: skdsfo     email:

Alleluia!  He is Risen!  He is Truly Risen!  Alleluia!

March 2024


Wherever we are, in every place, at every hour,

at every time of the day, every day and continually,

let all of us truly and humbly believe, hold in our heart and love, honor, adore, serve,

praise and bless, glorify and exalt, magnify and give thanks

to the Most High and Supreme Eternal God, Trinity and Unity,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

Creator of all, Savior of all who believe and hope in Him, and love Him, Who,

without beginning and end, is unchangeable, invisible, indescribable, ineffable,

incomprehensible, unfathomable, blessed, praiseworthy, glorious, exalted,

sublime, most high, gentle, lovable, delightful,

and totally desirable above all else forever.


(Prayer of Saint Francis taken from the Earlier Rule, chapter 23)

Daily excerpts from Franciscan Sources and brief daily sayings from various spiritual writers

From Little Flowers of St. Francis


1 – The second consideration is touching the conversation of St. Francis with his companions upon the said mountain of Alvernia. And as to this it is to be known; that, when Messer Orlando had heard that St. Francis with three companions had gone up into the mountain of Alvernia to dwell there, he had very great joy thereof; and, on the following day, he set out with many of his retainers and came to visit St. Francis, bearing bread and wine and other victuals for him and for his companions; and, coming to the place where they were, he found them in prayer; and drawing nigh unto them he saluted them.

Carry the Cross patiently and in the end it will carry you.

2 – Then St. Francis rose up and with very great charity and joy welcomed Messer Orlando and his company; and, when he had thus done, he entered into conversation with him; and, after they had talked together and St. Francis had thanked him for the holy mountain which he had given him and for his coming there, he asked him that he would cause a poor little cell to be made at the foot of a very beautiful beech-tree, which was distant a stone’s throw from the Place of the friars, because that spot seemed to him most apt and to dedicate to prayer.

Kindness is loving people more than they deserve.

3 – And straightway Messer Orlando caused it to be built; and, when it was finished, because the evening drew nigh and it was time for them to depart, St. Francis, before they went, preached unto them a little: and, after he had preached and given them his blessing, Messer Orlando, since he could no longer stay, called St. Francis and his companions aside.

Life can be understood backward, but it must be lived forward.

4 – (Messer Orlando) said unto them: “My most dear friars, I do not want you, in this savage mountain, to suffer any bodily want, that might hinder you from spiritual things; and therefore I desire (and this I tell you once for all) that you do not hesitate to send to my house for all that you need; and, if you do not do so, I shall take it very ill of you”. And, having thus spoken, he departed with his company and returned to his castle.

To repent is to alter one’s way of looking at life.

5 – Then St. Francis made his companions sit down and instructed them concerning the manner of life which they, and whoever desires to live religiously in hermitages, must lead. And, among other things, he especially laid upon them the observance of holy poverty, saying: “Do not consider over the charitable offer of Messer Orlando too much, that in may not offend our lady and mistress, holy Poverty.

To repent is to take God’s point of view instead of my own.

6 – Be sure that the more we shun Poverty the more the world will shun us; but, if we shall closely embrace holy Poverty, the world will follow after us and will abundantly supply all our needs. God hath called us to this holy religion for the salvation of the world, and hath made this covenant between us and the world; that we should give to the world a good example and the world should provide for us in our necessities. Let us continue, therefore, in holy poverty, because that is the way of perfection and the pledge and earnest of eternal riches.

Feed your Faith and your doubts will starve to death.

7 – And, after many beautiful and devout words and admonishments touching this matter, he concluded, saying: “This is the manner of life which I lay upon myself and upon you; for I perceive that I draw nigh unto my death, and I am minded to be solitary, and to turn all my thoughts to God and to bewail my sins before Him; and Friar Leo, when it shall seem good to him, shall bring me a little bread and a little water; and in no way are you to permit any layman to come to me; but you speak to them for me”.

We become that which we think.

8 – And when he had said these words he gave them his blessing, and went to the cell beneath the beech-tree; and his companions abode in the Place, firmly resolved to observe the commandments of St. Francis. A few days later, as St. Francis was standing beside the said cell, considering the conformation of the mountain, and marveling at the huge chasms and clefts in those tremendous rocks, he betook himself to prayer; and then was it revealed to him of God that those wondrous fissures had been made miraculously in the hour of Christ’s Passion, when, even as the evangelist says, “the rocks were rent”.

Character may be manifest in great moments but it is made in small ones.

9 – And this, as God willed it, was singularly manifested in that mountain of Alvernia because it was pre-ordained that, in that place, St. Francis must renew the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, in his soul through love and pity, and in his body through the imprinting of the most holy stigmata.

The more we depend on God, the more dependable we find God is.

10 – Now, when he had received this revelation, St. Francis straightway shut himself up in his cell, and, closing his mind to all earthly things, disposed himself to await the mystery of this revelation. And from then on, because he continued always in prayer, St. Francis began, more often than befpre, to taste the sweetness of Divine contemplation; whereby he was often so rapt in God that he was seen by his companions uplifted from the ground and rapt from out himself.

Strong beliefs win strong people and make them stronger.

11 – In these raptures of contemplation, not only were things present and future revealed to him by God, but also the secret thoughts and desires of the friars, even as Friar Leo, his companion, on that day, proved in his own person. For the said Friar Leo being bothered by the devil with a very grievous temptation, not carnal but spiritual, there came upon him a great desire to have some holy thing written by the hand of St. Francis; for he thought that, if he had it, that temptation would leave him, either altogether or in part; nevertheless, albeit he had this desire, for shame and reverence he lacked the courage to speak thereof to St. Francis; but what Friar Leo did not tell him, was revealed to him by the Holy Ghost.

You can’t lead anyone further than you have gone yourself.

12 – Wherefore St. Francis called him unto him and made him bring inkhorn and pen and paper, and with his own hand wrote a laud of Christ, according to the desire of the friar, and at the end thereof made the sign of the Tau, and gave it to him saying: “Take this paper, dearest friar, and keep it diligently until your death. God bless you and preserve you from every temptation. Be not dismayed that you have temptations, for then do I hold you more my friend and a truer servant of God; and I love you the more the more you have fought against thy temptations. Truly I say to you that no man may call himself a perfect friend of God until he has passed through many temptations and tribulations.”

Love is the only force that can make things one without destroying them.

13 – And when Friar Leo had received this writing with very great devotion and faith, every temptation left him; and, returning to the Place, he related to his companions, with great joy, what grace God had done him as he received that writing from St. Francis; and he put it in a safe place and preserved it diligently; and therewith, in after-time, the friars wrought many miracles.

Not to decide is to decide.

14 – And from that hour the said Friar Leo commenced to scrutinize and to consider the life of St. Francis, with great purity and goodwill; and, by reason of his purity, he merited to behold how many times and often St. Francis was rapt in God and uplifted from the ground, sometimes for the space of three cubits, sometimes of four, and sometimes even to the height of the beech-tree; and sometimes he beheld him raised so high in the air, and surrounded by such radiance, that scarcely could he see him.

When character is lost, all is lost.

15 – And what did this simple friar do when St. Francis was so little raised above the ground that he could reach him? He went softly and embraced his feet and kissed them with tears, saying: “My God, have mercy upon me a sinner; and, for the merits of this holy man, grant me to find Thy grace.”

Let us be paths to be used and forgotten.

16 – And, one time among the rest, while he stood beneath the feet of St. Francis, when he was so far uplifted from the ground, that he could not touch him, he beheld a scroll inscribed with letters of gold descend from heaven and rest above the head of St. Francis, and upon this scroll these words were written: “QVI È LA GRAZIA DI DIO—Here is the grace of God; and, after that he had read it, he saw it return again to heaven.

It is never a question of faith or no faith, the question always is:

In what or whom do I put my faith?

17 – By reason of this grace of God which was in him, not only was St. Francis rapt in God through ecstatic contemplation, but also he was sometimes comforted by angelic visitations. Thus, one day, while St. Francis was thinking of his death and of the state of his Religion after his life should be ended, and was saying: “Lord God, what after my death shall become of Your mendicant family, which through Your goodness You have entrusted to me a sinner? Who shall console them? Who shall correct them? Who shall pray to You for them?”

When you consider anyone or situation hopeless,

you are slamming the door in the face of God.

18 – While he spoke these and such-like words, there appeared unto him the angel sent by God, who comforted him, saying: “I tell you in God’s name that the profession of your Order shall not fail until the Day of Judgment; and there shall be no sinner so great that, if he shall love your Order from his heart, he shall not find mercy with God; and no one who persecutes your Order maliciously shall live long. Moreover no one, in your Order, who is very wicked and who does not amend his life will be able to remain long in the Order.

An honest person is the noblest work of God.

19 – Therefore do not grieve if you see in your Religion certain friars who are not good, and who do not observe the Rule as they ought to do; neither think that for this reason your Religion will decline; for there will always be very many in the Order who will perfectly follow the life of the gospel of Christ and the purity of the Rule; and such as these, as soon as ever their earthly life is done, will go to the life eternal, without passing through purgatory at all; some will follow it, but not perfectly; and these, before they go to paradise, will be in purgatory: but the time of their purgation will be remitted to you by God.

–  We must learn to live together as brothers or we will perish together like fools.

20 – But for those who do not observe the Rule at all, do not be concerned, says God, because He does care about them.” And when the angel had spoken these words he departed, leaving St. Francis consoled and comforted. Thereafter, when the feast of the Assumption of Our Lady drew nigh, St. Francis sought to find a fitting spot, more secret and remote, wherein in greater solitude he might keep the forty days’ fast of St. Michael the Archangel, which commences on the said feast of the Assumption. Wherefore he called Friar Leo and spoke to him saying: “Go and stand at the doorway of the oratory of the Place of the friars; and, when I shall call you, do return to me”.

  • Walk one step toward God and God will run ten steps to you.

21 – Friar Leo went and stood in the said doorway; and St. Francis called loudly. Friar Leo, hearing him call, returned to him; and St. Francis said: “Son, let us search for another more secret spot where you shall not be able to hear me when I shall call you”; and, as they searched, they saw, on the southern side of the mountain, a lonely place exceedingly well suited for his purpose; but it was impossible to reach it, because there was in front of it a rocky chasm, horrible and fearful, and very great. Wherefore, with much labor they laid a tree across the same, after the fashion of a bridge, and passed over to the other side.

A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.

22 – Then St. Francis sent for the other friars and told them how he purposed to keep the forty days’ fast of St. Michael in that solitary place; and therefore he asked them to make him a little cell there, so that they would not hear him crying out; and, when the little cell of St. Francis was finished, he said to them: “Go to your own Place and leave me here alone; for, with the help of God, I mean to keep this fast in this place without any trouble or disturbance of mind; and therefore let none of you come here to me, nor allow any layman to come to me. But you, Friar Leo, alone shall come to me, once a day, with a little bread and water, and at night once again, at the hour of matins; and then shall you come to me in silence; and, when you are at the head of the bridge, you shall say to me: Domine, labia mea aperies; and, if I answer you, pass over and come to the cell and we will say matins but if I do not answer you, leave immediately.”

Lord, help me never to do the right thing for the wrong reason.

23 – And this St. Francis said because he was sometimes so rapt in God that he heard not nor perceived anything with the bodily senses; and, when he had thus spoken, St. Francis gave them his blessing; and they returned to the Place. Now, the feast of the Assumption was approaching. St. Francis began the holy fast with very great abstinence and severity, mortifying his body and comforting his spirit with fervent prayers, vigils and flagellations; and in these prayers, ever growing from virtue to virtue, he prepared his mind to receive the Divine mysteries and the Divine splendors, and his body to endure the cruel assaults of the fiends, with whom often he fought bodily.

Life is a voyage that’s homeward bound.

24 – And among the other times was one when, on a day, as St. Francis came forth from his cell in fervor of spirit, and went to a place difficult to reach, to pray in the cavity of a hollow rock, where from down to the ground there is a very great height, and a horrible and fearful precipice; suddenly the devil came in terrible shape, with tempest and with very great uproar, and smote him to cast him down from there.

If your faith cannot move mountains, it ought to at least climb them.

25 – Wherefore, St. Francis, not having any place to flee to, and being unable to endure the passing cruel aspect of the demon, forthwith turned himself round, with his hands and face and with all his body against the rock, commending himself to God, and groping with his hands if, perhaps, he might find something to lay hold of. But, as it pleased God, who never allows His servants to be tempted beyond that which they can bear, suddenly the rock to which he clung miraculously hollowed itself to the form of his body and so received him into itself; and even as if he had put his hands and face into liquid wax, so was the shape of the face and hands of St. Francis imprinted upon the said rock; and, in this way, being helped of God, he escaped from the devil.

What great thing would you attempt if you knew you would not fail?

26 – But that which the devil could not then do to St. Francis, namely to cast him down from there, he did a good while after, when St. Francis was dead, to a dear and devout friar of his, who, in that same place, was adjusting certain pieces of wood to the end that it might be possible to go there without peril, for devotion toward St. Francis and toward the miracle which was wrought there; and one day the devil pushed him, when he had a great log on his head which he wished to set there, and caused him to fall down from there with that log on his head; but God, who had saved and preserved St. Francis from falling, through his merits saved and preserved that devout friar of his from the peril of the fall; for, as the friar fell, he commended himself with very great devotion and with a loud voice to St. Francis, who straightway appeared to him and took him and set him on the rocks below, without permitting him to suffer any shock or hurt.

We see things not as they are but as we are.

27 – Then, the friars, having heard his cry as he fell, and believing that he was dead and dashed to pieces, by reason of the great height from which he had fallen upon the sharp rocks, with great sorrow and weeping took the bier and went from the other side of the mountain to search for the fragments of his body and to bury them. Now, when they had already come down from the mountain, the friar who had fallen met them, with the log wherewith he had fallen upon his head; and he was singing the Te Deum laudamus, in a loud voice.

An empty meaningless faith may be worse than none.

28 – And, because the friars marveled greatly, he related unto them in order all the manner of his falling, and how St. Francis had rescued him from every peril. Then all the friars accompanied him to the place, singing most devoutly the psalm, Te Deum laudamus, and praising and thanking God together with St. Francis for the miracle which he had wrought in his friar.

They stand best who kneel most.

29 – St. Francis, then, continuing (as has been said) the fast, although he sustained many assaults of the devil, nevertheless he received many consolations from God, not only through angelic visitations but also through the birds of the air; for, during all the time of that fast, a hawk, which was building its nest hard by his cell, awakened him every night a little before matins, with its cry, and by beating itself against his cell, and departed not until he rose up to say matins; and, when St. Francis was more weary than usual, or weak or sick, this hawk, after the manner of a discreet and compassionate person, into uttered its cry later than it was wont to do. And so St. Francis took great joy of this clock, because the great diligence of the hawk drove away from him all sloth, and urged him to prayer: and besides this, sometimes, in the daytime, it would familiarly sit with him.

Do not have Jesus Christ on your lips and the world in your heart.

30 – Finally, touching this second consideration, St. Francis, being much weakened in body, both by reason of his great abstinence, and of the assaults of the devil, and desiring to comfort his body with the spiritual food of the soul, began to meditate on the immeasurable glory and joy of the blessed in the life eternal, and therewith he began -to pray God that He would grant him to taste a little of that joy.

There’s a hole in every heart that only God can fill.

31 – And, as he continued in this thought, an angel appeared to him there, with very great splendor, bearing a viol in his left hand and in his right a bow; and, while yet St. Francis was all amazed at the sight of him, the angel drew his bow once across the viol; and straightway St. Francis heard so sweet a melody that it filled all his soul with rapture and rendered it insensible to every bodily feeling; insomuch that, according to that which he afterward told his companions, he doubted whether, if the angel had drawn the bow back again across the viol, his soul must not have departed out of his body by reason of the intolerable sweetness. And this suffices for the second consideration.

Christ changed the dark door of death into the shinning gate of life.


Alleluia! He is Risen! He is Truly Risen! Alleluia!

We are an ‘Alleluia’ People.

Live His Resurrection – it is ours – Live In-With-For – The Risen Lord Jesus

Through The Cross To The Light



February 2024 – Fr. Francis Sariego, OFM Cap, Monthly Spiritual Reflection

Saint Katharine Drexel Regional Fraternity Spiritual Assistant

St. Francis of Assisi Friary

1901 Prior Road

Wilmington, Delaware 19809

tel: (302) 798-1454      fax: (302) 798-3360      website: skdsfo     email:

February 2024


Let every creature in heaven, on earth, in the sea and in the depths,

Give praise, glory, honor and blessing to Him Who suffered so much,

Who has given and will give in the future every good, for He is our power and strength,

Who alone is good, Who alone is almighty,

Who alone is omnipotent, wonderful, glorious and Who alone is holy,

worthy of praise and blessing through endless ages.


(Prayer of Saint Francis in the Second Version of the Letter to the Faithful)


In the year we celebrate the 800th anniversary of Francis receiving the Stigmata, our daily excerpts from Franciscan Sources will be taken from those concerning the Stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi. The daily excerpts for the next five months will be taken from the five considerations concerning the Stigmata of St. Francis as found in the Little Flower of St. Francis.


1 – As to the first consideration, it must be known that, in 1224, St. Francis, being then forty-three years old, was inspired by God to depart from the Val di Spoleto and to go into Romagna, with Friar Leo his companion. As he went, he passed at the foot of the Castello di Montefeltro; where a great banquet and festival was then being held for the knighting of one of those Counts of Montefeltro; and St. Francis, hearing of this festival, and that many gentlefolk were gathered there from divers lands, said to Friar Leo: “Let us go up to this feast, since by God’s help we shall gather some good spiritual fruit” – When we try to make an impression, that’s the impression we make.

2 – Now among the other gentlemen, who had come there from that district to that ceremonial, was a great and rich gentleman of Tuscany, by name Messer Orlando of Chiusi in Casentino. By reason of the marvelous things he had heard concerning the sanctity and miracles of St. Francis, with great devotion and very great desire he went to the festival to see him and to hear him preach.- The great thing in this world is not so much where we are but in what direction we are moving.

3 – St. Francis having arrived at this town, entered in and went to the piazza, where were assembled a multitude of those gentlemen; and, in fervor of spirit, he climbed upon a little wall and began to preach, taking as the text of his sermon these words in the vulgar tongue: So great the bliss I hope to see, That every pain delights me.The manner of giving is worth more than the gift.

4 – And from this text, by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, he preached so devoutly and so profoundly, proving the truth of the saying by divers sufferings and torments of holy apostles and of holy martyrs, by the severe penances of holy confessors, and by the many tribulations and temptations of holy virgins and of other saints, that every man stood with eyes and mind fixed upon him, and listened to him as if it were an angel of God that spoke. Among these men, the said Messer Orlando, being touched in the heart by God, through the marvelous preaching of St. Francis, was minded to consult and speak with him after the sermon concerning the affairs of his soul. – Hatred does more damage to the one in whom it is stored than the one on whom it is poured.

5 – Wherefore, when the preaching was done, he drew St. Francis aside and said unto him: “O father, I would take counsel with thee touching the salvation of my soul”. St. Francis made answer: “Well content am I; but go this morning and do honor your friends who have invited you to this festival, and dine with them. After you have dined, we will talk together as long as you please”. Messer Orlando, therefore, went to dinner. After dinner, he returned to St. Francis and laid before him fully all the affairs of his soul and took counsel with him concerning the same. – God’s grace within me and God’s strength behind me can overcaome any hurdle ahead of me.

6 – And finally this Messer Orlando said to St. Francis: “I have in Tuscany a mountain most apt for devotion, which is called the mountain of Alvernia, exceeding solitary, and passing well fitted for any who wish to do penance in a place remote from people, and desire a life of solitude. If it pleases you, gladly would I give it to you and to your companions for the salvation of my soul.” – If you judge people, you have no time to love them.

7 – St. Francis, hearing so liberal an offer of a thing which he desired so much, was very happy. Praising and thanking first God, and then Messer Orlando, he spoke to him saying: “Messer Orlando, when you return to your home, I will send you some of my companions, and you shall show them that mountain. If it seems to them fitted for prayer and for the doing of penance, even from this moment do I accept your charitable offer”. – A simple judge of my character is how I treat a person who can do absolutely nothing for me.

8 – And, when he had thus spoken, St. Francis departed; and after he had finished his journey he returned to Santa Maria degli Angeli. Messer Orlando likewise, when the festivities for the making of that knight ended, returned to his castle, which was called Chiusi, and which was distant a mile from Alvernia. – Reason led me to the mountain’s base and faith lifted me to the mountain’s top.

9 – St. Francis, then, having returned to Santa Maria degli Angeli, sent two of his companions to the said Messer Orlando, who, when they arrived, were welcomed with very great joy and charity: and, desiring to show them the mountain of Alvernia, he sent with them fifty armed men, to defend them from the wild beasts. Thus accompanied, those friars went up into the mountain and explored it diligently. At last they came unto a part of the mountain well suited for devotion and for contemplation. There was also some level ground. It was there they chose for their habitation and for that of St. Francis. With the aid of those armed men who accompanied and defended them on the journey, they made a little cell with the boughs of trees, and, in the name of God, they accepted and took possession of the mountain of Alvernia and of the Place of the friars in that mountain, and departed and returned to St. Francis. – Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.

10 – When they arrived, they told him how and in what manner they had taken the Place on the mountain of Alverna, well fitted for prayer and contemplation. Now, when St. Francis heard this news, he rejoiced greatly, and, giving praise and thanks to God, spoke to those friars with a joyful face, and said: – Feed your faith, and your doubts will starve to death.

11 – “My sons, we are drawing close to our forty days’ fast of St. Michael the Archangel; and I firmly believe that it is the will of God that we keep this fast in the mountain of Alverna, which by Divine dispensation hath been made ready for us, so that we may, through penance, merit from Christ the consolation of consecrating that blessed mountain to the honor and glory of God and of His glorious mother, the Virgin Mary, and of the holy angels”.- We become what we think.

12 – And then, having said these words, St. Francis took with him Friar Masseo da Marignano of Assisi, who was a man of great wisdom and eloquence, and Friar Angelo Tancredi da Rieti, who was a man of very noble birth, and who in the world had been a knight, and Friar Leo, who was a man of very great simplicity and purity; for the which St. Francis loved him very much. And with these three friars St. Francis betook himself to prayer, and commended himself and his companions just mentioned to the prayers of the friars who remained behind, and he set out with those three in the name of Jesus Christ the Crucified, to go to the mountain of Alvernia; – Who stops being better stops being good.

13 – and, as he went, St. Francis called one of those three companions, Friar Masseo, and said to him thus: “You, Friar Masseo, shall be our Guardian and Superior on this journey. While we are going and abiding together, and we will observe our custom: that either we will say the office, or we will speak of God, or we will keep silence; and we will take no thought beforehand, neither of eating, nor of drinking, nor of sleeping; – One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of te shore.

14 – but when the time to rest for the night arrives, we will beg a little bread, and will lodge and repose ourselves in that place which God shall make ready for us.” Then those three companions bowed their heads, and, signing themselves with the sign of the cross, went forward; and the first evening they came to a Place of friars, and there they lodged. – What we usually pray to God is not that his will be done, but that he approve ours.

15 – The second evening, by reason of the bad weather and because they were weary, they were not able to reach any Place of friars, or any walled town, nor any hamlet; and when night and the bad weather overtook them, they sought shelter in an abandoned and disused church, and there they laid down to rest, and, while his companions slept, St. Francis gave himself to prayer; – Jesus Christ will be Lord of all, or he will not be Lord at all.

16 – and lo! in the first watch of the night, there came a great multitude of most ferocious demons with very great noise and tumult, and began vehemently to give him battle and annoyance; for one plucked him on this side and another on that; one pulled him down and another up; one menaced him with one thing and another accused him of another; and thus in divers manners did they seek to disturb him in his prayer; but they were not able, because God was with him. – People who falI love with themselves do not need to fear rivals.

17 – Wherefore, when St. Francis had borne these assaults of the demons for some time, he began to cry with a loud voice: “O damned spirits, you can do nothing save that which the hand of God permits you to do; and therefore, in the name of God Omnipotent I tell you that you may do to my body whatever is permitted to you by God, and I will bear it willingly; for I have no greater enemy than this body of mine. Wherefore, if you take vengeance for me upon mine enemy, you do me a very great service.” Thereupon the demons, with very great impetus and fury, laid hold of him and began to hale him about the church and to do him much greater injury and annoyance than at first.- Humanity must put an end to war or war will put an end to  humanity.

18 – And then St. Francis commenced to cry aloud and said: “My Lord Jesus Christ, I thank Thee for the great honor and charity which Thou show me; for it is a token of much love when the Lord thoroughly punishes His servant for all his faults in this world, to the end that he may not be punished in the next. – Only when we learn to see the invisible will we learn to do the impossible.

19 – And I am ready to endure joyfully every pain and every adversity which Thou, my God, may desire to send me for my sins.” Then the demons, being put to confusion and conquered by his constancy and patience, left him, – Be careful how you live, you may be the only Bible some persons ever read.

20 – and St. Francis, in fervor of spirit, went forth from the church into a wood which was nearby, and there he gave himself to prayer; and, with supplications and tears and beatings of his breast, sought to find Jesus Christ, the Spouse and delight of his soul. And when, at last, he found Him in the secret places of his soul, he now spoke reverently to Him as his Lord; now answered Him as his Judge; now sought Him as his Father; and now talked with Him as to a Friend. – Faith is like love, it cannot be forced.

21 – On that night and in that wood, his companions, after they were awakened and had come there to hear and consider what he was doing, they saw and heard him, with tears and cries, devoutly beseeching the Divine mercy for sinners. Then too he was heard and seen to bewail the Passion of Christ with a loud voice as if he saw the same with his bodily eyes. On that same night they saw him praying, with his arms held in the form of a cross, uplifted for a great space and raised from the ground, surrounded by a resplendent cloud. – Evangelization is one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread.

22 – And on this wise, in these holy exercises, he passed the whole of that night without sleeping; and thereafter, in the morning, because they knew that, by reason of the fatigues of the night which he had passed without sleep, St. Francis was very weak in body and could ill have travelled on foot, his companions went to a poor laborer of that district, and besought him for the love of God to lend his little ass to St. Francis, their father, who could not go on foot. – One of the greatest necessities is to discover creative solitude.

23 – Now, when this man heard them make mention of Friar Francis, he asked them: “Are you some of the friars of that friar of Assisi about whom so much good is spoken?” The friars answered: “Yes”; and that it was in truth for him that they asked the beast of burden. Then that good man made ready the little ass, with great devotion and diligence, and led it to St. Francis with great reverence and made him mount it; and they continued their journey; and he with them, behind his little ass. – People who live solely for themselves are eventually corrupted by their own company.

24 – And, when they had gone some distance, that villain said to St. Francis: “Tell me, are you Friar Francis of Assisi?” And St. Francis answered him, “Yes.” “Strive, then (said the villain), to be as good as all folk hold you to be, for there are many which have great faith in you; and therefore I admonish you, that thou fall not short of that which men hope to find you.” – God doesn’t want our deeds; God wants the love that prompts them.

25 – Hearing these words, St. Francis did not disdain to be admonished by a villain, and said: “What beast is this that admonishes me?” as many many proud fellows who wear the friar’s habit would say to-day; but immediately St. Francis cast himself to earth from off the ass, and kneeled down before that villain and kissed his feet, and thanked him humbly, because he had deigned to admonish him so charitably. Then the villain, together with the companions of St. Francis, raised him up from off the ground with great devotion, and set him upon the ass again, and continued their journey. – Life must be dedicated to a destiny in oder to have a meaning.

26 – And when they had gone perhaps half way up the mountain; because the heat was very great and the ascent difficult, this villain became exceeding thirsty, so that he began to cry aloud behind St. Francis, saying: “Alas! I am dying of thirst; if I have nothing to drink I shall presently faint.” Because of this St. Francis dismounted from his ass and betook himself to prayer; and he remained upon his knees with his hands raised to heaven until he knew by revelation that God had heard him. – Tell me whom you love and I will tell you who you are.

27 – And then St. Francis said to the villain: “Run, go quickly to that rock, and there thou shall find living water, which Jesus Christ, in this hour, has of His mercy made to issue from that rock”. So he went to the place which St. Francis had shown him, and found there a fair spring which had come forth from the hard rock at the prayer of St. Francis, and he drank copiously thereof, and was comforted. And it was clearly seen that that fountain was miraculously produced by God through the prayers of St. Francis, because neither before nor after was there ever found, in that place, a spring of water, nor any living water near that place for a great distance round about. – The value of persistent prayer is not that God will hear us but that we will finally hear God.

28 – St. Francis, with his companions and with the villain, gave thanks to God for the miracle and continued their journey. When they drew near to the foot of the peak of Alvernia itself, it pleased St. Francis to rest himself a little beneath an oak which was in that place and which is there yet; and, as he sat beneath it, St. Francis began to consider the situation of the place and of the country thereabout; and, while he was thus considering, lo! a great multitude of birds came there from divers parts, with singing and beating of wings, all showed very great joy and gladness; and they surrounded St. Francis so that some alighted upon his head, and some upon his shoulders, and some upon his arms, and some in his bosom, and some about his feet. – Saints are persons who make it easier for others to believe in God.

29 – Now when his companions and the villain saw this they marveled greatly; whereupon St. Francis, all joyful in spirit, spoke to them saying: “I believe, most dear brothers, that it is the will of our Lord Jesus Christ that we dwell in this solitary mountain, because our sisters and brothers the birds show such joy of our coming”. And when he had said these words, they rose up and continued their journey; and finally came unto the place which his companions had chosen at the first. And this suffices for the first consideration, on how St. Francis came to the holy mountain of Alverna. – God does not ask for our ability or our inability, but our availability.

Have a Fruitful and Happy Lent

February 2024-Monthly Spiritual Asst Reflection

November 2023-Fr. Francis Sariego, OFM Cap, Monthly Reflection

Saint Katharine Drexel Regional Fraternity Spiritual Assistant

St. Francis of Assisi Friary

1901 Prior Road

Wilmington, Delaware 19809

tel: (302) 798-1454      fax: (302) 798-3360      website: skdsfo     email:


Happy Thanksgiving

Be grateful God is God and that there is no Other

and for God’s abundant Blessings.

November 2023

Most High, all-powerful, good Lord,

Yours are the praises, the glory, and the honor, and all blessing,

To you alone, Most High, do they belong,

and no human is worthy to mention Your name.

Praised be You, my Lord, with all Your creatures,

especially Sir Brother Sun, …  Sister Moon and the stars, …Brother Wind, …

Sister Water, … Brother Fire, … our Sister Mother Earth, …

Praised be You, my Lord, through those who give pardon for Your love, …

Praised be you, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death,

from whom no one living can escape.

Woe to those who die in mortal sin.

Blessed are those whom death will find in Your most holy will,

for the second death shall do them no harm.

Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks and serve Him with great humility.


(Canticle of the Creatures [abbreviated] by Saint Francis of Assisi)


The Book of The Tribulations ends with the daily passages for this month taken from the last chapter The Testament.  The daily sayings are taken from various sources.

[The Testament]

1 – But so that he might remove every scruple of doubt from the hearts of all the brothers, Blessed Francis toward the end of his life clearly declared in his Testament the truth of his intention, as he had it in the Rule, just as he had received it from Christ. He strictly commanded all his cleric and lay brothers, through obedience, not to place any gloss upon the Rule or the Testament: – Afflictions are but the shadows of God’s wings.

2 – “They should be understood in this way,” but as the Lord gave him to write the Rule and Testament purely and simply, they should understand them purely and simply and observe them purely and simply until the end, blessing all who observe them in this way and firmly blocking the way toward asking letters or privileges from the Roman Curia, either personally or through an intermediary, against the pure and literal observance of the Rule handed over to him by Christ. – Sorrow is a fruit: God does not make it grow on limbs too weak to bear it.

3 – The commands and words of the saint himself, therefore, make it clear that he received the Rule and Testament by revelation from Christ, and that the correct, true, pure, faithful, and spiritual understanding and observance of the Rule is the literal observance. The other “declarations” are pious concessions made by pious doctors for those who are ill, useful and necessary dispensations for the salvation of souls of those who are unable or unwilling to be obliged to that difficult and perfect observance of the Rule which the founder taught and fulfilled and received from Christ directly. – Light griefs can speak, but deeper ones are dumb.

4 – But a reform of the Rule revealed to Saint Francis, to be carried out after the mystery marked by his cross, will be the pure, simple, and literal observance of the Rule and Testament, as the Holy Spirit fills those whom He chooses and calls to preach the life of Christ in word and deed like seraphim, cherubim, and thrones. Like the seraphim, confident that He dwells in them, they will carry Christ in body and soul in the form of the cross. – Those who have known grief seldom seem sad.

5 – As a sign of this, Francis appeared as nailed, first in soul and afterwards in the flesh, prefiguring an opposing reality in adversities. Like the cherubim, because the uncreated intelligence, begotten of the Father from eternity, he will penetrate, enlighten, and confirm the understanding of the humble lesser brothers through feeling and virtue. He will make them wise in the light, communicating to them like another Elijah appeared to six brothers in a fiery chariot, and their consciences were laid bare, one to the other. – There are times when sorrow seems to be the only truth.

6 – Like the thrones, the strength of the all-powerful Father, the brightness of the faith and its living action will help them mightily. Their prayers will be answered, their vows fulfilled, their threats and curses feared, and their blessings will be loved and revered. – One who has grieved can feel the beauty of music.

7 – Without Christ Jesus dwelling in them like the seraphim, enlightening them like cherubim, and resting and sitting in them like the thrones, the chosen ones would not be strong enough to sustain the burden of the last tribulation. In it the power of the dragon, set loose in the man of perdition, will be lifted up and extolled to such an extent that seated in the temple of God, he will display himself, above all that is called “God” or is worshipped as such. – Often it is required to leave God for God.

8 – For just as the life of Christ, His preaching, passion, death, wounds, burial, resurrection, ascension, and all the rest of His deeds and teachings, present, past, and future, singly and all together, humanly and divinely, begin and complete, grant and announce, seal and open, so too the dignity and majesty of His grace and glory are revealed and appear in the saints, and the secrets of His counsel are communicated in an orderly plan, so that all things which are of Christ may shine forth in each of Christ’s members and each may glow more gloriously in all by effect and virtue. – Often we are invited to leave God’s sweetness to serve Him in sorrows and travails.

9 – Christ Jesus is the truth—Eternal Wisdom, uncreated, begotten and creating all things, containing all things, and completing all things—and communicates himself wholly in many and varied ways, human and divine, to each one and to all as He wills according to the capacity of each, for the completion of His mystical body, renewing signs and working wonders through His Spirit for His glorification. – Only life which deliberately picks up and starts again is victorious.

10 – He wished to give to all in Francis a unique memorial of Himself and His wonders: therefore, after He had given through Francis the Rule and teaching of His life, He clothed him with the sign of His flesh and cross, so that the newest members would realize that they ought to be conformed to their head. – Sorrow makes us all children again.

11 – And just as the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God and His inscrutable judgments, which are sealed, are closed and openly revealed by the Father through the Holy Spirit in Christ, so now in this last hour Christ placed the sign of the Cross in the heaven of the Church, and willed it to appear in Francis, so that those who look at him put on Christ and follow him and flee in front of the plundering sword of the hellish man, and are not caught in the trap of his errors, nor cling to falsehood through the work of lies, and thus fall away from the truth. – Prejudice is the reasoning of the stupid.

12 – Finally, as someone says, how was it far from Francis to glory except in the cross of the Lord? Who can express it? Who can understand? It was given to him alone to experience it. For this reason perhaps it had to appear in the flesh, since it could not be explained in words. This alone intimates to human ears what is not yet entirely clear: why that sacrament appeared in the saint, as what is revealed by him to him, and draws understanding from the future: at the end it will be true and worthy of faith, to which nature, law, and grace will be witnesses; for the sign cries out the signified; let silence speak where words fall short. – Christianity is asceticism without rigorism, and love without sentimentality.

13 – For now that all these things have happened, there is the beginning of clarity about those secrets, revealed through the seraph to Francis himself, and closed within the signs of the wounds. Christ Jesus, true God and man, the beginning and the end of created nature, law, grace, and glory, circumscribed and enclosed in the cross the immensity of His omnipotence, the infinity of His wisdom, the bounty of His mercy, and the ineffable goodness of His charity. He destroyed death by death and enlightened life and incorruptibility through the Gospel; and Francis, professing it, was made, in word and action, its herald in the Church by Christ. – Nothing is more depressing and more illogical than aggressive Christianity.

14 – Christ crucified, rising from the dead, and giving the apostles the Holy Spirit, from the death of the letter poured forth the Spirit of life. Rising from the dead, Christ gave this revelation, received from the Father through death, to His servants the apostles. – The world around us will recognize us as disciples of Jesus when they see our prayers are being answered.

15 – And they knew that they had received, through the death of the flesh, the life of the life-giving Christ; and being made saints among the saints by the power of sanctification through His Spirit, they preached life-giving faith against deadly and death-dealing unbelief. – The main business of a Christian is to go through the world turning its water into wine.

16 – And their tongue was made the key of heaven, opening the ways of life to God’s worthy and faithful ones, demonstrating by signs, words, and deeds the destruction of the world and the demise and eternal perdition of those who love it. They separated the precious from the vile, truth from lies, goodness from malice, and they were made the mouth of God and the chariot of His omnipotence against the world and the prince of the world. – If we were willing to learn the meaning of true discipleship and actually to become disciples, the Church in the west would become transformed and the impact on society would be staggering.

17 – They preached the Gospel to the crucifiers of Christ, those who despised His humility. The apostles tried, through the love of heavenly things and the acknowledgment and imitation of Christ, to draw them away from infidelity and disobedience to God, which they incurred through the sin of envy against Christ, and from the enmity of God, which they incurred under the pretext of preserving divine worship … but God broke them and dispersed them and made His name great among the nations. – It takes two to make peace.

18 – Those who were his brothers in name only denied and opposed by their words and deeds the evangelical life and perfection, which was solemnly introduced and renewed by Christ in the Church through Francis in opposition to the cunning of demons and the errors and fallacies of the precursors of Antichrist. Then the sign of his wounds will cry out and proclaim the malice of the persecutors signified in the wounds and silence, and speaking, will declare that innocence and perfection truly exists in those who will endure persecution. – Peace is not made at the council tables or by treaties, but in the hearts of men.

19 – For faith, as it is sure knowledge of God, not having demonstrable first principles, since it is one of those things above the mind and understanding, is an existing substance, and works beyond nature in those who are truly faithful. Those dependent upon the reasonings of human philosophy will attempt, with the devil agitating them, to overturn and revoke those who are grounded, rooted in it, demonstrating by sophistry that they live contrary to Scripture and the example and teachings of the early fathers; and that they act foolishly, rashly and irrationally, presuming to live and observe things impossible for human nature, out of harmony with common custom and tradition of the early fathers, derived from the saints and by the saints up to the present time. Accordingly, Christians will consider that they are doing a service to God when they kill those Christians striving for true perfection with all their might. – Yes, we love peace, yet we are not willing to take wounds for it, as we are for war.

20 – For this reason, the one who wrote the first legend says that it will be true and worthy of faith, to which nature, law, and grace will be witnesses, since the innocence of Abel, the meekness and humility of Moses, and the kindness and charity of Christ will bear witness for these latest poor men, humble in mind and heart. They are truly blessed, much like the saints before them, who once served the Lord under the law of nature, the law of Moses, and the law of the grace, and they will suffer in the end of the time of the Church of the nations. – My religion is based on truth and non-violence.

21 – At last the ancient serpent, who by his own pride was cast down from his high state, seduced the first man, attacked Moses, tempted Christ, and had Him crucified, at the beginning of the fullness of the end will be let loose to tempt the Church of the nations. In his release wickedness will overflow, or abound, and charity will grow cold, so that the humility, faith, poverty, purity, and charity of Christ will be considered pride, perfidy, heresy, sterility, and foolishness. – A bad peace is better than a good war.

22 – For Brother Pacificus, who in ecstasy of mind saw and heard that the seat of Lucifer was reserved for the humble Francis. And Brother Salvo saw that Francis was chosen by God from all the saints to have a particular battle with Lucifer. And another brother saw that Lucifer had entered into the religion of the Lesser Brothers, and assumed the habit, so that he could vanquish Francis more easily. – Who is narrow of vision cannot be big of heart.

23 – Brothers in appearance and name will attack and persecute the Brothers who are Lesser in fact and deed, and will hate them in a fanatical and insane way, and boldly follow a leader of foolishness, error, and disbelief, the enemy of Francis, the most humble and poorest man, namely, Lucifer, and, having drawn the sons of his flesh away from him, in irreverence, incredulity, and disobedience they will have provoked and exasperated him as long as he lived. – Compassion is the root of religion; pride the root of sin.

24 – This was, therefore, the first conflict of incredulity and irreverence and disobedience against Francis, the founder under Christ, and his true and heartfelt followers, against which Christ, in Francis and his companions, stood and went out conquering, so that he might vanquish through true poverty and humility, and rule triumphantly in peace and charity. So be it. Amen – God does not wish us to remember what He is willing to forget.

25 – Near the time of the passing of the humble, poor servant of God, Francis, he had all the brothers of the place called to him, and spoke consoling words to them about his death. With fatherly affection and powerful words he exhorted them to observance of the life and Rule they had promised, to divine mutual love, and to reverence and obedience to the holy mother Roman Church and all clerics. With the most powerful and reliable words he inflamed them to possess poverty, humility, peace, and mutual love, leaving and bequeathing these as inheritance rights; and to ardent following of the footprints of Jesus Christ and contempt and hatred of the world. – Unless you are deliberately kind to every creature, you will often be cruel to many.

26 – As they were sitting around him he ordered a brief testament written, in which he wrote down all the truth of his first and last intention, revealed to him by Christ, purely and clearly, both for those present as well as for those absent and those to come to the religion until the end of the age. And he ordered with all possible strictness that it be faithfully and reverently observed and preserved under the protection of the Most High heavenly Father and His blessed Son Jesus Christ and His blessing. – Compassion will cure more sins that condemnation.

27 – He blessed all the brothers, present and absent in the power and name of Jesus Christ Crucified, his arms crossed, extending over them in the form of a cross, his hands marked with the wounds of Jesus Christ. He also had Brother Bernard of Quintavalle, the first brother, called to him. Placing his right hand on the head of this brother in front of all the brothers, he blessed him with particular, heartfelt affection. – Justice seeks out the merits of the case, but pity only regards the needs.

28 – After the blessing, Blessed Francis ordered one of his companions: “Write what I tell you: the first brother the Lord gave me was Brother Bernard, and he first began and perfectly fulfilled the perfection of the Holy Gospel, distributing all he had to the poor. Because of this, and many other prerogatives given to him by God, I am held to love him more than any other brother of the whole religion. Therefore, it is my will and my command, as much as I am able, that the general minister of the religion, whoever he may be, should love him and honor him as myself, and also all the Provincial ministers and the brothers of the whole religion should hold him in my place.” – Friendship-one soul in two bodies.

29 – And Saint Francis also prophesied about Brother Bernard that toward the end of his life he would be supplied with many graces and gifts from Christ Jesus, and would pass from this life to Christ, in assurance and filled with the anointing of the Holy Spirit in admirable peace and rest of body and soul, as clearly appeared later to all the brothers who were present at his passing. Then, as the brothers observed his confidence in Christ at death, and his overwhelming devotion to his last breath, they could not restrain themselves from crying, but out of gladness and wonder said: “This man was truly an unrecognized saint!” – A man may have authority over others, but he can never have their heart but by giving his own.

30 – After his death they looked upon him as a saint of God, spreading gladness and joy with a marvelous fragrance and singular beauty which he did not have before when he was living. And they were delighted by his appearance, because a certain power came forth from him, cheering those standing by and looking at him, and it filled them with both sweetness and spiritual consolation. – I do not want merely to possess a faith; I want a faith that possesses me.

Peace and Blessings,

Fr. Francis A. Sariego, O.F.M. Cap.

Regional Spiritual Assistant

November 2023-Monthly Spiritual Asst Reflection

October 2023 – Fr. Francis Sariego, OFM Cap, Monthly Reflection

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:

October 2023


Let me cry out therefore:

“O what a glorious saint he is!

His disciple saw his soul ascending into heaven:

beautiful as the moon, bright as the sun,

glowing brilliantly as it ascended upon a white cloud!

O true lamp of the world, shining more brilliantly than the sun in the Church of Christ!

Now, you have withdrawn the rays of your light, as you withdraw into that luminous homeland

You have exchanged our poor company for that of the angels and saints!

In your glorious goodness and great renown, do not put aside care for your sons,

though you have put aside flesh like theirs.

You know, you truly know, the danger in which you have left them;

for it was your blessed presence alone

that always mercifully relieved their countless labors and frequent troubles!

O truly merciful and most holy father,

you were always kind and ready to show mercy and forgive your sinful sons!

We bless you therefore, worthy father, as you have been blessed by the Most High,

Who is God over all things blessed forever. Amen.”

(First Life, bk.2, chpt 9 of Bl. Thomas of Celano)


Almighty, eternal, just, and merciful God,

grant to us wretches, by your will, to do what we know you wish,

and ever to wish what pleases you,

in order that, purified in soul, lighted up within,

and inflamed by the fire of the Holy Spirit,

we may follow the footsteps of your Son,

our Lord Jesus Christ,

and reach you, Most High, by your grace alone.

For you live and reign and are glorified.

  Daily excerpts from the Tribulations, Franciscan Sources


1 – Knowing the future through the Holy Spirit, he would say: “With the pretext of preaching and edifying others, the brothers shall abandon their vocation, that is, pure and holy simplicity, prayer, humility, and our Lady Poverty. It will happen that, because they believe themselves inflamed with the devotion and love of God, they will remain cold, empty of charity. – God does not pay weekly, He pays at the end.

2 – And so, they will be unable to return to their vocation, as they have wasted the time for living according to their calling; and it is to be feared that what they seemed to have will be taken away from them and they will find their hands empty on the day of tribulation. The people they think they converted to the Lord through their preaching were actually converted to the Lord by the prayers of the holy brothers in deserted places who weep over their own sins and those of others. – The Beatitudes are a call to us to see ourselves.

3 – It has been given by Christ to true Lesser Brothers to know the mystery of the kingdom of God, but to the rest to know only in parables. There are so many who willingly climb up toward knowledge that anyone who renders himself sterile of it for the love of God will be blessed.” – Perhaps with charity one should not think.

4 – Some brothers came from France and reported to him that the brothers had recently received an important man, a master of sacred theology in Paris. Both the people and the clergy were greatly edified by this. Blessed Francis listened, then sighed and responded: “I am afraid, my sons, that in the end such masters will destroy my plant. – Every person is their own chief enemy

5 – The true masters are those who show their way of life to their neighbors through good works with gentle wisdom. A person has only as much learning as his actions show; and is wise only as much as he loves God and neighbor; and a religious is only as good a preacher as much as he humbly and faithfully does the good that he understands.” – Charity like love should be blind.

6 – A holy brother, a master of theology, came from Germany at that time to see Saint Francis, to be sure about his understanding and intention regarding the Rule. As he learned and listened to his intention about life according to the Rule, his spirit became as tranquil and consoled as if Christ Jesus Himself, not a man, had spoken. – None but myself ever did me any harm.

7 – After the interview the brother knelt humbly before Saint Francis and said: “I now promise again, into your hands, to observe, faithfully and purely, this evangelical life and Rule according to the pure and faithful intention which the Holy Spirit has spoken clearly through your mouth, until the end of my life, as much as Christ’s grace will allow me. – There is more to be feared from unspoken and concealed, than from open and declared hostility.

8 – But one favor I ask of you. If in my lifetime it happens that the brothers fall away from the pure observance of the Rule as you foretell through the Spirit, so much that, because of their opposition, I cannot observe it freely among them, I ask by your obedience that I may withdraw to observe the Rule perfectly, alone or with some brothers who also wish to observe it purely.” – An open foe may prove a curse, but a pretended friend is worse.

9 – Hearing these things, Blessed Francis was overjoyed, and blessed him, placing his right hand on his head, saying: “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchisedek. Know that what you asked is granted, by Christ and by me.” – Doing an injury puts you below your enemy.

10 – He showed in this way that all the promises made to him by Christ about his religion would, in the end, be fulfilled in those who would strive to observe the Rule simply, to the letter, and without glosses. – Revenge makes you even with your foe but forgiveness sets you above him.

11 – Those who bear the easy yoke of Christ’s life and Rule with bitterness are sons of the flesh, always twisting the holy and pious understanding of the Rule toward their own fleshly way of thinking. They are like Ishmael, born according to the flesh, who was hostile to Isaac who was born according to the promise of the Holy Spirit and lived a spiritual and holy life. – I owe much to my friends, but owe even more to my enemies.

12 – So it will be in this life and religion: the sons of the flesh will persecute the sons of the spirit. But God, who divided the sons of Israel from the Egyptians with a strong hand and an outstretched arm, will separate the true sons of the Rule from the sons of the prudence of the flesh. He will abandon the latter in the shadows of error and the coldness of greed and self-love. – There is so much good in the worst of us.

13 – The former He will lead into the light of divine brilliance and the cross-like perfection of seraphic charity, and make them conformed to the body of His brilliance by the power with which He subjects all things to himself. – There is so much bad even in the best of us.

 [The Beginning of Division]

14 – There was in the time of Saint Francis apparent unity outwardly among the brothers regarding the habit, living together, and obedience. But there was a hidden schism and great diversity in regard to the purity of the Rule, observing and loving it, and obedience and sincere following of the intention of the founder. – Love makes all hard hearts gentle.

15 – Lacking among them were the following: to be of one mind; to have the same charity; to have the same mind among all; to do nothing out of rivalry or for empty glory, each considering others superior; not seeking their own interest but, with the founder, those of Christ, for the consolation of others, what is useful to them, and serves mutual edification. –  From a slip of the foot you may soon recover, but a slip of the tongue you may never recover.

16 – Brother Elias, having given himself to the subtleties of philosophy, secretly drew after himself a gang of rebels in a spirit of greed and vanity. He opened up and dug a pit for himself and, deceived, he fell into it and died. – One may often regret their speech, but never their silence.

17 – He failed to recognize the stratagems, tricks, and inventions of Satan, and so, unaware, he prepared the ways for them, improved the route, and made their paths straight, opposing, in the founder, Christ Himself. – If you desire people to speak well of you, hold your tongue.

18 – Christ Himself kindly revealed this to a holy and venerable priest, the rector of a parish in Massa Trabaria, named Don Bartolo, whom Saint Francis designated to act in his place in all things and for all things because of his outstanding holiness. – Slander kills three: the slandered, the slanderer, and the one who listens to the slander.

19 – He was a very discerning man, a consoler of the sorrowful, full of mercy, piety, and charity. The brothers approached him confidently as the kindest of fathers and the instructor of their souls. – Conversation is telling people a little less than what they want to know

20 – He used to receive brothers into the religion and reconciled those who had been expelled and had left. With divine and clear reasoning and living example he demonstrated to them that the counsels of human wisdom that disagree with the way of perfection and the intention of the founder were more than useless: they were infected with deadly poison. – If only people would only stop talking where they stopped knowing, have the evils in the world would come to an end.

21 – This man, pleasing to God, at Christ’s command, in ecstasy of mind while praying, was led to the lower reaches of hell. There he saw Lucifer in his place of punishments, surrounded by the chief spirits of the lower regions. The prince of darkness posed an angry question to them as he asked for advice. – The best conversation is that in which the heart has a greater share than the head.

22 – “We have received unpleasant and troubling news from the desert of the world, through men we hold in our power. Some men have appeared unexpectedly in the world. They despise and trample underfoot the world with the flesh and its vices. They threaten the rights and the places of our domain. – The genius in conversation is in the art of being totally honest and totally kind at the same time.

23 – Unless we offer them some resistance, they will inflict damage and great loss on us. So think carefully what we should do to oppose them. You can hear more fully about their circumstances from those who have just come from there.” – We seldom repent talking too little, but very often talking too much.

24 – At Lucifer’s command they began to report, describing the life and perfection of these men. One huge demon stood up. He and some of the evil spirits under him were engaged in an extraordinary struggle with Saint Francis and his religion. He said: “Even though, as our prince said, many are rising against us recently in various ways, there is one man in particular, a man of lowly condition, unschooled and simple, who has a small society of others like himself. – Whoever gossips to you will gossip of you.

25 – He is the one who has risen up against us in such strength of spirit, that it seems not a man but Jesus of Nazareth in person battling against us in him. No trick of ours, however subtle, no deception, however strong, can deceive or overthrow him or his followers. No matter how many traps we lay, left and right, we cannot capture or overcome him. – The tongue has no bones, but it can break your back.

26 – What is even more painful, any of our faithful followers who go near become our adversaries and deadly enemies. There was a period of silence among them. Then the individual captains began to propose wicked plans as to how victory over their adversaries might be won quickly. – God gave us two ears and one mouth. Why don’t we listen twice as much as we talk?

27 – The details I omit for the sake of brevity. They discussed various vices in many different ways, and proposed examples of how they gained unexpected victories over very great and—as they thought—unassailable saints. Then another demon, Lucifer’s second in command, spoke after all the rest: “You have described numerous sly and workable plans; yet no one, believe me, has thought of the one way to win an overwhelming victory over them.” 286All the demons were interested in hearing his plan and proposal, so he went on: – Where the Church is, there is the Spirit of God.

28 – “We cannot defeat these men unless we turn all our commitment, effort, cunning and activity, to the following. We must inspire those who are proud, boasting, curious, deceitful and dishonest, greedy, envious, presumptuous and false, whom we know are ours. By every means we must suggest to them and foster in them the desire to do penance and join them to serve the Lord. Once we have our faction among them, we will seek to increase it every day. By it we will upset them, infect their religion; we will undermine their vows, their words, habits and works. We will make their reputation rot so badly that they, because of the deadly stench, all who approach them will smell the odor of death, and will not smell the enlivening fragrance that leads to life.” – Afflictions are but the shadows of God’s wings.

29 – That plan of subversion pleased Lucifer and all his princes. From then on their policy was to pursue that last proposal with all their strength. God permitted, by His secret and hidden judgment, that the demons move men in tune with their aims and in sympathy with their spite to enter that religion, whose basic principles they hated as most opposed to theirs. 298At the beginning when Francis alone received the brothers, the demons were unable to carry out their evil plans for trickery, because he, enlightened like the cherubim by the Holy Spirit, had eyes front and back, inside and out. – Sorrow is a fruit. God does not make it grow on limbs too weak to bear it.

30 – But then the number of ministers increased throughout the world, who lacked even a modicum of the spiritual perfection essential to forestall the hidden plots of the demons. And the spirit of every one of the ministers was carried away by the desire to increase the number of brothers, under the pretext of the salvation of souls and the expansion of the religion. They multiplied the people but not capture even one of their members.” These arrogant ministers, relying on their own prudence, wanted to rule, not to be ruled; to make a rule, for themselves and others, based on their own opinion and will, rather than observe the Rule humbly, mortifying their own will. – God does not wish us to remember what He is willing to forget.

[Reunification of Office]

31 – Consequently, for the founder, and for the brothers who walked in simplicity, labor, sorrow, and affliction of spirit increased. For the tepid, danger grew; for the dissatisfied, glee; and for the malicious, confidence in evil-doing. These evils grew so much even before the death of Saint Francis that he, who was the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, was unable to remedy them by his words, his example, or signs and miracles of healing. Instead he chose, after praying, as the better role for himself, to spend time with God and renounce his office among the brothers. – I believe in Christianity as I believe in the sun, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.

October 2023-Monthly Spiritual Asst Reflection

September 2023-Fr. Francis Sariego Monthly Reflection

Saint Katharine Drexel Region

Monthly Regional Spiritual Assistant Reflections

September 2023

Fr. Francis Sariego, OFM Cap.


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.


(Saint Francis of Assisi)


Monthly daily excerpts are from the Franciscan Sources and the thought for the day from various writers.

Excerpts continue from the Tribulations

1 – In his presence then, Blessed Francis said to the brothers: “Christ called me, an unlearned and simple man, to follow the foolishness of His cross. He said to me: ‘I want you to be a new fool in the world and in word and deed to preach the foolishness of my cross; to look to me, both you and all your brothers, and to be joined to me, without any examples from the Rules of Augustine or Benedict or Bernard.’ But you! You wish to follow your own ideas and your learning and drag me along: in the end your learning will put you to shame.” – Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.

2 – And turning to the Lord Cardinal he said: “These wise brothers of mine, whom you praise, think that with their human prudence they can deceive God, you, and me as they deceive and mislead themselves. They invalidate and trample under foot what Christ is saying and has said to them through me for the salvation of their souls and the good of the whole religion. I do not say and have never said anything of myself, but only what I have received from Him, with conviction of spirit, through His grace and goodness alone. – We are all strings in the concert of God’s joy.

3 – But they, to the great peril of their souls, prefer their own mind to the mind of Christ and their own will to the will of God. They govern themselves badly and they govern the others who believe them badly as well. They do not build: they try to overturn and destroy what Christ out of sheer goodness and charity has determined to plant and to build in me and in them for the sure salvation of our souls and the building up of the whole Church.” – Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.

4 – The force and power of his words changed the mind of the Lord Cardinal, and he recognized that what he was saying was absolutely true. He called together the brothers who had persuaded him to present their proposals to Saint Francis. He said to them: “Brothers, listen to me. Watch yourselves. Do not deceive yourselves. Do not be ungrateful for the gift of God. God really is in this man, and Christ and His Spirit speak in him. Whoever hears him does not hear a man, but God. Whoever rejects him rejects God, not man. Humble your hearts and obey him if you wish to please God. If you offend him, thinking and acting contrary to his commands and counsels, you will deprive yourselves of the fruit of salvation and of your vocation. – Following after God is the desire of happiness.

5 – You will lessen the state of your religion. You will darken your hearts, wrapped in darkness in your many offenses and faults. The living word of God comes from his mouth and, as the Apostle says, it is more penetrating than a two-edged sword. He is not ignorant of the cunning of Satan. No, he reaches even the secret intentions and thoughts, satanic and human. He cannot be deceived by human tricks because he has in him the Spirit of God who searches minds and hearts and even the depths of God.” – To reach God is happiness itself.

6 – Before leaving, the Lord Cardinal preached the word of God to all there, both the brothers who had gathered in a great multitude for the chapter, to the devout persons there, and the people of the city of Assisi. He was a wise man and led a good and upright life. After wisely, eloquently, and effectively preaching for the edification of souls and the correction of conduct, at the end of his sermon he turned to complimenting, commending, and praising the brothers. – Joy is prayer. Joy is strength. Joy is love.

7 – He extolled their life and perfection with repeated praise, in an effort to attract and inflame all the people present to reverence and respect for the brothers and their holy religion. When the sermon was finished, Francis knelt before the Lord Cardinal and asked both for his blessing and his permission to say a few words to the brothers and the people in his presence. – Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.

8 – Having received the blessing, he spoke to all of them: “Out of the great good will and charity he shows to everyone, especially toward my brothers and religion, our revered Father the Lord Cardinal has been greatly deceived. He supposes and believes that there is great holiness in us, unique virtue, and love of perfection. But it would not be right for us to provide the occasion for falsehood and lies. – Religion can be defined as the power which makes us joyful about the things that matter.

9 – Both you and he would be deceived if you believed in that perfection and excellence that he preached to you about us: it would be an occasion of harm and great danger, both to you and to us. We are ungrateful to God for our vocation; we do not have the works and accomplishments of real poor and humble men, or real lesser Brothers, and we are not striving to have them as we promised. I have only one wish: that the Lord Cardinal and all of you may know the works, words, and desires which Lesser Brothers ought to have and demonstrate, so that you are not deceived about them, and they may not deceive and mislead themselves and you as well. – God never ruffles the joy of his children, except to prepare them for a certain, far greater joy.

[Future Failings]

10 – “You will see that the Lesser Brothers do not persuade the novices whom they receive to give all they have to the poor according to form of the Gospel as they promised, but rather suggest to them that they save something for books, for the church, or some reason or other, for themselves, or for the needs of the brothers. You will see brothers acquiring material goods beyond their daily bodily needs. – One of Satan’s biggest lies is that sin adds to human happiness.

11 – You will see them begging money or coins for themselves and their places or for building churches, and accepting legacies and inheritances from you for whatever reason or pretense. Then you will know they are deceived and misled, because the Lesser Brothers have been sent by Christ to demonstrate His poverty and humility more by their deeds than by words. – When we commit ourselves, easily and readily, to God’s way, and live in His will, we will find our peace.

12 – “You will see them abandon poor little places, worthless and small, located far from the world, and exchange them and buy beautiful and luxurious places inside villages and towns, under the pretext that these are for preaching and for your benefit. You will see them dismiss holy prayer and devotion to apply themselves to study and the acquisition of books, the gaining of burial rights, wishing for and getting abundantly the use of all things. To get and hold onto all these things they will seek privileges from the Roman Curia and bring lawsuits based on the rights of such privileges. – The greatest honor you can give to God is to live gladly because of the knowledge of his love.

13 – At that time, open your eyes and watch yourselves. Do not follow them or listen to them. Such men will be Lesser Brothers in name only. By word and deed they attack and destroy, in themselves and others, the poverty and humility which they promised to the Lord. Through them much evil will happen in the religion and in the Church. – If our joy gives honor to God, then it is our duty to be joyful.

14 – “I tell you these things before they happen so that both you and they may be on guard against the snares of demons and the wickedness of evil men and may avoid future evils, for times of many tribulations and deceptions are approaching. The first sign of all these things, which will soon appear, is that the brothers will turn from love and observance of the life and Gospel of Christ. For neither learning nor wisdom nor eloquence will draw the world to Christ, but only a pure and holy way of living and perfect observance of the commands and counsels of Christ.” – Those who have much are often greedy while those who have little usually share.

15 – Then the Lord Cardinal said to him: “Brother Francis! Why have you nullified my sermon? Why are you predicting such great imperfections about your brothers, in your religion?” Saint Francis said to him: “I have honored your preaching by telling the truth about me and my brothers with restraint. I have also spared myself and them, by setting the word of truth as an obstacle against ruin and wishing, on this occasion, to contrast your public praise with a healthy and necessary admonition to my brothers who are not yet fully formed in humility.” – Let temporal things serve you, but the eternal ones be the object of your desire.

16 – Those words that Saint Francis proclaimed to the brothers, words given to him by Christ, seemed generally heavy and unbearable to those who were wise according to the flesh. And the ministers had that chapter of the first rule removed, the one about the prohibitions of the Holy Gospel, as Brother Leo writes. – It is easier to renounce worldly possessions than it is to renounce the love of them.

17 – Although Saint Francis was fervently proclaiming to the brothers what the Lord revealed to him, and perfectly demonstrated in himself by the example of his deeds the things that he preached, the brothers closed their ears to his holy words and turned their eyes away from his deeds. Rather they wanted to draw him to their own way against his will, instead of submitting to his health-giving divine counsels and commands, and being conformed in a healthy way to the examples of perfection in his deeds. – Give all you can; heaven rejects the nicely calculated great or less giving.

18 – For when he had returned from regions overseas, a minister was speaking with him, as Brother Leo reports, about the chapter on poverty, to understand fully the will of Blessed Francis and his understanding of it. Blessed Francis said to him: “I understand the chapter on poverty just as the words of the Holy Gospel and the Rule sound literally. The brothers may have nothing and ought to have nothing except a garment with a cord, trousers, and shoes, if forced by necessity.” – God takes life’s pieces and gives us unbroken peace.

19 – And the minister said to him: “What am I to do, father? I have so many books worth fifty pounds.” He said this because he wished to keep them as well as his conscience, since he was keeping all those books with remorse of conscience, as he knew that Francis understood literally the chapter on poverty strictly in that way. – Only still waters give back an undistorted image of the sky.

20 – Blessed Francis said to him: “Brother, I cannot and must not act against my conscience and the profession of the Holy Gospel we have promised because of your books.” On hearing this, the minister became sad. Blessed Francis, seeing that he was upset, spoke to him in great fervor of spirit as standing for all his brothers: “You, Lesser Brothers, wish to seem and to be called observers of the Holy Gospel, but in fact you want to hold the purse.” – That person is happiest, be they king or peasant, who finds peace in their home.

21 – I myself saw a brother who heard him preaching at Bologna—those who saw this reported it—when he entered the town he wanted to head toward the place of his brothers. There he saw a house had been built that exceeded the limits of poverty. He turned back and went instead to the house of the Preachers, and they received him with great joy. – If the basis of peace is God, the secret of peace is trust.

22 – There was a Brother Preacher of extraordinary holiness and learning who listened devoutly and humbly to the words of Saint Francis. He knew why Saint Francis refused to stay with his own brothers, and felt compassion for the brothers’ desolation. He tried to persuade him to go to them and pardon them if they had offended him in any way. Blessed Francis said to him: “It would not be kind indulgence to them for me to approve by my action such a notorious transgression against the poverty they promised, and an offense to God if I were to accept their hospitality while they remain in sin.” – The world rests upon these three things: upon truth, upon justice, and upon peace.

23 – Seeing that he could not convince Blessed Francis to do this, he said: “For the sake of your other brothers, so that they not incur dishonor from the way you turned back, let us go to these brothers: you will rebuke them with charity for their offense, and so you will fulfill your duty. If because of conscience you do not wish to remain in such a house, we will come back. In this way the reputation of the brothers will be preserved and they will make amends for their offense.” – The enemies of peace are: avarice, ambition, envy, anger and pride.

24 – Blessed Francis agreed to follow the brother’s advice. He found the brothers ready to accept whatever penance he wished to impose on them and he pardoned them. But then he learned of the firm, or rather stubborn attitude of one of his brothers, Brother Pietro Stacia by name, who had been a doctor of law in the world. Through the Spirit he knew that the brother’s conscience, his ways of acting, and his teachings were all contrary to the purity of the Rule, so he cursed him. – Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.

25 – He had been a great man in the world and was much loved by the ministers because of his learning. The brothers therefore, near the end of Saint Francis’ life, asked him to pardon and to bestow the favor of his blessing on such a great man he had cursed, but he answered: “My sons, I cannot bless anyone whom the Lord has cursed, and he is cursed.” – One of the great similarities between Christianity and marriage is that, for Christians, they both get better as we get older.

26 – What more can be said? After a short time, that brother grew ill and was close to death. Whether he blessed or cursed anyone, he was moved not by any human emotion or opinion. Rather, having been made Christ-like, he revealed the secrets of divine judgments and the divine will, and perceived in the Word the future as if it were the past. – Christianity, if false, is of no importance and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.

27 – As Brother Thomas of Celano writes of him, when he once heard of the boundless excesses of some brothers and of the bad example they gave to lay people, he was overcome by grief and turned himself completely to Christ. Then some others arrived unexpectedly and told him about the holy way of living of some other brothers, the edification of lay people, and their conversion to the state of penance. – The happiest wife (husband) is not the one who marries the best man (woman), but the one who makes the best of the man (woman) she (he) marries.

28 – The lover of the good and of the salvation of souls rejoiced on hearing this. Enlightened by a heavenly revelation he understood the rightness of divine justice which embraces and blesses good people and rejects and curses the evil. – God never said that the journey would be easy, but He did say that the arrival would be worthwhile.

29 – In great force and strength of spirit, he cursed those who apostatized from the profession of the life they promised and defamed the religion by their perverse deeds. He blessed the ones who kept their promises and edified their neighbors by the example of a holy life and caused the religion to spread the fragrance of a good reputation. – Wherever law ends, tyranny begins.

30 – All who heard him realized that a blessing or a curse pronounced by Saint Francis on earth came from God and was ratified in heaven. The brothers who were really wise, and truly loved Christ, realized that his words and deeds came from Christ and His Spirit. Those who welcomed him and listened to him, welcomed and listened to Christ speaking in him. The upright and pure of heart listened to him and followed him without hesitation. – Christ did not die a martyr. He died, infinitely more humbly, a common criminal.

September 2023-Monthly Spiritual Asst Reflection

August 2023-Fr. Francis Sariego, OFM Cap Monthly Reflections

Fr. Francis Sariego, OFM Cap.

Saint Katharine Drexel Region Spiritual Assistant

August 2023 – Monthly Reflections


Hail, O Lady,
Holy Queen,
Mary, holy Mother of God,
Who are the Virgin made Church,
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 fullness of grace and every good.

Hail His Palace!
Hail His Tabernacle!
Hail His Dwelling!
Hail His Robe!
Hail His Servant!
Hail His Mother!

And hail all You holy virtues
which are poured into the hearts of the faithful
through the grace and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit,
that from being unbelievers,
You may make them faithful to God

(St. Francis of Assisi’s Salutation of the Blessed Virgin Mary)


Excerpts of daily quotes taken from the sources entitled The Tribulations

[continuation of section: Angelic Prophecies]


“The Word of God did not fail because the Jews did not accept me but rather persecuted me and killed my disciples, the remnant of my chosen one have been saved and will be saved; and my name has been made great among the nations. In a similar way, in this last hour, the chief effect and fruit of my promise and intention, which I decided to produce through you, cannot be hindered or destroyed by any opposition, whether human or satanic.” – Love is, above all, the gift of oneself.


His spirit was consoled by the words of Christ. And in order that the brothers might have no excuse in the sight of God, he fulfilled in himself what he preached to the brothers, and confirmed by the example of his deeds what he taught in words. For he inspired them to observe perfectly the Rule revealed to him by the Lord. – God wants the heart.


Before their eyes Christ multiplied virtues and signs so that He might increase in them fidelity and love for this way and for His life and Rule which they professed, and that He might unite them in hatred of anything contrary to it. – God loves all existing things.


While [Francis] was at the Speco of Sant’Urbano, Christ Jesus sent him a glorious angel. The angel revealed to him the privileges or unique favors granted by God in heaven to those who love and observe the Rule purely to the very end. The angel encouraged him to announce to the brothers the unique glory which Christ has prepared in heaven for those who carry out the life and Rule faithfully and devoutly: blissful exaltation to the kingdom without any delay in the pains of Purgatory; the gleaming bright mansions for the disciples of Christ; defense during the exile of this pilgrimage; unique protection from the snares of the demons and from falling into mortal sin; – One loving heart sets another on fire.


joyful and Christ-like dwelling of Christ and His Spirit in the souls and bodies of those who observe the Rule purely and faithfully; and for those dying within the religion in the habit of humility and poverty, the forgiveness of all sins of commission and omission because of the sign and the reality, if they were found in it at the last, when they mercifully accepted the end. – God has made you to love him, and not understand him.


To those who have devotion for those who observe the Rule and for our religion, and to those who receive them devotedly and assist them kindly: an increase of the gifts of grace; protection from enemies; freedom from sins. If they listen to the brothers and persevere in their early love and reverence for them until the end, they will receive at the end mercy and the rest of eternal peace. – All virtue is loving right, all sin is loving wrong.


To those, on the other hand, who persecute, attack, and hate those brothers and their religion and this way of life, there will come, in the present, deprivation of grace; darkness of mind; entanglement in sin; bitterness of heart; and ungodliness; and, if they do not repent and regain their senses before death, the curse of Christ and eternal damnation will come upon them. – All love, provided it is authentic, pure and disinterested bears in itself its own justification.


Instructed by Christ and his heavenly messenger, in the power of the Holy Spirit Francis announced to the brothers the incomparable dignity, hidden glory, and sublimity of the imitation of the poor and humble life of Christ. With signs and extraordinary deeds, and with living and effective words, the upright of heart among them were inflamed to a pure observance of the life they had undertaken, and were strengthened in their reverence for the Rule they professed. – What does it matter to a truly loving soul whether God is served by one means or by another.


To those he knew to be perfect in love of Christ he revealed the secrets of his heart and what he had received directly from Christ. He told them that love and full, faithful observance of the poverty and humility of Christ were the foundation, the substance, and the root of the evangelical life and Rule revealed to him by Christ. – Love is the only force that make tins one without destroying them.


Jesus, the Son of God, consecrated it: born of a poor little mother in a cave, lying in a manger, and wrapped in swaddling clothes because he had no place in the inn; he was circumcised and offered to God; fleeing into Egypt and on His return from there, dwelling in Nazareth; begging for three days, fasting, preaching; dying, buried in another’s tomb, rising from the dead. He declared that this was the root of obedience; the mother of renunciation; the death of self-satisfaction, greed, and avarice; the obedience and activity of faith; the expression of hope; the proof of humility; giving birth to the peace of God which surpasses all understanding. – Human beings must be known to be loved, but divine things must be loved to be known.


He said to the brothers: “Christ has assured me that the religion, when the foundation of poverty is removed, will become a cheap and miserable ruin. For this religion has been consecrated in a special way to the reverent service of charity and of the cross, in order to preserve humble poverty and the bonds of the commands of Christ. It has been chosen to receive spiritually and give birth to Christ Jesus in the inn of the Church in the last days, like another Virgin Mary in the Spirit. – Love is the greatest thing that God can give us, for he himself is Love, and it is the greatest thing we can give to God.


It is to promise, love and preserve this ‘having nothing’ on earth. Loving and preserving this, the brothers will bear Christ Jesus and His Spirit reverently and humbly. Persevering to the end, they will leave this life safe and sure of the kingdom of heaven. – The only way to speak the truth is to speak it lovingly.


Because of this he wanted them all to have the Rule, all to know it and, what is more, they were to die with it. Mindful of this admonition, that holy lesser brother who always carried a breastplate next to his flesh, in the end was sentenced to death by the Saracens for preaching and constantly confessing the faith. – Truth is not only violated by falsehood, it may equally be outraged by silence.


Taking the Rule which he always carried with him, he raised his eyes and his hands with the Rule to heaven, saying: “Into your hands, Lord Jesus Christ, I commend my spirit. And if, human as I am, I have in any way sinned against this Rule, may You, lover of all, graciously forgive me.” After these words he was beheaded and passed to Christ with the palm of martyrdom. – Only God is, only God knows, only God can do anything.


Blessed Francis called this Rule the tree of life, the fruit of wisdom, the fountain of paradise, the ark of salvation, the ladder ascending into heaven, the pact of the eternal covenant, the Gospel of the kingdom, and the brief word which the Lord made on earth with His disciples. He taught the brothers that through the Rule they would find true rest for their souls and bodies, and experience the blessed sweetness of the easy and light burden and yoke of Christ, the weight that bears them up to heaven. – No one can bar the way to truth, and at the same time advance its cause.


In this way he had already organized and fully formed the brothers, assuring and strengthening them to the best of his ability by holy words and example to revere and observe purely and faithfully the life they professed. Then, on fire with the seraphic love which carried him into Christ, and to put words into action, he longed to offer himself to God as a living sacrifice through the fire of martyrdom. Three times he started out on journeys to the lands of unbelievers. But in order to test more fully the fire of his fervor, twice he was prevented by divine intervention. – God’s purpose in creating us is that we share his own family life.


The third time, however, by Christ’s design, he was led to the Sultan of Babylon after suffering many insults, chains, beatings, and hardships. Standing in the presence of the Sultan, he was entirely aglow with the fire of the Holy Spirit. He preached to him Christ Jesus and the faith of the Gospel with such force, such lively and moving words, that the Sultan and the bystanders were amazed. – Why go searching for God in the stars when he is so close to us, within us.


By the power of the words which Christ spoke through him the Sultan, moved to gentleness, willingly listened to his words against the decree of his own wicked law, and insistently invited him to arrange to stay in his land. He ordered that Francis and all his brothers were to be able have access to the Sepulcher freely, without paying tribute. – The Trinity lives within us and transforms Christians into divinized children of God.

[The First Tribulation or Persecution of the Order of Blessed Francis]


Meanwhile, with the shepherd away, the ravenous wolf tries to seize and scatter the flock, and the gate is opened to him by the very brothers who, more than others, were expected to oppose his attack and take precautions against his ambush. Those especially who were in authority and seemed wiser and more intelligent than the rest turned to pleasing their own way of thinking. – We must not fear fear.


They covered tepidity and infidelity under the appearance of discretion; and preached through cunning words and deeds a manner of life different from that given to them, the one their shepherd had received from heaven, supporting their views with passages from the Scriptures and the example of other religious. – We fear things in proportion to our ignorance of them.


They did not understand that by human prudence, which is called death by the Apostle, they were digging the pit of the abyss for themselves, forging the calf of idolatry, and retreating from the height of perfection they had promised. – Let your only fear be the fear of doing an unrighteous or unholy thing.


They judged it foolish, dangerous, and impossible to imitate and follow Christ simply and obediently, although He was the one who had spoken to them and had revealed the pattern of their life in Francis and through Francis. The sons of Israel, after coming out from Egypt and crossing the Red Sea, became unbelieving, and sure of their own self-sufficiency.

They gave no thought to the wonders they had experienced, seen, and heard while God was acting and speaking to them through Moses. In much the same way, these leaders, having left the world, given up their own will, taking on the evangelical life of the Cross, persuaded themselves and others that it was not useful humbly and obediently to follow Christ, who spoke and worked in Francis, the man sent to them by heaven. They therefore judged it necessary and just to drag behind them those who walked in simplicity and fidelity: they considered it praiseworthy – We are taught and learn to be afraid and we can learn to be unafraid.

[During Francis’s Absence]


The presumption and boldness of these men increased after Saint Francis went on pilgrimage overseas to visit the holy places, preach the faith of Christ to the unbelievers, and gain the crown of martyrdom, as has been said. In many provinces they treated cruelly and harshly the brothers who resisted their efforts and opposed their decrees and who followed instead the footprints and teachings of their father with all their hearts. – Fear is never a good counselor and victory over fear is our first spiritual duty.


They not only inflicted unjust penances on them, but expelled them from their company and community as people lacking good sense. A great many brothers, especially the fervent in spirit, considered disobedient, were not received by them; and others, giving way to their fury, were scattered and wandered here and there. – Do not fear God who wishes you no harm.


They deplored the absence of their holy shepherd and guide, and with many tears and constant prayers begged the Lord for his return. God was looking down from on high on their invocations and pleas and was moved by their afflictions. He therefore appeared to Francis after that sermon to the sultan and his princes. – Fear imprisons, faith liberates.


“Francis,” he said, “go back. The flock of your poor brothers which you gathered in my name has been dispersed. It has taken the wrong way and needs your leadership so that, being united and strengthened, it may grow. They have already begun to turn from the way of perfection which you handed on to them and are not remaining in the love and practice of charity, humility and holy poverty, and the innocence of simplicity in which you planted and established them.” – Fear paralyzes, faith empowers.


After this apparition, and after visiting the Lord’s Sepulcher, he hastened back to the land of the Christians. His flock, which he had left united, he found dispersed as the Lord had said. Seeking it out with great effort and tears, he gathered it together. – Fear sickens, faith heals.


When the afflicted brothers heard of his return, they went to him with haste, great desire, and immense joy of heart. Giving thanks to God, they threw themselves at his feet and honored the very footprints of the shepherd they had missed for so long. – Fear puts hopelessness at the heart of life, while faith rejoices in God.


He encouraged the timid, consoled the sorrowing, rebuked the restless, and reprimanded the fault of those who dispersed them; and he brought together in charity those who were scattered and those who scattered them. He inspired and inflamed both groups by his exhortations and admonitions to bear happily all hardships small or great and even death for the sake of Christ and observance of the Rule. – We must fear God through love, not love God through fear.


All were filled with wonder at the words of grace which came from his mouth; and they were amazed on considering the perfection of his life, his outstanding practice of virtue, and the countless signs and wonders God accomplished every day through him. – Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.


Those who put the prudence of their own ideas before his warnings and exhortations could not openly resist or reasonably argue against his words. – To be able to find joy in another’s joy, that is the secret of happiness.

August 2023-Monthly Spiritual Asst Reflection

July 2023-Fr. Francis Sariego, OFM Cap Daily Reflections

July 2023


All-powerful, most holy, Almighty and supreme God,

Holy and just Father, Lord King of heaven and earth

we thank You for Yourself, for through Your holy will

and through Your only Son with the holy Spirit

You have created everything spiritual and corporal

making us in Your own image and likeness,

We thank You.


Excerpts taken from Franciscan Sources the Tribulations


Angelic Prophecies


After the Rule was confirmed and they were returning, meal time had passed, and they were weak and exhausted from the labor of their journey, and far away from the homes of any people. Suddenly a handsome youth joined them on the road, and offered them his bread which he brought with him, and he discussed many things with them about the perfection of the evangelical life of Christ. – Nothing surpasses the greatness or the dignity of the human person


With the power of his words he inflamed them with a great burning of charity, and their minds were overcome with astonishment at the wonder of his words. He immediately disappeared in an amazing way, and left them enkindled with the life-giving love of Christ. They all realized at the same moment that it had been an angel of God who offered them the bread. – Reputation is what men and women think of us. Character is what God and the angels know of us.


Restored both in spirit and in body, they gave great thanks to God for His gift and kindness. In fervor of spirit they knelt together, lifting their feelings and hearts to Him, and they promised and swore not to shrink from the promise of holy poverty under the pressure of any need or tribulation. They had understood by God’s providence and the angelic words that God has greater care for their bodies and souls than a mother has for her child, in fact, even more than He has for heaven and earth; and that it is impossible for God not to provide His servants with what is useful and needed for the body; not to hear the prayers of the poor, and not to fulfill the holy desires which He alone inspires. – A test of one’s character is that person’s respect for those who can be of no possible service to him/her.


For He Himself said: “I will not desert you, nor forsake you,” and “Do not be afraid, little flock, because it has pleased my Father to grant you the kingdom; how much more the necessities of life.” Saint Francis himself used to say that the almighty power of God is made known and shines forth in the faith and endurance of the saints, because we have been saved by faith, and all the works of God are done in faith. –The more faithful you listen to the voice within you, the better you hear what is sounding outside of you.


Without faith it is impossible to please God; as it is written, one who doubts divine providence is like the waves of the sea, moved and tossed about by the wind. For that man should not suppose that he will receive anything from God, because someone like that is devious in spirit and erratic in all his ways. All things are possible to one who believes, and all things, however bitter, are sweet and light to one who loves. – Our wills are ours to make them Yours, O God.


The apostles, martyrs, and the Fathers, naked and withdrawn from the world, serving God in faith and charity lived for Christ and not for themselves. Having before their eyes the examples of Christ like a cloud of witnesses of eternal refreshment, “they went about in the skins of sheep and goats, needy, afflicted, tormented: the world was not worthy of them.” – To deny the freedom of the will and is to make morality impossible.


How many torments all the saints suffered so that they might safely reach the kingdom with the palm of martyrdom! They shared in the sufferings of Christ and were abandoned to temptations, infirmities, wants, and the persecutions of demons and humans; to be tested and proven in the crucible of tribulations, as in fire, and through endurance to be numbered among the saints, reigning with Christ in the kingdom of heaven. – God is omnipotent, but powerless still, to stop my heart from wishing what it will.


We are given great and immeasurable gifts of the spirit and benefits from the Lord at the very time when, for the moment, we are afflicted and tempted, so that, once our endurance has been proven, we may reach Christ with the palm of martyrdom. When we are living just and holy lives and when, because of our observance of obedience, poverty, and chastity, we incur need, sickness, and death, we should rejoice, looking at Him who, for the sake of the joy that lay before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame. – We glorify rugged wills, but the greatest things are done by timid people who work with simple trust.


In the same way they rejoice who win victory over opponents: they find it all the more valuable the longer they sought and longed for it. Every one of the saints puts on the elegance and beauty of incorruptible and eternal glory, placed in the line moving toward the undying good at the moment when each of them completely dies to vices and passions in exchange for imitation and profession of the life of Christ, desiring to be freed from the body, and through tortures and torments to pass over to Him, who endured suffering and death on the cross for us, who were enemies of God and slaves of sin and most deserving of eternal death. – All great virtues bear the imprint of self-denial.


Christ Jesus worked in His servant Francis in the same way as in the early saints, and many rushed toward the fragrance of his life and that of his companions, and were drawn by the power of the Spirit of Christ to love heavenly things and put them into practice. – No one remains what they were when they recognize themself.


Fervent in the spirit of Christ they preached the Gospel in deed and in word. The hearts of those who saw them were transformed, and to confirm their life and preaching Christ daily worked innumerable signs and miracles through Francis. – In this world it is not what we take up, but what we give up that makes us rich.


Caught up in the spirit of God, they condemned the world with its passions; and, according to the counsel of Christ, selling all they had and giving it to the poor, they were joined in heart and habit to the poor of Christ. – Those who deny themselves for Christ shall enjoy themselves in Christ.


The number of brothers quickly multiplied, and were organized under ministers and custodians in the various provinces of the Christian people. But it is certainly no small undertaking to take on the discipleship of the life of Christ and to pursue the things demanded by so great a profession, because to begin something good is for many, but perseverance until the end is for the few and the perfect. – Our divisions prevent our neighbors from hearing the Gospel as they should.


To mortify the senses; to silence the tongue and heart according to the counsel of the Gospel; in a Christ-like way to offer continually both body and soul to God; to intend and accomplish both internal and external works according to the pleasure of God’s will; and to endure in these things until the end is a gift from God, but it is not pursued and preserved without great anguish and—I might say—sweating blood, sharing in pains like those of the cross. – Of what use is it to have many irons in the fire if the fire is going out?


Our weakness is great and we all fall easily into things of sensuality; and the prudence of the flesh, under the cloak of discernment, like the force of a violent wind, drives us strongly toward those things—iron chains and a cell of bronze—consenting to the first and following the second. For there will be no one in the lot of the saints who follows those things. – Church unity is like peace, we are all for it but are not willing to pay the price.


Through this the first man conceived the beginning of ruin and became involved in both the worst evils of self-love and self-satisfaction. Under the appearance of discernment the brothers began to open their eyes and to take their example from other religious ways of life. Some of the more learned ones among them suggested to the simpler ones that this would be safe and useful. – It is not our differences that really matter, but the meanness behind that is ugly.


Without considering their fault of presumption, infidelity, and disobedience, and dragging others after themselves by word and deed, they had a taste for things contrary to Christ, to the founder, and to the Rule they professed. These things reached the ears of their father and he, punishing those who did such things with harsh rebukes, turned to Christ, praying that they be set right. – The best creed we can have is charity towards the creeds of others.


While he was praying an angel of the Lord appeared to him in an amazing form and appearance: the head was gold, arms and chest silver, stomach bronze, legs of iron, feet of earth and clay; the shoulders covered with vile and rough sackcloth. The angel showed Saint Francis that he was rather ashamed of that sackcloth covering. – Joined by mutual love and sealed by oneness of mind we can overcome any obstacle.


He was amazed at seeing this. The angel said to him: “Why do you gawk and gaze? This form, in which I was sent to appear to you, signifies the beginning, development, and end which your religion will have, until the time it goes into labor, the time of the reform of the life of Christ and the state of the Church. – Doubt is the parent of discovery.


”The golden head is you, with all your companions who have carried Christ and His death written in your heart, have loved to cling to His footprints with your whole heart, and have wished for all time to have nothing under heaven on account of His love. But just as the descent of the seed of Abraham was promised not in Ishmael but in Isaac, so the descent of your name will not be in sons of flesh, but in sons of spirit, in deed and in truth. – When unhappy, one doubts everything, when happy, one doubts nothing.


“For they shall abandon the state of the golden life of humility and poverty, having nothing, wishing nothing, and seeking and loving Christ alone. Having put aside prayer and devotion, they will turn to knowledge which inflates, eagerness for lectures and the accumulation of a multitude of books under the pretext of their neighbor’s edification and the salvation of souls. And because they prefer verbs to virtues, and science to sanctity, they will remain cold within and devoid of charity, having changed gold into cold and porous silver. – When in doubt risk it!


“Since they shall speak much but do little, they will start to trample on the solidity of the humble life and the substance of their foundation, namely the truth of poverty; taking on distracting cares and concerns they will change silver into bronze, and they will not be concerned about returning to the earlier good things, namely to the fervor of heavenly desires. – Insecurity welcomes restraints to keep the hands from shaking.


They will put on a simulation of humble and religious manners of great holiness, but inwardly they will be clothed in hypocrisy, panting for praises and honors. They will wish, not to be more outstanding and holier than others, but to be considered and to appear so. – Doubt comes in at the window when inquiry is denied at the door.


Thus they will sink to worse things and, to their own great loss, like bad merchants, will exchange the silver of eloquence and the product of learning for a hypocritical simulation in bronze, producing their works in order to get human praise. – Give me the benefit of your convictions if you have any, but keep your doubts to yourself for I have enough of my own.


“But their simulation and hypocrisy cannot be concealed for long; and when it is laid bare, they will sense that they are losing their worth in the eyes of those who praised them, day to day becoming filthier, and because of this they will start to become angry and indignant and will persecute those they once tried so hard to please, seeking opportunities to afflict those who have stopped revering and complimenting them. In this way they shall change red and ringing bronze into hard and harsh iron. – Love is above all the gift of oneself.


Changed into an iron nature, they will be ready and bold, not just to take revenge but also quick to do evil for insults received, but fragile, petty, and impatient beyond measure when it comes to bearing any insults. – God wants the heart.


”Like the iron mixed with tile you see in my feet, so in the end the brothers will be, like iron, quick and cruel in inflicting evils and, like tile, impatient and fragile in bearing them. And so those brothers who at the beginning were clothed in the purest gold of the charity of Christ, in the last days, when the religion you founded will go into labor, will be considered like clay pots. – One loving heart sets another on fire.


“This sackcloth I am wearing, and of which I show that I am ashamed, is the cheapness and austerity of poverty which the brothers promised the Lord they would wear proudly and joyfully. But they have abandoned their earlier charity: it was this that united them to God, and made them think that holding to the submissiveness of poverty and humility in all things was the first payment of heavenly honor, and the pledge of eternal glory. So they will refuse to bear the labors and shortages of poverty inwardly; and outwardly they will bear it only in appearance and in words, and even then with shame.” – God made us to love Him not to understand Him.


After this the angel left him and, filled with grief, he began to lament anxiously in the presence of the Lord about all that he had seen and heard. Christ appeared to him and said: “Why are you so troubled and sad, Francis? I was the one who called you out of the world, ignorant, weak, and simple, so that in you I might show forth my wisdom and strength. – All virtue is loving right; all sin is loving wrong.


Anything good that you have begun or done in the Church and in the religion will be credited to my name. I am the one who created humanity, assumed it, redeemed, repaired, and reconciled it freely. I direct, protect, and preserve those whom I have chosen and call to penance. And without me no one can will or accomplish the good. I called you from the world when you were in sin. I enlightened you and taught you to take the easy yoke of my way of life upon you and carry it humbly. – Love is the only force that can make things one without destroying them.


I will guard and preserve all that I founded and planted through you. I will raise up whatever falls, and will repair whatever is destroyed, and I will substitute others for those who have fallen. If they are not yet born, I will cause them to be born. And even if your religion should be reduced in numbers to three, it will still remain, by my favor, unshaken until the end of time. – Human beings must be known to be loved, but divine things must be loved to be known.


July 2023-Monthly Spiritual Asst Reflection

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.





Monthly Meditation by Father Francis Sariego, OFM Cap, April 2023

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:

April 2023

Dear Sisters and Brothers in St. Francis,

The Lord give you His peace and lead you through the mystery of His Passion and Death to the joy of His Resurrection and our renewed Life in Jesus!

The ‘Way of the Cross’ cannot end on Calvary; it must go beyond. It goes beyond into the garden that received the dead body of Christ and, on the morning following the Sabbath, saw the mysterious and joyful encounter between Mary Magdalene and the Lord Jesus, risen and alive. The ‘way’ is precisely the direction to follow, the road that leads, the journey that carries to our ultimate goal. The tragic and triumphant ‘way’ of the Paschal Mystery takes us to a new life in, with, and through Jesus.  The ‘way’ is a must for all who call Jesus ‘Lord and Savior’.

Our Seraphic Father not only loved the Crucified Jesus but was privileged to become a living image of the Crucified Savior and Redeemer.  The ‘way’ was imprinted on his mortal flesh as an indication of what lay ahead for him who so lovingly sought to feel as far as possible in my soul and body, that pain which You, sweet Lord, endured in the hour of Your most bitter Passion … that I may feel in my heart as much as possible of that excess of love by which You, O Son of God, were inflamed to suffer so cruel a Passion for us sinners. (Fioretti: 3rd Consideration of the Sacred Stigmata) To accept, and even seek, pain for love’s sake is not masochistic or insane. It is the total surrender a person offers to become one with the beloved.

Our Father St. Francis of Assisi knew well that the Cross was the sign of the sublime humility and love of God for all creation. He was well aware that the stigmata he bore indicated the future glory pledged to all who accept the standard of Christ and follow His Way, Who is the Truth, as He leads to the fullness of Life, through His Resurrection. The ‘Way of the Cross’ finds its total significance, value, and effectiveness in the Resurrection.  If Jesus had not risen, in vain would have been our faith, and we would remain in our sins, says St. Paul to the Christians at Corinth (cfr 1 Corinthians 15).  If Jesus had not risen, His death would have been nothing more than the tragic defeat of just another ‘deluded messiah’. His memory would bear no other fruit than that of the nostalgic remembrance of a good person who helped others, was misunderstood, and was ultimately executed for political and religious subversion. Jesus Himself, the ‘wonder-working rabbi’, would thus be nothing else than a good teacher overcome by history and conquered by evil forces that forever remain superior and invincible to what is good.

In fact, there is no greater ‘subversive’, no greater ‘revolutionary’ than Jesus. His life, words, actions, and the witness of His Passion and Death hit at the very core of the human heart. He aimed at challenging His hearers to change from the very depths of their hearts and to come back to what they were constituted to be when God created human beings at the beginning of time, and Who took the initiative with Abraham promising that he would be the Father of many nations. God’s ‘subversive’ attempts aimed to reach and affect the very foundation, the core (let us remember that “core” means “heart”) of the matter.  All aimed to turn people back to the Father’s Will. This is at the heart of the Gospel Message. True gospel subversive and revolutionary tactics are those that lead us into the depths of our hearts to regain our original ‘childlike innocence’ through God’s mercy. Is that not what is expected of us as Franciscans?!  Penitents recognize what impedes achieving the goal and do all possible with the help of God to correct and redirect life to God.

The Gospel life, if lived personally and preached well by example, is an effective witness and ‘tool’ in changing the face of the earth. What happened?!  Have we forgotten the power of the Gospel and the strength with which our fraternal life gifts us, so that together we may forge forward as sisters and brothers distinct yet one?! Perhaps we have stopped at the tomb, or remain closed in the Upper Room, as the disciples did immediately following the execution of Jesus.  Each was closed in his own fears and doubts.  We comfortably remain closed in and with ourselves, often for fear of being challenged to live what we profess.  Yet, that is where the significance, value, and effectiveness of our professed lives as Franciscans is fulfilled.  When the disciples saw the risen Lord, touched His wounds, and recognized their own brokenness, they became an encouragement and support for one another.

The Way of the Cross cannot stop at the tomb, even if within that tomb there seems to be life. Life hidden behind the stone sealed and guarded speaks nothing to the world.  We must walk the entire road that Jesus traveled. It is the road that knows the pause and silence of that Sabbath after the excruciating sadness of Friday, but that explodes the next day into His glory. The glory of His Resurrection in our lives does not blind by its brilliance but brightens the darkness of difficulty and doubt.  The glory of the Resurrection does not traumatize with fear and foreboding, but liberates the soul from doubt, the heart from anguish, and the mind from uncertainty. The glory of the Resurrection does not condemn the sinner with no place to turn, but rekindles hope and trust in the Father’s mercy and forgiveness.  The glory of the Resurrection does not sentence to death, but makes all who accept the mystery sharers in the Life of God Himself! It enables them to be a life-giving presence for others!


Jesus rose as He had promised, nevertheless His own could not believe. Even the women, who loved Him so dearly, were on their way to the tomb to anoint the body, not to encounter the Lord alive. What response was given Him by His closest friends? None of the first followers expected to see Him alive again, notwithstanding His promises and assurances, and not even when some had seen and Jesus gave them the ‘appointment’ to meet Him in Galilee.

–   Thomas…one of the Twelve…said to (the Apostles), ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe’ (John 21:24-25)… Pessimism and Disbelief

–   The two disciples, speaking with Jesus whom they did not recognize as they journeyed on the road back to Emmaus from Jerusalem, said:  We were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel … Some women from our group … reported that indeed they had seen a vision of angels … but him they did not see (Luke 24: 13-25)… Disillusionment and Discouragement

–   When Mary of Magdala told the disciples she had seen the Risen Lord and that he was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe (Mark 16:11)… Cynicism and Skepticism

–   Even when the disciples followed the command to go to Galilee where they would see Him before He ascended to the Father, When they saw Him, they worshiped, but they doubted (Matthew 28:16-17)… Hesitancy and Doubt

Thomas, Cleophas and his traveling companion, the Apostles after hearing Mary Magdalene, and many of the followers who saw Jesus on the Mount in Galilee at the Ascension, all had difficulties and even understandable doubts concerning the ‘impossibility’ of a person rising from the dead … of his own power!  What a motley crew!  Are we really any different?  The power of the Holy Spirit had to shake the disciples free of fear, doubt, complacency, so they could see and believe. They loved and believed in Jesus, but it took an eternal power and a ‘real presence’ to lead them into the light of a new Life, rooted in a Person Who overcame execution on a cross and was alive, so they could believe Him in all things, even His resurrection! The death of Jesus sealed the Covenant God made with humanity; and humanity, in Christ, consummated the covenant, fulfilled the prophecies, and set free all who accepted the Gospel Message that God so loved the world that He sent His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might have eternal life. God did not send his Son to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him (John 3: 16-17).

The Resurrection was and still is hard for many to accept, among whom are also those who call themselves Christian!  The condemnation and death sentence of Jesus inflicted a mortal wound on the hearts of His followers, as well as on those who still seek to understand and believe today. Their hearts and minds cannot as yet make the ‘quantum leap’ of faith into the certitude of the ways of God. Jesus sought to prepare the disciples for this momentous experience, and they still doubted.

The material world, the ‘here and now’, becomes the only security and ‘certitude’ some know. It is a world so obviously frail and prone to ruin either through natural causes or self destruction. The death of Jesus is a fact for some with seemingly no hope, no way out. These persons admire, revere and love Jesus, but they remain standing before the stone that seals the tomb and cannot go beyond the coldness of death.  Their minds cannot understand, so their hearts refuse to believe, thus their lives wander through life without real direction and hope.  How sad!

Suffering and pain are real!  They cannot be rationalized away.  We experience them often in life. The lives of some are in constant pain and continual suffering, whether spiritual, physical, psychological.  Unless faith takes over and hope is kindled within their hearts, the love of God that conquers all things is the deepest desire of their heart but the furthest sensation they feel.  Serenity and inner peace become just pious words and deep desires.  They may hear words of encouragement, but they are overwhelmed by their own broken body and tired spirit. Even our Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi went through moments like this, but he could pray Blessed are You Lord my God (Canticles of the Creatures).  His feet were well-planted in the realities of life and his own physical and spiritual burdens, but his heart was one with His Lord alive and well. The human condition is common to all the children of God, saint and sinner alike.  How we deal with the circumstances of life, how we allow the Paschal Mystery to affect our life, will determine the ‘way’ we will follow.

The Passion and Death of Jesus speaks to us of the extravagant and limitless love of God for all humanity. The Resurrection of Jesus gives meaning and encouragement to life. The Eucharist is the Real Presence of the Glorified and Risen Lord Who journeys with us at every moment. It re-presents the whole Paschal Mystery and offers us the opportunity to be with the Risen Lord, Whose Sacrifice we enter, celebrate, and with Whom we seek to become one in Holy Communion.  The presence of Jesus transforms lives. His bodily presence on earth centuries ago gave Him the opportunity to raise people from the dead, to heal the sick, to give hope to the downtrodden and outcast, to reassure the marginalized, to care for the various needs of those whom He encountered.  His sacramental presence raises and heals souls dead and/or weak through sin, speaks to the depths of the heart of those who listen for/to Him in the silence of their hearts, and strengthens us with the grace of His Body and Blood to accept the demands of life.

Faith in the living Lord helps us to realize we are not alone. We live and move and have our being with the Giver of all good gifts. He walks and works with and within us. His ‘Presence’ is truly ‘Real’.  His is a ‘tangible presence’ that makes Himself felt according to our willingness to see with the eyes of the heart and not the head alone.  The living presence of the Lord in the Eucharist urges us to see and believe as John and Peter, to touch and acknowledge as Thomas, to go and proclaim that Jesus is Lord as the disciples who had gathered on the Mount of Olives.

Without the ‘Way of the Cross’ we can never arrive at the Resurrection.  Until we open our eyes and our hearts to see the brilliance and power of Jesus and hear and listen to the depth of His words, there is no way for us to enter the marvelous and mysterious reality of Christ Who lives today with us.  Ultimately, if Christ is risen and lives today for me and with me, He is here in my personal life and in that of the whole world, just as He promised. How then can we hesitate to cooperate and collaborate with Christ who calls us to follow Him?  Follow Him to encounter Him in His word, in His Sacrament, and in His sisters and brothers who have seen the Lord on ‘the way’. As we meet Jesus on the way in the Word, the Church and Her sacramental life, in our sisters and brothers, even more intensely in the poor, marginalized, alienated, and also especially our sisters and brothers in our Franciscan Family, may we be able to say with the disciples on the road to Emmaus: Were not our hearts burning within us while He spoke to us on the way? (Luke 24: 32)  Filled with the Easter grace and joy of the One Who was dead and now lives, we can recount to others what has taken place on ‘the way’ we traveled, and deepen our unity and love for all in the breaking of the bread. (cfr. Luke 24: 32-35)

May the light of Christ’s Resurrection shine in us that we might have life, and have it in abundance (John 10:10). May the profession we made to God and one another be a true expression of our fraternal love that has its source in the Resurrection. May the Risen Lord Jesus shower you and your loved ones with peace, joy and abundant blessings for a Happy Easter. Mary, Mother of the Redeemer and our Mother, help you to live with Jesus in the light of the New Life His Resurrection offers us. Our Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi and our holy mother St. Clare of Assisi watch over each one of us, their Spiritual Children, with loving care.

With a promise to keep all of you affectionately in my Easter Masses and Liturgies, I wish you and your dear ones a very Happy and Joyous Easter.

Alleluia!  Christ is Risen!  He is truly risen!  Alleluia!

Peace and Blessings

Fr. Francis A. Sariego, O.F.M. Cap.

Regional Spiritual Assistant



January, 2023, Reflection by 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:  

January 2023

Dear Sisters and Brothers in St. Francis,

The prophet Isaiah, speaking in the name of God, says, My Word will not return without fulfilling the purpose for which It was sent (Isaiah 55: 11).  From the very beginning of time, when the Almighty Creator and Father of all life brought out of nothing all that is and all that ever will be, there has been a yearning in creation for something, or better “Someone”.  This “hope” that groans until now (Romans 8: 22) is our constant companion on life’s journey that urges us to move forward into God’s Providence.  We journey without knowing what the next moment will bring.  We journey, and we trust.  We trust because we believe.  We believe because our hearts have been touched at birth by the Spirit of God Who enables us to see signs of The One greater than all Who encourages us to know Him more deeply as we see Him in and through the many gifts of His Creation. We are the epitome of His creating love. And Jesus is the excellent and flawless example of His magnificent creation.

Jesus is the Word that the Father sent. He is also the One Who returned to the Father having fulfilled the purpose for His becoming one with humanity. We continue that ministry of fulfillment each time we re-present the Mystery and miracle of the Eucharist.  It is the same Holy Spirit of God that overshadowed the Blessed Virgin Mary giving flesh to the almighty-eternal God within her immaculate womb (cfr. Luke 1: 35) that overshadows the bread and wine at the celebration of the Eucharist. The “overshadowing” by the hands of the priest and power of the Holy Spirit and the words of Consecration make Jesus the Christ real for us, not just in His Word, but in His Sacrament. This “Real Presence”, through the power of the Holy Spirit, urges us to enter the mystery more deeply and personally. We are called to acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Savior in Whose Name there is salvation (cfr. Romans 10:9). We courageously and unconditionally accept the mission to be sent, as Jesus did, to be a living message of peace and blessings to all. (cfr. Isaiah 52: 7; Nahum 1: 15)

“In Persona Christi” the priest presiding celebrant of the Eucharist is both Jesus the Master Who celebrates by virtue of his ordination, but also a disciple and apostle – as are all the faithful. He also must listen to what he himself preaches and teaches. He also must live the message he conveys in harmony with God’s Word, Church teaching and Tradition. He is commissioned also to go among the People of God inviting all to receive the Good News in the Name of Jesus. The words in the ordination rite, preach what you believe, believe what you preach, and live what you believe, are a powerful reminder for all of us to be committed to what we profess. The Word must be alive in, with, and through us.

The Eucharist is not just a prayer but an experience of ‘at-one-ment’ with God through Jesus in the Spirit.  It is that Holy Action of the people – liturgy – into which we enter, often oblivious to the awesomeness of the moment and even to the Divine Presence before Whom we confect with the priest the Sacrifice and Sacrament of our Salvation in Jesus.  The Eucharist re-presents for us – subtly, succinctly, and soundly – all of Salvation History.  The Father’s Spirit and Word, present at the beginning of time and down through the millennia, are in the liturgy breathing life for all, but more  effectively for those who are participants, and not merely spectators.

In the Eucharist, celebrant and people acknowledge their personal and collective sinfulness and need for a Savior. Together they hear the words of ancient Israel in the Old Testament passages, the teachings of the Early Church in the New Testament readings, and the words and life of Jesus in the Gospels. All this preparation (Liturgy of the Word) takes time. This is valuable time needed to make us realize as we hear and witness the awesome experience that will draw us in to become active participants in the greatest moment on earth (Liturgy of the Eucharist). In this celebration the Spirit encourages us to consume the Victim – consummatum est (John 19: 30). We become intimately one with the One Who Is. When our union with God through Jesus is totally fulfilled in the worthy reception of the Eucharist we share in the fruits of the “mission accomplished” of the Lord.

Of His own free will and to its fullest extent the divine Word descended to our level. Jesus hid His divine nature in the substance of human flesh. In this way, says St. Paul, the Word of God humbled Himself to the point of emptying Himself: He emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant (Philippians 2:7).  The well known words of our Seraphic Father tell us of his deep reverence and love for the mystery of Jesus’ physical (bodily) Incarnation and His sacramental “incarnation”: O sublime humility; O humble sublimity! As a human being, Jesus was pleased to hide His divine nature fully and take on the likeness of a man in everything, even exposing Himself to hunger, thirst and weariness and, to use the very words of the apostle of the nations: in every respect as we are, yet without sinning (Hebrews 4:1).

The climax of His humiliation was in His Passion and Death. He submitted His human will to the will of His Father, endured great moments and suffered the most infamous death, the death of the cross. (Although we are still celebrating His birth, we cannot separate the Crib from the Cross!) The Eternal Father bestowed on Him the name which is above every name (Philippians2:9). It is by virtue of that Name alone that we may hope to be saved. The most holy Name of Jesus that we venerate and repeat so often is a source of graces. As Jesus reminds us, we ask in His Name and the Father hears and answers. The Name of Jesus is terror to the demons, but salvation to those who invoke His Name with faith, hope, and loving trust. If His Name is so powerful, how much more must His very Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity be that we receive in the Eucharist?!

The Person of Jesus the Christ is present throughout the entire liturgy.  The priest leads, encourages, instructs, feeds, and commissions the People of God. The humility of forgiveness given and accepted, teachings offered and received, nourishment prepared and shared, communion extended and embraced, empowerment instilled and undertaken, are all beautifully expressed in the Eucharist. The Will of Christ is re-presented each time the words of Consecration are pronounced.  Jesus is the Eternal ‘Yes’ Who accepts for all humanity the office of Victim so that we can become victors with Him through the ‘at-one-ment’ that is reserved for all who journey with Him in Word, Sacrament and life.

The Power of the Name repeated and responded to with ‘Amen’ so often throughout the liturgy, gives all who call on the Name of Jesus power to live in His Name. In the Name we recognize His presence every moment. In the Name we become a powerhouse of grace and blessings for those whom we encounter. In the Name we trustingly advance in God’s Providence, His Holy Will, the innumerable graces, and the strength we receive from Jesus the Christ in the Eucharist we celebrate, share, and become.

As Spiritual Children of our Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi we remember the power and promise of the One Whose Name brings peace and Whose words encourage us to trust. We cannot afford to begin a new year regretting the past or worrying about the future. We all look for opportunities to ‘clean the slate’ and ‘re-write’ our decisions to avoid past mistakes.  One thing we can do as we enter the New Year of Grace 2023 is to learn from the past that we might grow in all that is good, in all that is God. We re-evaluate and correct what is less than good by reconciling ourselves with God and one another, especially through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  In God’s Word and in His Name we are assured of the salvation offered all who follow the prompting of His Spirit!

Where the future is concerned, Jesus Himself reminds us that Jesus is Lord and Savior in Whose Name there is salvation. All the worry in the world cannot add or subtract one moment of the life entrusted to each one of us. Thus, for a greater serenity and joy in 2023, it might benefit us to remember the words of a great Capuchin Franciscan saint of the twentieth century, St. Pio of Pietrelcina: Pray, hope, and don’t worry.  All this can so easily be accomplished by remembering that in Jesus the Christ we find the trust and courage to live in the Will of the Father and are empowered in His Name to be an instrument of God’s life-giving Love.  The Eucharist reminds us, renews us within, and repeats for us the wonderful outpouring of His Spirit that will guide us throughout the New Year and for all our life.

Be happy!  God loves you!  Let your face tell others what your words say! Tell the whole world of His Love!  Don’t be afraid to be Christian and a Catholic Christian! Help others see in the Eucharist the treasure that must still be discovered in all its richness by so many. May we all share in the priesthood – ministerial priesthood and that of the laity baptized in His Name – by “celebrating- our ‘extension of the Mass’ in our daily lives. Make the Jesus you receive in Holy Communion be the Jesus others see in you – the Person in your compassion and understanding, the Will in your humility and acceptance of others, and the Power of the Name in your living without compromise the Catholic-Christian values we profess in a society that seeks to challenge ‘Christ’ in us and in the Church.

The Word was so essential to the life of our Seraphic Father. St. Francis desired to be a man of the Gospel, that the Gospel be the guide of his life, and that the Gospel be the marrow of the Rule for those who sought to follow him. In the first Rule St. Francis writes: I want my friars to be ministers of the Gospel. Let us follow the words, life, teaching and the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Rule was the “Gospel Host”. A dream/vision of our Seraphic Father instructed him to gather the crumbs and form a host to share with the friars so that no crumbs would be lost: Francis make a host of all the crumbs and give this to eat to any who wish to eat it.  The dream was also explained when he was told again in a vision/dream: The crumbs of last night are the words of the Gospel and the host is the Rule. May the words of our Rule become our life that we become “hosts” alive in Christ who manifest the presence of the living Jesus to all.

Following the example of our Seraphic Father, let us disarm our hearts to one another. Like the leper that St. Francis embraced, the one we deem unworthy of love (though that is making a judgment that is only God’s right to make and not ours) or whom we fear because unapproachable or perhaps even worse, is the one who needs love the most.  When Jesus nourishes and nurtures us with Himself, we, like our Seraphic Father, are released from what has bound us and can move freely to embrace creation in the liturgy of life.  Every day thus becomes a day of rejoicing and growth.

May God bless you; Our Lady and good St. Joseph guide, guard, and protect you; and our Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi and our holy Mother St. Clare watch over all of us, their Spiritual Children, with loving care.   This is a wonderful year the Lord has granted us.   May the Prince of Peace reign in our hearts and homes! May we be Heralds of the Great King!

As we greet others with the well-known Franciscan greeting “Peace and Blessings”, may we, the messengers, become the message. May the serenity of our belief that God lives within us, be manifest in our external actions and demeanor. Let us never forget that God Who made Himself a “Gift” to us at Bethlehem and in the Eucharist, created us as a gift to Himself and us to be a gift to one another. Let us remember the words of our Father St. Francis: And the Lord gave me brothers (Testament). We are given by the Lord to one another to live with and for one another in the Lord’s Name. May our Franciscan Fraternal vocation be strengthened to embrace all as sisters and brothers in the Name of Jesus.


May the Lord bless you and keep you. 

May the Lord show His face to you and be merciful to you. 

May the Lord look on you with kindness and grant you His peace. 

May the Lord live in you. 

And may you always live in Him. 

Peace and Blessings

Fr. Francis A. Sariego, O.F.M. Cap.

Regional Spiritual Assistant