Daily Thoughts – October 2021 – By Father Francis Sariego, OFM Cap

October 2021 

 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.. 

Amen. 

(Saint Francis of Assisi)

 

The following excerpts continue our daily meditations taken from  

The Legend of the Three Companions 

And other spiritual writers 

 

Chapter V 

HOW THE CRUCIFIX SPOKE TO HIM FOR THE FIRST TIME 

AND HOW HE HENCEFORTH CARRIED THE PASSION OF CHRIST IN HIS HEART UNTIL DEATH 

1

One day, when he was more passionately begging for the Lord’s mercy, the Lord showed him that he would be told in the near future what he must do. From that moment on, he was filled with such great joy, that, failing to restrain himself in the face of happiness, he carelessly mentioned some of his secrets to others. – God is with you, God is within you, dwell for a moment in God’s presence.  

2

He nevertheless spoke cautiously and in riddles, saying that he did not want to go to Apulia, but that he would accomplish great and noble deeds at home. His companions noticed the change in him, indeed he was already estranged from them in his thoughts, even though he sometimes joined their company.- Holiness is where we are.

3

And so they asked him as a joke: “Francis, do you want to get married?” He replied to them in a riddle, as we mentioned above. A few days had passed when, while he was walking by the church of San Damiano, he was told in the Spirit to go inside for a prayer. – If you have the virtue of obedience you have all the other virtues.

4

Once he entered, he began to pray intensely before an image of the Crucified, which spoke to him in a tender and kind voice: “Francis, don’t you see that my house is being destroyed? Go, then, and rebuild it for me.” Stunned and trembling, he said: “I will do so gladly, Lord.” For he understood that it was speaking about that church, which was near collapse because of its age. – From silly devotions and sour-faced saints, may the good Lord deliver us! 

5

He was filled with such joy and became so radiant with light over that message, that he knew in his soul that it was truly Christ crucified who spoke to him. Upon leaving the church, he found a priest sitting nearby and, putting his hands into the pouch, he offered him a handful of coins. “My Lord,” he said, “I beg you, buy some oil and keep the light before the Crucified burning continually. When this money runs out, I will again give you as much as you need.” – Union with God is perfect when our will has become free of all things and clings to God alone.

6

From that hour, therefore, his heart was wounded and it melted when remembering the Lord’s passion. While he lived, he always carried the wounds of the Lord Jesus in his heart. This was brilliantly shown afterwards in the renewal of those wounds that were miraculously impressed on and most clearly revealed in his body. – The best way of praying is the way in which we can pray the most fervently.

7

Once he was walking by himself near the church of Saint Mary of the Portiuncula, weeping and wailing loudly. A spiritual man, overhearing him, thought he was suffering some sickness or pain. Moved by piety for him, he asked why he was crying. “I am crying because of the Passion of my Lord,” he said, “for whom I should not be ashamed to go throughout the world crying in a loud voice.” – Perfection does not consist in having spiritual delights but in possessing virtue.

8

Frequently, even when he got up from prayer, his eyes seemed full of blood because he was crying with such bitterness. But, in memory of the Lord’s passion, not only did he afflict himself in tears, he also did so by abstaining from food and drink.- Devotion is devotedness: lifting our  thoughts to God, loving Him, living with Him.

9

Whenever he would eat with seculars, and they would give him some delicious food, he would eat only a little of it, offering some excuse so that it would not seem he was refusing it because of fasting. When he ate with his brothers, he often sprinkled ashes on the food he was eating, telling a brother, as a cover for his abstinence, that “Brother Ash” was chaste.- No heart can ever be empty when God is in it.

10

Once, when he sat down to eat, a brother remarked that the Blessed Virgin was so poor that when it came time to eat, she had nothing to give to her son. When he heard this, the man of God sighed deeply with great sorrow and, after he left the table, he ate bread off the bare ground. – God will always be in the heart when we pray.

11

Many times, in fact, having sat down at table, he had barely begun to eat when he would stop eating and drinking, absorbed in meditation on heavenly things. Then he did not want to be disturbed by any conversation. – To do good without God’s help is impossible.

12

Sighing loudly from the depths of his heart, he would tell the brothers that, whenever they heard him sighing this way, they should always praise God and pray for him faithfully…after that vision and the message of the image of the Crucified, he was always conformed to the passion of Christ until his death. – God is a generous spender, tossing the coins of His grace everywhere with Divine abandon.

 

Chapter VI 

HOW HE ESCAPED FROM THE PERSECUTION OF HIS FATHER AND RELATIVES, 

LIVING WITH THE PRIEST AT THE CHURCH OF SAN DAMIANO 

WHERE HE THREW THE MONEY ON THE WINDOW 

 

13

Overjoyed by the vision and hearing the words of the Crucified Christ, he got up, fortifying himself with the sign of the cross. And mounting his horse and taking cloth of different colors, he arrived at a city named Foligno and, after selling there the horse and everything he was carrying, he returned immediately to the church of San Damiano. – Grace ignored ultimately means grace withheld.

14

After he found a poor priest there, he kissed his hands with great faith and devotion; he offered him the money he was carrying, and explained his purpose in great detail. – Self-reform is impossible, at least difficult and disheartening, without self-knowledge.

15

The priest, astounded and surprised at his sudden conversion, refused to believe this, and, thinking he was being mocked, refused to keep his money. – To know yourself is a life-long study.

16

But stubbornly persisting, he endeavored to create confidence in his words, and he begged the priest more emphatically to allow him to stay with him. Finally the priest agreed to let him stay but, out of fear of his parents, did not accept the money. – Lord that I may know You. Grant that I may know myself.

17

And so the true scorner of money, throwing it on a windowsill, cared for it as much as he cared for dust. – A saint is a person like us who gets what he wants by working for it…a lifetime.

18

While he was staying there, his father, like a diligent spy, went around seeking to learn what might have happened to his son. And when he heard that he was so changed and was living in that place in such a way, he was touched inwardly with sorrow of heart and deeply disturbed by the sudden turn of events. – We must speak to those in need first with our hands before we speak to them with our lips.

19

Calling together his friends and neighbors, he ran to him. Because he was a new knight of Christ, as he heard the threats of his pursuers and knew beforehand of their coming, he left room for his father’s anger; and, going to a secret cave which he had prepared for this, he hid there for a whole month.- The shortest road to heaven is the way of the cross.

20

That cave was known to only one person in his father’s house. He would eat the food that, from time to time, was secretly brought to him there, praying all the while with flowing tears that the Lord would free him from destructive persecution, and that he could favorably fulfill his fervent wishes.- Holiness is a process of slow and steady growth: trying, failing, trying, failing, undaunted, trying again.

21

Strengthened with Christ’s armor of confidence, and burning with divine fervor, he blatantly exposed himself to the threats and blows of his persecutors, accusing himself of laziness and groundless fear. Those who knew him earlier, seeing him now, reproached him harshly – We cannot become good by wishing for it.

22

Shouting that he was insane and out of his mind, they threw mud from the streets and stones at him. For they saw him so changed from his earlier ways and so weakened by starving his body, that they blamed everything he did on starvation and madness. But…neither broken nor changed by any wrong, the knight of Christ gave thanks to God. – To reach heaven we must plant our feet firmly on ground, and take one step at a time, like a child learning to walk.

23

When rumor of this sort spread through the streets and quarters of the city, it finally reached his father. After he heard that the townspeople had done such things to him, he instantly arose to look for him, not to free him, but rather to destroy him. – The most crippling obstacle to holiness is our expecting too much too soon. – If we are determined to do good tomorrow, why not today?

24

Confining him to home and locking him up in a dark prison for several days, he strove, by words and blows, to turn his spirit to the vanities of this world. But, since he was neither moved by words, nor exhausted by chains or blows, he endured all these things patiently, more fit and eager to carry out his holy plan. – Too late have I loved you, Beauty ever ancient ever new.

25

When his father had to leave home on a pressing need, his mother remained at home alone with him. Since she did not approve of her husband’s action, she spoke to her son in gentle words. When she realized she could not dissuade him from his holy intention, moved by her deep feeling for him, she removed the chains, and let him go free. – Without penance we shall never advance beyond mediocrity.

26

More self-confident because of the injuries he had received, he made his way more freely and with an even greater heart. In the meantime his father returned, and not finding his son, he turned on his wife in abuse, heaping sin upon sin. Then the father hurried to the palace of the commune complaining to the city magistrates about his son and asking them to make him return the money he had taken from the house. – Too many are curious to know the lives of others, but careless to amend their own.

27

The magistrates…sent a messenger to summon Francis to appear before them. He told the messenger that he had been made free by God’s grace and, since he was a servant of almighty God alone, was no longer bound by the magistrates. The magistrates told his father: “Because he is in the service of God, he no longer falls within our power.” Francis] answered the messenger: “I will appear before the lord bishop, because he is the father and lord of souls.”Then he came before the bishop and was received by him with great joy. “Your father,” the bishop said to him, “is infuriated and extremely scandalized. If you wish to serve God, return to him the money you have, because God does not want you to spend money unjustly acquired on the work of the church. [Your father’s] anger will abate when he gets the money back. – Without repentance you cannot reform yourself.

28

My son, have confidence in the Lord and act courageously. Do not be afraid, for He will be your help and will abundantly provide you with whatever is necessary for the work of his church.” …he brought the money to him, he said: “My Lord, I will gladly give back not only the money acquired from his things, but even all my clothes.” – Without self-reform there can be no progress in virtue.

29

He took off all his clothes, and, putting the money on top of them, came out naked before the bishop, his father, and all the bystanders, and said: “Listen to me, all of you, and understand. Until now I have called Pietro di Bernardone my father. But, because I have proposed to serve God, I return to him the money on account of which he was so upset, and also all the clothing which is his, wanting to say from now on: ‘Our Father who are in heaven,’ and not ‘My father, Pietro di Bernardone.’- Without progress in virtue we can never come closer to God.

30

At that moment, the man of God was found to be wearing under his colored clothes a hair shirt next to his skin. Then his father, overcome with unbearable pain and anger, took the money and all the clothing. Those who were present at this spectacle…Moved by piety, they began to weep over him. – Where the human spirit fails, the Holy Spirit fills.

31

The bishop, focusing his attention on the man of God’s frame of mind and enthusiastically admiring his fervor and determination, gathered him into his arms, covering him with his mantle. For he clearly understood his deeds were prompted by divine counsel, and realized that what he had seen contained no small mystery. And so, from that moment, he became his helper, exhorting, encouraging, loving, and embracing him with the depths of his charity. – Live the Gospel without compromise. Live Jesus!

Thoughts for the Day September 2021 by Father Francis Sariego, OFM Cap

September 2021 

 Prayer in honor of the Sacred Stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi

Seraphic Father, St. Francis of Assisi, you were sealed with the image of the Passion of our Savior, so that the hearts of all people might be rekindled with the fire of Divine Love. As you bore the imprint of the wounds of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we ask you to pray for us through those signs of God’s love for you that we too may be signs of the Lord’s living presence and love for all 

             –   Through the wound of your right hand- pray that my hands may always be raised in blessing to others. 

             –   Through the wound of your left hand – pray that I may always reach out for what leads me closer to God and my hands may always be outstretched to assist those in need. 

             –   Through the wound of your right foot – pray that I may fulfill the words of the prophet who blesses the feet of the bearer of peace and good tidings. 

             –   Through the wound of your left foot – pray that at the crossroads of life my steps may always seek out the direction  that leads to the fulfillment of the Father’s plan for me. 

             –   Through the wound of your side – pray that, as you, so also I may approach all people with a disarmed heart, that they may see in me, as so many saw in you, the image of the compassionate Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ. 

              –    Lord, You signed St. Francis of Assisi with the marks of Your Passion 

              – That we might bear our crosses with patience and love. 

              –    May we boast of nothing 

               – But the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ   

Let us pray:    O Lord Jesus Christ, when the world was growing cold, in order that our hearts might be rekindled with the fire of Your Love, You renewed on the body of our Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi, the sacred marks of Your Passion.  Grant, through his intercession, that we may carry our crosses with patience and bear fruits worthy of Eternal Life.  We ask this of you Who live and reign forever and ever. 

–   Amen. 

 Daily Franciscan Excerpts for reflection taken from 

The Legend of the Three Companions 

 Chapter III 

HOW THE LORD VISITED FRANCIS’S HEART FOR THE FIRST TIME 

FILLING IT WITH MARVELOUS TENDERNESS THAT GAVE HIM STRENGTH 

TO BEGIN TO PROGRESS SPIRITUALLY IN LOOKING DOWN ON HIMSELF AND ALL VANITIES, 

IN PRAYER, ALMSGIVING, AND POVERTY 

1

A few days after he returned to Assisi, one evening his friends chose him to be in charge so that, according to his whim, he would pay their expenses. He made arrangements for a sumptuous banquet, as he had done so often in the past. When they left the house bloated, his friends walked ahead of him, singing throughout the city. – Keep imprinted on your soul that God is our Father. 

2

Holding in his hand the scepter of his office as their leader, he fell slightly behind them. He was not singing, but was deeply preoccupied. Suddenly he was visited by the Lord who filled his heart with so much tenderness that he was unable to speak or move.- Assist and take care of your soul and family as God wishes and don’t worry about anything.

3

He could only feel and hear this marvelous tenderness; it left him so estranged from any sensation that, as he himself said later, even if he had been completely cut to pieces, he would not have been able to move.- It is your providence, o Father, that steers the course. (cfr. Bk.Wisdom)

4

When his companions glanced back and saw him so removed from them, they went back surprised at seeing him already changed into another man. They asked him: “What were you thinking about that you did not follow us? Were you perhaps thinking about taking a wife?” He answered in an unequivocal voice: “You are right! I was thinking about taking a wife more noble, wealthier, and more beautiful than you have ever seen.” – If God did not abandon you in the past He will surely not abandon you now and in the future. Be at peace!

5

They laughed at him. For he said this not of his own accord, but because he was inspired by God. In fact, the bride was the true religion that he later embraced, a bride more noble, richer and more beautiful because of her poverty.- Earnestly endeavor to love Jesus. This alone will drive fear from our hearts.

6

From that very hour he began to consider himself of little value and to despise those things which he had previously held in love. Since he was not entirely detached from worldly vanities, this change was not yet perfect. He retired for a short time from the tumult and business of the world and was anxious to keep Jesus Christ in his inmost self, and, after selling all he had, he desired to buy the pearl, concealing it from the eyes of mockers. – Love of Jesus makes the soul fly to Him, not just walk.

7

Often, almost daily, he withdrew secretly to pray. He was inclined to do so by that same tenderness he had tasted earlier, which now visited him ever more frequently, driving him to prayer in the piazza and in other public places. Although he had been for some time a benefactor of the poor, he proposed in his heart, from then on, never to deny alms to any poor person begging from him for God’s sake, but rather to give more willingly and abundantly than usual.- Jesus is always pleased with us when our actions are directed to the glory of God.

8

When away from home, if he could, he always gave money to any poor person requesting alms. If he had no money, he gave him his hat or belt, making sure never to send him away empty-handed. If he lacked even these things, he would go to a deserted place, take off his shirt, and give it to the poor man, begging him to take it for the love of God. He would even purchase furnishings for adorning churches, and would secretly send them to poor priests. – Seek to love God and go forward without heeding the voice of your fears.

9

When his father was away and he was at home alone with his mother, although only two of them took their meals, he filled the table with loaves of bread as if he were preparing for an entire family. When his mother asked why he put so much food on the table, he answered that it would be given as alms for the poor, since he had resolved to give to anyone begging alms for God’s sake. – Know your fears, bring them to God, but do not worry about them.

10

Because his mother loved him more than the other children, she tolerated him in such matters, noticing the things he did and admiring in his heart many more. For he was so accustomed to setting his heart on joining his companions when they called him, and was so captivated by their company, that he would frequently leave the table even if he had eaten only a little. – Fly in spirit to the Tabernacle when you cannot go there with the body, and there express your desires.

11

In this way he would upset his parents by his thoughtless flight. Now, however, his whole heart was intent on seeing the poor, listening to them, and giving them alms.- Ascend Calvary without tiring and firmly believe it will lead you to the Lord.

12

He was so changed by divine grace that, although he was still in secular attire, he yearned to be in another city where, as someone unknown, he would take off his own clothes and, in exchange, put on the rags of a poor man. And he would try begging alms for the love of God. – Draw away step by step from earthly affections and aspire to the happiness prepared for us.

13

At this time he happened to go to Rome on pilgrimage. As he was entering the church of Saint Peter, he noticed the meager offerings made by some, and said to himself: “Since the Prince of the Apostles should be greatly honored, why do they make such meager offerings in the church where his body rests?” – Banish all uneasiness and worry, they are contrary to the working of the Holy Spirit.

14

With great enthusiasm, he took a handful of coins from his money pouch, and threw them through a grating of the altar, making such a loud noise that all the bystanders were astonished at his generosity. As he was leaving and passed the doors of the church, where there were many poor people begging alms, he secretly exchanged clothes with one of those poor people and put them on. – Take courage at the consoling thought of God’s love and mercy.

15

Standing on the steps of the church with the other poor, he begged for alms in French, because he would speak French spontaneously, although he did not do so correctly After taking off the beggar’s clothes and putting on his own, he returned to Assisi, and began to pray that the Lord would direct his way.- Be absolutely determined to love and serve the divine goodness Who is God.

16

He did not share his secret with anyone; nor did he seek counsel from anyone, except from God alone, and, periodically, from the bishop of Assisi. For at that time no one possessed the real poverty that he desired more than anything else in this world, in which he yearned to live and die.- Bear patiently the defects of those around you. 

 

Chapter IV 

HOW HE BEGAN TO OVERCOME HIMSELF BY HIS DEALING WITH LEPERS, 

AND TO CONSIDER SWEET WHAT WAS PREVIOUSLY BITTER 

 

17

One day, while he was praying enthusiastically to the Lord, he received this response: “Francis, everything you loved carnally and desired to have, you must despise and hate, if you wish to know my will. – Love is the queen of virtues which includes all others. 

18

Because once you begin doing this, what before seemed delightful and sweet will be unbearable and bitter; and what before made you shudder will offer you great sweetness and enormous delight.” He was overjoyed at this and was comforted by the Lord.- Let us love and practice charity as this is our divine Master’s precept.

19

One day he was riding his horse near Assisi, when he met a leper. And, even though he usually shuddered at lepers, he made himself dismount, and gave him a coin, kissing his hand as he did so. After he accepted a kiss of peace from him, Francis remounted and continued on his way.- We shall be distinguished from the unbelievers by our loving and charitable behavior.  

20

He then began to consider himself less and less, until, by God’s grace, he came to complete victory over himself. After a few days, he moved to a hospice of lepers, taking with him a large sum of money. Calling them all together, as he kissed the hand of each, he gave them alms. – How good the Lord is to everyone.

21

When he left there, what before had been bitter, that is, to see and touch lepers, was turned into sweetness. For, as he said, the sight of lepers was so bitter to him, that he refused not only to look at them, but even to approach their dwellings. If he happened to come near their houses or to see them, even though he was moved by piety to give them alms through an intermediary, he always turned away his face and held his nose. – Learn and more gently recognize and adore the divine will in all the events of life.

22

With the help of God’s grace, he became such a servant and friend of the lepers, that, as he testified in his Testament, he stayed among them and served them with humility.- Often repeat the words of the Divine Master: Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

23

Changed into good after his visit to the lepers, he would take a companion, whom he loved very much, to secluded places, telling him that he had found a great and precious treasure. – Acceptance of God’s will is our anchor and salvation.

24

The man was not a little overjoyed, and gladly went with him whenever he was summoned. Francis often led him to a cave near Assisi, and, while he went alone inside, he left his companion outside, eager for the treasure. – Lively faith, blind belief, and complete adherence to God’s will over you is the light that guides our way.

25

Inspired by a new and extraordinary spirit, he would pray to his Father in secret, wanting no one to know what was happening within except God alone, whom he consulted about acquiring heavenly treasure.- Try always to guard these two virtues: Love and Humility.

26

The enemy of the human race, observing him, strove to lure him from the good he had begun by striking fear and dread in him. – Open wide your heart to trust in God, Who opened His Heart for you.

27

There was in Assisi a deformed, hunchbacked woman, whom the devil, appearing to the man of God, recalled to him. He threatened to inflict him with her deformity unless he reneged on the plan he had conceived. – Impress on your mind, engrave deeply in your heart, and be convinced that none is great except God.

28

But the very brave knight of Christ, shunning the devil’s threats, prayed all the more fervently within the cave that God would direct his path. He endured great suffering and mental anxiety, unable to rest until he accomplished in action what he had conceived in mind. – Live calmly and do not worry excessively, for the Holy Spirit, to work effectively in us, needs tranquility and calm. 

29

Different thoughts followed one after the other, and their relentlessness disturbed him even more severely. For he was burning inwardly with a divine fire, unable to conceal outwardly the flame kindled in his soul. He repented that he had sinned so grievously.- Leave the door of your heart open so that the Lord may work within you.

30

While his past and present transgressions no longer delighted him, he was not yet fully confident of refraining from future ones. This is why, when he emerged from the cave, he seemed to his companion to have changed into a different man. – Throw yourself confidently into the arms of the heavenly Father with childlike trust and open wide your heart to the charism of the Holy Spirit.

 

 

Thoughts for the Day August 2021 – Father Francis Sariego, OFM Cap

August 2021  

O loving one bear in mind your poor children for whom, without you, 

their one and only consolation, there is little comfort… 

they still .. tearfully cry out to you: O father, 

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

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

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

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

Amen. 

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

 

Following are excerpts taken from The Legend of Three Companions 

  Daily quotes from various sources 

LETTER 

To the Reverend Father in Christ, Brother Crescentius, by the grace of God General Minister, Brother Leo, Brother Rufino, and Brother Angelo, one-time companions, although unworthy, of the blessed father Francis, express their dutiful and devout reverence in the Lord. – The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. 

By command of the last general chapter, and of yourself, the brothers are bound to forward to Your Paternity such signs and wonders of our blessed father Francis which they know or can ascertain. We who, though unworthy, lived for a long time in his company, thought it opportune to recount truthfully to Your Holiness a few of his many deeds. – Time is limited, so do not waste it. 

We ourselves have seen or heard about them from other holy brothers, in particular from Brother Philip, the Visitator of the Poor Ladies, Brother Illuminato of Arce, Brother Masseo of Marignano, and a companion of the venerable father, Brother Giles, Brother John, who gathered these things from that holy Brother Giles, and from Brother Bernard of blessed memory, the first companion of blessed Francis. – If life were predictable, it would not be life, and it would be without flavor

We do not intend merely to relate miracles, which demonstrate, but do not cause sanctity. Our intention is to point out some striking aspects of his holy manner of life and the intention of his pious desires, for the praise and glory of almighty God and of the holy father Francis, and for the edification of those who desire to follow in his footsteps. – Spread love everywhere you go

We do not intend to write a legend, since other legends about his life and the miracles that the Lord worked through him have been written some time ago; rather, we have picked, as it were, from a field of flowers those we have judged the more beautiful. We are not following a chronological order, and are omitting many things which have already been related eloquently and accurately in other legends already mentioned you deem it expedient, you may insert these few things we have written into the other legends. – When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on

For we believe that if these things had been known to the venerable men who wrote those legends, they would in no way have passed them by; rather they would have embellished them with their own polished style as best they could, and thus transmitted them to posterity. May your Paternity always be well in the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom we commend ourselves to your holiness as your devoted sons. Given at Greccio, August 11, in the year of Our Lord 1246. – You are absolutely unique, just like everyone else.  

 

Chapter I 

HIS BIRTH, VANITY, FRIVOLITY AND PRODIGALITY, 

HOW HE BECAME GENEROUS AND CHARITABLE TO THE POOR 

Francis was raised in the city of Assisi, which is located in the boundaries of the valley of Spoleto. His mother at first called him John; but when his father, who had been away when he was born, returned from France, he later named him Francis. When he grew up, endowed with clever natural abilities, he pursued his father’s profession, that of a merchant. He was, however, vastly different from his father. – Judge each day by the seeds you plant, not by the harvest you reap

He was more good-natured and generous, given over to revelry and song with his friends, roaming day and night throughout the city of Assisi. He was most lavish in spending, so much so that all he could possess and earn was squandered on feasting and other pursuits. – The future belongs to those who believe in beauty of their dreams

Because of this his parents often reprimanded him, telling him that he spent so much money on himself and others that he seemed to be the son of some great prince rather than their son. But since his parents were wealthy and loved him very much, they tolerated all these things to avoid upsetting him.- Tell me I forget. Teach I remember, Involve me and I learn. 

10 

When neighbors commented on his extravagance, his mother replied: “What do you think of my son? He will still be a son of God through grace.” He was lavish, indeed prodigal, not only in these things, but also in spending more money on expensive clothes than his social position warranted. He was so vain in seeking to stand out that sometimes he had the most expensive material sewed together with the cheapest cloth onto the same garment.- The best and most beautiful things in the world must be felt with the heart. 

11 

He was naturally courteous in manner and speech and, following his heart’s intent, never uttered a rude or offensive word to anyone. Moreover, since he was such a light-hearted and undisciplined youth, he proposed to answer back those speaking to him rarely in a brusque manner. – It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light

12 

His reputation, because of this, became so widespread throughout almost the entire region, that many who knew him said that, in the future, he would be something great. From these stepping stones of natural strengths, he was brought to that grace that prompted him to look within himself: “You are generous and courteous to those from whom you receive nothing except passing and worthless approval. – Whoever is happy will make others happy also

13 

Is it not right that, on account of God who repays most generously, you should be courteous and generous to the poor?” From that day he looked on poor people generously and provided them affluently with alms. Although a merchant, he was a very flamboyant squanderer of wealth. – Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail

14 

One day when he was in the shop where he was selling cloth, totally absorbed in business of this sort, a poor man came in, begging alms for the love of God. Preoccupied with thoughts of wealth and the care of business, he did not give him alms. Touched by divine grace, he accused himself of great rudeness, saying: “If that poor man had asked something from you for a great count or baron, you would certainly have granted him his request. How much more should you have done this for the King of kings and the Lord of all!” Because of this incident, he resolved in his heart, from then on, not to deny a request to anyone asking in the name of so great a Lord.- Spread love everywhere you go

 

Chapter II 

HOW HE WAS IMPRISONED IN PERUGIA 

AND THE TWO VISIONS HE HAD WHILE HE WANTED TO BECOME A KNIGHT 

 

15 

 At that time, war broke out between Perugia and Assisi. Together with many of his fellow citizens, Francis was captured and confined in Perugia, yet, because of his noble manners, he was imprisoned with the knights. – It is not the years in your life that count, but the life in your years

16 

One time when his fellow prisoners were depressed, he, who was naturally cheerful and jovial, not only was not dejected but actually seemed to be happy. One of the prisoners rebuked him as insane for being cheerful in prison. Francis replied vigorously: “What do you think will become of me? Rest assured, I will be worshiped throughout the whole world.”- Never let fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.  

17 

One of the knights who was imprisoned with him had injured a fellow prisoner, causing all the others to ostracize him. Francis alone not only acted in a friendly way toward him, but also urged the other prisoners to do the same. After a year, when peace was restored between those cities, Francis and his fellow prisoners returned to Assisi.- Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.  

18 

A few years later, a nobleman from the city of Assisi was preparing himself with knightly arms to go to Apulia in order to increase his wealth and fame. When Francis learned of this, he yearned to go with him to that same place, and to be knighted by that count, Gentile by name.- Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up

19 

He prepared clothing as expensive as possible, since even though he was poorer in riches than his fellow citizen, he was far more extravagant. – The only impossible journey is the one you never begin

20 

He was completely preoccupied in carrying this out, and was burning with desire to set out, when, one night, the Lord visited him in a dream. Knowing his desire for honors, He enticed and lifted him to the pinnacle of glory by a vision.- In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.  

21 

That night while he was sleeping, someone appeared to him, a man calling him by name. He led him into a beautiful bride’s elegant palace filled with knightly arms and on its walls hung glittering shields and other armor of knightly splendor. Overjoyed, he wondered what all this meant and asked to whom these brightly shining arms and this beautiful palace belonged. He was told that all these, including the palace, belonged to him and his knights.- You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.  

22 

Awakening in the morning, he got up with great joy. Since he had not yet fully tasted the spirit of God, he thought in a worldly way that he must be singled out magnificently, and he considered the vision a portent of future good fortune.- The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.  

23 

He resolved then to undertake the journey to Apulia to be knighted by the count. He was even more cheerful than usual, prompting many people to wonder. When they asked him the reason why he was beaming with joy, he answered: “I know that I will become a great prince.” – The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure

24 

The day before the vision occurred, the promise of great chivalry and nobility was so strong in him, that it may be believed that the vision itself may have provided the motive. – If we are growing, we are always going be out of our comfort zone. 

25 

On that day, in fact, he donated all the refined and expensive clothes he had recently acquired to a poor knight. When he set out for Apulia, he got as far as Spoleto, where he began to feel a little ill.- A leader is one who knows the way, shows the way, and goes the way.  

26 

No less anxious about the trip, as he was falling to sleep, half awake, he heard someone asking him where he wanted to go. When Francis revealed to him his entire plan, the other said: “Who can do more good for you? The lord or the servant?” – The key to change is to let go of fear

27 

When [Francis] answered him: “The lord,” he again said to him: “Then why are you abandoning the lord for the servant, the patron for the client?” – If you wait to do everything until you’re sure it’s right, you’ll probably never do much of anything.  

28 

And Francis said: “Lord, what do you want me to do?” “Go back to your land,” he said, “and what you are to do will be told to you. – Courage is the power to let go of the familiar

29 

You must understand in another way the vision which you saw.” When he woke up, he began to think very carefully about this vision. Just as the first vision had caused him to be almost completely carried away with great joy in a desire for worldly prosperity, the second made him completely introspective, causing him to marvel at and consider its strength, so that he was unable to sleep any more that night. – Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm

30 

Therefore when it was morning, buoyant and happy, he quickly returned to Assisi, expecting that the Lord, who had revealed these things to him, would show him His will and give him counsel about salvation.- Every accomplishment starts with a decision to try

31 

Changed in mind, he now refused to go to Apulia and desired to conform completely to the divine will. – Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be

 

 

July 2021 Thoughts for the Day by Father Francis Sariego, OFM Cap

July 2021

O loving one, bear in mind your poor children for whom, without you, 

their one and only consolation, there is little comfort. They still tearfully cry out to you: 

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

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

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

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

Amen. 

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

Following are excerpts taken from The Anonymous of Perugia

The Anonymous of Perugia 

Chapter VIII 

HOW HE ORDERED THAT A CHAPTER BE HELD 

AND THE MATTERS TO BE TREATED AT THE CHAPTER 

 

On Pentecost all the brothers used to gather for a chapter near the church of Saint Mary of the Portiuncula. At the chapter they would discuss how they could better observe the Rule. They appointed brothers who would preach to the people throughout each of the provinces, and assigned brothers in their province. – Half the confusion in the world comes from not knowing how little we need

Saint Francis used to give the brothers admonitions, corrections and precepts, as it seemed best to him, after consulting the Lord. – God in heaven let me feel my nothingness to feel the greatness of your goodness. 

Everything, however, that he said in word, he would first, with eagerness and affection, show them in deed. – Why we do we say “Our Father” on Sunday and go around the rest of the week as orphans? 

He used to revere prelates and priests of the holy Church. He would respect the elderly, and honored the noble and the wealthy. He loved the poor intimately and showed compassion to them. In a word, he showed himself to be subject to all. – Look for the best in others and you will find the best in yourself. 

Although he was more exalted than all other brothers, he still appointed one of the brothers staying with him as his guardian and master. He humbly and devoutly obeyed him, in order to avoid any occasion of pride. – Little things and little moments are not really little. 

Among people this saint lowered his head even to the ground, and for this the Lord lifted him on high among the saints and elect in heaven. He zealously used to admonish them to observe the holy Gospel and the Rule conscientiously as they had promised; and especially to be reverent toward ecclesiastical offices and regulations; to be attentive and devoted when hearing Mass, and when they saw the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ. – When things seem at their worst, Christians must be at their best. 

They were to have reverence toward priests who handle these tremendous and greatest sacraments and, whenever they encountered them, they were to bow their heads to them and kiss their hands. – To transform the world we must first transform ourselves. 

He also admonished them not to judge or look down upon anyone, not even those who drink and eat and dress extravagantly, as stated in the Rule. “Their Lord is also our Lord. He who called us can call them, and He who willed to justify us can also justify them.” He would say: “And I wish to honor them as my brothers and masters. They are my brothers, because we are all from the one Creator; they are my masters because they help us to do penance, providing us with necessities of life.” – There is a hole in every heart that only God can fill. 

He also told them: “Let your way of life among the people be such that whoever sees or hears you will glorify and praise our heavenly Father.” His great desire was that he and his brothers would perform deeds through which the Lord would be praised. – We must fight what is wrong but do it in good humor. 

10 

He used to tell them: “As you announce peace with your mouth, make sure that you have greater peace in your hearts, thus no one will be provoked to anger or scandal because of you. Let everyone be drawn to peace and kindness through your peace and gentleness. – It is never the wrong time to do the right thing

11 

For we have been called to this: to cure the wounded, to bind up the broken, and to recall the erring. Many who seem to us members of the devil will yet be disciples of Christ.” – We must spend more time living our religion (charism) than arguing about it. 

12 

On the other hand, he used to reprove them for the great austerity which they brought upon their bodies, for the brothers were then exerting too much effort in fasts, vigils, and bodily mortification … When he heard and saw this, blessed Francis reprimanded them, as we said, and ordered them not to act excessively. – Carry your cross patiently and in the end it will carry you

13 

He was so filled with the Savior’s grace and wisdom, that he would make his admonition with kindness, his reprimand with reason, and his command with gentleness. Among the brothers assembled at chapter, not one of them dared to discuss worldly matters with anyone. Instead, they spoke about the lives of the holy fathers, or about the holiness of one of the brothers, or how they could better attain the grace of our Lord. – Kindness is loving people more than (we think) they deserve. 

14 

If any of the brothers gathered at chapter experienced temptations of the flesh or the world, or some other kind of trial, the temptations would go away either on hearing blessed Francis who would speak fervently and sweetly, or on seeing his presence. For he spoke to them compassionately, not as a judge, but as a father to his children and a doctor to his patient, so that, the words of the Apostle were fulfilled in him: Who is weak that I am not affected by it? Who is scandalized that I am not aflame with indignation? – Life can be understood backward but it must be lived forward

 

Chapter IX 

HOW THE BROTHERS WERE SENT THROUGHOUT 

ALL THE PROVINCES OF THE WORLD 

15 

Once a chapter had ended, he would bless all the brothers at chapter and designated each of them throughout the provinces, as he wished. Whoever of them had the spirit of God and the eloquence for preaching—cleric or lay—to him he would give permission and an obedience to preach. They received his blessing with great happiness and joy in the Lord Jesus Christ. – Repentance is altering one’s way of looking at life

16 

They went through the world as strangers and pilgrims, taking nothing for the journey, except the books in which they could say their Hours. Whenever they met a priest, whether rich or poor, they bowed to him, as blessed Francis had taught them, and paid their respect. When it was time to seek lodging, they preferred to stay with them, rather than with secular persons. – Repentance is taking God’s point of view and not my own

17 

When they could not find lodging with priests, they would inquire who in that locality was a good and God-fearing person with whom they could be more suitably welcomed. After a while, the Lord inspired one such God-fearing person in each of the cities and towns they were prepared to visit to prepare a lodging for them, until, after a while, they built their own dwellings in the cities and towns. – To be controlled by the Spirit results in life and peace

18 

The Lord gave the brothers the words and spirit suited to the time, to speak with incisive words, penetrating the hearts of many, but especially the young more than the elderly. Those who abandoned mother and father, and all their possessions, put on the habit of the holy religion. – Lighthouses blow no horns; they only shine

19 

At that time and particularly in that religion, the word of the Lord in the Gospel was fulfilled: Do not suppose that my mission on earth is to spread peace. My mission is to spread not peace, but division. I have come to set a man at odds with his father and a daughter with her mother. – It takes years for an overnight success. 

20 

Those whom the brothers accepted, they brought to the blessed Francis to invest them. In the same way, many women, virgins and those without husbands, hearing their preaching, would come to them with contrite hearts, saying: “And we, what are we to do? We cannot stay with you. So tell us what we can do to save our souls.” In response, they established, in every city they could, reclusive monasteries for doing penance. – We see things not as they are but as we are

21 

They also appointed one of the brothers their visitator and corrector.  Similarly, married men said: “We have wives who will not permit us to send them away. Teach us, therefore, the way that we can take more securely.” The brothers founded an order for them, called the Order of Penitents, and had it approved by the Supreme Pontiff. – In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart

 

Chapter X 

WHEN THE CARDINALS BECAME KINDLY DISPOSED TOWARD THE BROTHERS 

AND BEGAN TO COUNSEL AND OFFER THEM ASSISTANCE 

22 

The venerable father, the Lord Cardinal, John of Saint Paul, who frequently offered counsel and protection to blessed Francis, would praise the merits and deeds of blessed Francis and all of his brothers to all the other cardinals. – Aspire to do the will of God: nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. 

23 

When they heard him, their hearts were moved to loving the brothers and each of them desired to have some brothers in his Curia, not for receiving service from them, but because of the devotion and love that they had toward the brothers. – People wait to see what we do about our religion (Franciscan charism) than what we say about it

24 

One day when blessed Francis came to the Curia, particular cardinals asked him for some brothers; and he graciously acceded to their request. – When good people do nothing, evil triumphs

25 

After this, the Lord inspired one of the cardinals, Hugolino, the bishop of Ostia, who loved blessed Francis and his brothers very much, not merely as a friend, but even more as a father. When blessed Francis heard of his reputation, he approached him. – Good leaders know, show and go the way

26 

When the cardinal saw him, he received him with joy and said: “I offer myself to you for counsel, assistance, and protection as you wish, and I want you to have me remembered in your prayers.” – True spiritual vision is the ability to see the invisible. 

27 

Blessed Francis gave thanks to the Most High for inspiring that man’s heart to offer advice, assistance, and protection, and told him: “I gladly want to have you as the father and lord of me and of all my brothers. And I want all my brothers to be bound to pray to the Lord for you.” – Build your lives on Jesus. 

28 

Then he invited him to come to the chapter of the brothers at Pentecost. He agreed and came each year. Whenever he came, all the brothers gathered at the chapter would go in procession to meet him. As they were coming, he would dismount from his horse and go on foot with the brothers to the church because of the devotion he had for them. – If you cannot find happiness on the way, do not think that you will find happiness at the end of the road. 

29 

Afterward he would preach to them and celebrate Mass during which blessed Francis would chant the Gospel. – One stands best who kneels the most.   

Chapter XI 

HOW THE CHURCH PROTECTED THE BROTHERS FROM PERSECUTORS 

30 

After eleven years had passed since the founding of the religion and the number of brothers had increased… They had endured many trials from clerics and laity and had been stripped by thieves, they returned to blessed Francis very embittered and depressed.   The brothers informed the Lord Cardinal of Ostia about these situations. Once he called blessed Francis to himself, he took him to the Lord Pope Honorius. After this happened and the brothers lived and preached there, many people, seeing their humble way of life, upright conduct, and their very pleasant words, came to the brothers and put on the habit of holy religion. – When we do what we can, God will do what we can’t

31 

Blessed Francis petitioned the Lord Pope for one of the cardinals who would be the governor, protector, and corrector of this religion, as stated in the Rule. And he granted him the Lord of Ostia…Seeing the trust and love that the Lord of Ostia had for the brothers, blessed Francis loved him from the depths of his heart, and when he would write to him, he would say: “To the venerable father in Christ, Bishop of the entire world.” After a short time had passed, the Lord of Ostia was elected to the Apostolic See, according to the prophecy of blessed Francis, and is called Pope Gregory the Ninth. – Only when we learn to see the invisible will we learn to do the impossible

 

Thought for the Day – June 2021 – Father Francis Sariego, OFM Cap

June 2021  

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… 

Daily excerpts from the Anonymous of Perugia 

Thought after each Franciscan excerpt from various spiritual writers 

Chapter VI 

THE BROTHERS’ MANNER OF LIVING 

AND THE LOVE THEY HAD FOR ONE ANOTHER 

1

Each time they saw one another, the brothers were filled with such delight and spiritual joy that they forgot all the adversity and the extreme poverty they had suffered. – Sometimes we desire to be good angels and forget to be good people.

2

One day, two brothers were walking along a road when suddenly a simpleton began throwing stones at them. One of them, seeing that a stone was about to strike his brother, ran directly in front of him. Because of ardent mutual love, he preferred that the stone strike him rather than his brother. They frequently did these and similar things. – Our imperfections will accompany us to the end.

3

They were rooted and founded in love and humility, and one would respect the other as if he were his master. Whoever among them excelled because of a position or gifts of grace, seemed even more humble and self-effacing than the others. – Be content with walking with your feet on the ground living the reality of each day with trust.

4

They all dedicated themselves wholeheartedly to obedience. Whatever they were ordered, they considered to be to the Lord’s will. Thus it was pleasant and easy for them to fulfill everything. –  The next life will be all that we could ever desire or imagine and more…it is GOD!

5

If one unwittingly uttered a word that could possibly give offense to another, his conscience reproached him so much that he could find no peace until he confessed his fault. – The most beautiful act of faith is when one must make an effort to do so. 

6

And so they strove to combat each vice with a corresponding virtue. Whatever they had, a book or a tunic, was used in common and no one called anything his own, just as it was done in the primitive church of the Apostles. – Rest assured and be happy that God is pleased to find a peaceful dwelling in you.

7

When they went along and came upon poor people begging from them, some of the brothers would give them some of their clothing, since they had nothing else to give. One of them even tore the capuche from his tunic and gave it to a poor beggar; while another tore off a sleeve and gave it away; and still others gave away a part of their tunic to observe that Gospel passage: Give to all who ask of you. – Temptations, discomfort, and restlessness are the merchandise offered by the enemy, so reject them.

8

One day a poor man came to the church of Saint Mary of the Portiuncula where the brothers were staying and asked for alms. There was a cloak there that one of them had while he was still in the world. Blessed Francis told the brother, whose cloak it was, to give it to the poor man. He freely and quickly gave it to him. – When the devil makes noise around you, he is still not within. Be at peace.

9

And immediately, because of the reverence and dedication that the brother had in donating the gift, it seemed to him that the alms rose up to heaven and he felt himself filled with a new spirit. – No matter how great the trial, do not lose heart.

10

When the rich of this world went out of their way to visit them, they received them quickly and kindly, and would invite them to call them back from evil, and prompt them to do penance. At that time, the brothers would eagerly beg not to be sent to where they had been raised so that, in this way, they would avoid association and dealings with their relatives and observe the words of the Prophet: I have become an outcast to my brothers, a stranger to my mother’s sons. – Lift up your voice loudly to Jesus.

11

They rejoiced most in their poverty, for they desired no riches except those of eternity. They never possessed gold or silver, and, although they despised all wealth of this world, it was money especially that they trampled underfoot. – God’s power triumphs over everything.

12

One day while the brothers were staying at Saint Mary of the Portiuncula, some people came for a visit. They entered the church and placed some money on the altar without their knowledge. Then, one of the brothers, entering the church, took the coins he had found, and put them on the church’s windowsill. Another brother, when he found the money where the other one left it, took it to Saint Francis. – Humble and suffering prayer prevails over God Himself. 

13

When blessed Francis heard this, he diligently asked which one of the brothers had placed the money there. When he found out who it was, he ordered him to come to him. “Why did you do this?” he said. “Didn’t you know that I want the brothers not only to avoid using money, but also not even to touch it?” When the brother heard this, he bowed his head, confessed his fault on his knees, and asked that a penance be given him. – Live humbly.

14

Then Francis admonished the brothers that whenever they found money, they should scorn it and consider it worthless. They were constantly rejoicing, for they had nothing that could disturb them. The more they were separated from the world, the more were they united to God. – Do not be upset over your infirmities or weaknesses but humbly and frankly bring them to God.

15

These men entered upon a narrow and rough trail. They broke up the rocks, trampled upon the thorns, and so have left us, their followers, a smooth path. – God sustains us when we fall and cares for those who trust in Him.

 

Chapter VII 

HOW THEY TRAVELED TO ROME AND 

HOW THE LORD POPE GRANTED THEM A RULE 

AND THE OFFICE OF PREACHING 

 

16

As he realized that the Savior’s grace was increasing his brothers in number and merit, blessed Francis told them: “Brothers, I see that the Lord intends to make of us a large congregation. Therefore, let us go to our mother, the Roman Church, and inform the Supreme Pontiff about what the Lord is doing through us so we may continue doing what we have begun by his will and command.” – Thank God for treating you as a soul chosen to follow Jesus.

17

He took the twelve with him, and they went to Rome. While they were on the way, he told them: “Let us make one of us the leader and consider him the vicar of Jesus Christ for us. Wherever he wants to go, we will go; when he wants to rest, we will rest.” They chose Brother Bernard, who was the first to be received by the blessed Francis, and they did as he said. – Be patient with yourself.

18

They made their way rejoicing and spoke about the words of the Lord. No one dared to say anything unless it pertained to the Lord’s praise and glory or to the benefit of their souls, and they spent time in the Lord. – Live tranquilly and follow the path on which the Lord has placed you, and in a holy manner.

19

When they arrived in Rome, they met the bishop of the city of Assisi who was then staying in the City. When he saw them, he welcomed them with immense joy. Now, the bishop was acquainted with one of the cardinals, the Lord John of St. Paul, a good and religious man, who loved servants of the Lord very much. – Remember that the mind can be quite well elevated to God while the body takes care of material matters.

20

The bishop of Assisi familiarized him with the proposal and life of blessed Francis and his brothers. After he heard these things, he had a strong desire to meet blessed Francis and some of the brothers. When he heard that they were in the City, he sent for them and had them come to him. Seeing them, he welcomed them with eagerness and love. – Do what you can and are supposed to do and Jesus, who sees the heart, will be pleased with you.

21

Even though they stayed with him for only a few days, he came to love them from the depths of his heart, because he saw shining forth in their actions all he had heard about them. He told blessed Francis: “I commend myself to your prayers and, from now on, I want you to consider me as one of your brothers. Therefore, tell me, why did you come?” – The Holy Spirit does not work in all souls in the same way. He blows as and where He wills.

22

Then blessed Francis made known to him his whole proposal: how he wanted to speak to the Apostolic Lord and, with his approval and mandate, to continue what he was doing. To which the cardinal responded: “I want to be your procurator at the Curia of the Lord Pope.” Thus it was that he went to the Curia and told the Lord Pope Innocent the Third: “I found a most perfect man who wishes to live according to the form of the holy Gospel and to observe evangelical perfection. Through him, I believe the Lord intends to renew His church in the entire world.” When he heard this, the Lord Pope was amazed and told him: “Bring him to me.” – Keep faithful to prayer even in challenging moments.

23

Blessed Francis laid his whole proposal before the Lord Pope, just as he had previously done to the cardinal. The Lord Pope answered him: “Your life is too hard and severe, if you wish to found a congregation possessing nothing in this world. For where will you obtain the necessities of life?” – Lift up your heart in the face of trials. God is with you.

24

Blessed Francis responded: “My Lord, I trust in my Lord Jesus Christ. Since He has promised to give us life and glory in heaven, He will not deprive us of our bodily necessities when we need them on earth.”  The pope replied, “human nature is weak and never remains in the same state. But, go and pray to the Lord with all your heart, so that He may show you what is better and more beneficial for your souls. Come back and tell me and I will then grant it.” – Jesus comforts and sustains us in all our afflictions and trials.

25

Francis withdrew to pray. With a pure heart, he prayed to the Lord that in His ineffable piety He would reveal this to him. While he was engaged in prayer, with his whole heart focused on the Lord, the word of the Lord came into his heart and spoke to him figuratively. – Be assured of the presence of the Holy Spirit Who comforts and directs those who trust in Him.

26

“There lived in the realm of a great king a very poor but beautiful woman, who caught the king’s eye and by whom he fathered many sons. The king told her: ‘Do not be afraid of your dire poverty, nor of the sons you have, and the many you will have. If the many hired hands in my house have their fill of food, I certainly do not want my own sons to die of hunger. No, I want them to have even more than the others.’” –  The providence of God knows no limits. The little we give lovingly is multiplied beyond imagining.

27

The man of God, Francis, immediately understood that the poor woman symbolized him. As a result, the man of God strengthened his resolve to observe most holy poverty in the future. Getting up at that very hour, he went to the Apostolic Lord, and told him all that the Lord had revealed to him. – Passions like temptations need our consent to determine whether we fall into sin or grow in grace.

28

On hearing this, the Lord Pope was greatly amazed that the Lord had revealed His will to so simple a man. And he realized that he was not proceeding according to human wisdom, but in the display and power of the Spirit. Then blessed Francis bowed down and humbly and devotedly promised obedience and reverence to the Lord Pope. And the other brothers, because they had not yet promised obedience, likewise promised obedience and reverence to blessed Francis according to the precept of the Lord Pope. – If fear surprises you, call out: Oh, Lord, save me!

29

The Lord Pope approved the rule for him and his brothers, both present and future.  He also gave him authority to preach everywhere as the grace of the Holy Spirit was given him and that the other brothers were also to preach, provided that blessed Francis gave them the office of preaching. From then on, blessed Francis began preaching to the people in the cities and villages, as the Spirit of the Lord revealed to him. – Hold tightly onto the hand of the Lord and confidently walk on the stormy sea of life.

30

The Lord placed in his mouth uncompromising, honey-flowing, and very sweet words, so that hardly anyone ever tired of listening to him. Because of his great love for the Brother, that cardinal had all twelve of them given the tonsure. Afterwards, Blessed Francis ordered that a chapter be held twice a year, on Pentecost and on the feast of Saint Michael in the month of September. –  Keep imprinted on your soul that God is our Father. So why fear if you are a child of such a Father?

Thought for the Day - May, 2021 - Father Francis Sariego, OFM Cap

May 2021 

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)  

Daily excerpts from the Anonymous of Perugia 

Thought after each Franciscan excerpt from the Words of Ven. Fulton J. Sheen  

Chapter III 

THE FIRST PLACE WHERE THEY STAYED AND PERSECUTION BY THEIR RELATIVES 

1

Once Brother Bernard and Brother Peter sold their possessions and gave the money to the poor, as we mentioned, they dressed like the man of God, blessed Francis, and became his companions. Having no place to stay, they went and found a poor and nearly abandoned church called Saint Mary of the Portiuncula. There they built a small dwelling where they all lived together. – Without God people only succeed in bringing out the worst in one another.

2

After eight days a man from that city, Giles, came to them. He was a very dedicated and faithful man, on whom God bestowed many graces. On his knees, he begged blessed Francis with great devotion and reverence to accept him into his company. When he heard and saw this, Blessed Francis was filled with joy and received him enthusiastically with open arms. – Sometimes the only way the good Lord can get into some hearts is to break them.

3

Blessed Francis then took Brother Giles with himself to the Marches of Ancona, while the other two remained behind. As they were going along, they rejoiced not a little in the Lord. Francis, the man of God, reveled in a very loud voice, singing out in French, praising and blessing the Lord. Indeed they were filled with great joy, as if they had just acquired an immense treasure. – Criticism of others is thus an oblique form of self-commendation.

4

They were able to rejoice so much because they had forsaken so much, and considered as dung the things over which people usually grieve. They regarded as bitter what people of the world consider desirable, things that bring about much misery and grief. – If you don’t behave as you believe, you will end by believing as you behave.

5

Then blessed Francis told his companion, Brother Giles: “Our religion will be like a fisherman who casts his nets into the water, catching a great number of fish. Seeing the large number of fish, he puts the big ones in his baskets, leaving the small ones in the water.” Giles was astonished at the prophecy that the saint uttered, for he knew how few the brothers were. – When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more noble her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women.

6

The man of God did not yet preach to the people. But while they were going through towns and villages, he would encourage men and women to fear and love the Creator of heaven and earth and to do penance for their sins. Brother Giles would respond: “What he says is very good. Believe him.” – Unless there is a Good Friday in your life, there can be no Easter Sunday. 

7

Those who heard them would say to each other: “Who are these men, and what are these words they’re saying?” Some of them used to say that they seemed to be fools or drunkards, while others would say: “The words coming out of their mouths are not those of fools.” One of them said: “Either they are clinging to the Lord for the sake of the highest perfection, or they have gone mad, for their physical life seems reckless. They walk barefoot, wear cheap clothing, and eat very little.” – There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.

8

Yet there was no one who followed them at that time. Young women, seeing them at a distance, would run away fearing they would be taken in by foolishness. Even though hardly anyone followed them, people remained nevertheless in awe at the holy way of life with which they seemed to be marked for the Lord’s sake. After they had traveled around that province, the brothers returned to Saint Mary of the Portiuncula. – Far better it is for you to say: I am a sinner, than to say: I have no need of religion. (Rule, Constitutions, Church Law)

9

After a few days had elapsed, three other men from Assisi, Brother Sabbatino, Brother John and Brother Morico the Short, came to them, humbly begging Blessed Francis to admit them into his company. He received them kindly and eagerly. However, when they went about the city begging alms, scarcely anyone was willing to give to them; instead they would tell them: “You got rid of your own possessions, and now you want to eat those of others.” – Too many people get credit for being good, when they are only being passive.

10

Thus, they suffered extreme want. Even their relatives and families would persecute them. Others from that city—great and small, men and women—would scorn and ridicule them as senseless and stupid, except for the city’s bishop to whom the blessed Francis frequently went to seek counsel. – You must remember to love people and use things, rather than to love things and use people.

11

One day when the blessed Francis had gone to that bishop, the bishop told him: “It seems to me that your life is very rough and hard, not having or possessing anything in this world.” The saint of God answered: “Lord, if we had any possessions, we would need arms to protect them because they cause many disputes and lawsuits. And possessions usually impede the love of God and neighbor. Therefore we do not want to possess anything in this world.” And this answer pleased the bishop. – Any book which inspires us to lead a better life is a good book. (Scriptures, Writings of Sts. Francis and Clare)

Chapter IV 

HOW HE ADMONISHED THE BROTHERS AND SENT THEM THROUGHOUT THE WORLD 

12

Saint Francis, since he was already filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit, predicted what would happen to his brothers. And calling together his six brothers in the woods next to the church of Saint Mary of the Portiuncula where they often went to pray, he told them: “My dear brothers, let us consider our calling because God has mercifully called us not only for our own good but also for the salvation of many. – A teacher who cannot explain any abstract subject to a child does not himself thoroughly understand his subject; if he does not attempt to break down his knowledge to fit the child’s mind, he does not understand teaching. (our Franciscan charism)

13

Therefore, let us go through the world, encouraging and teaching men and women by word and example to do penance for their sins and to remember the Lord’s commandments, which they have forgotten for such a long time.” He also told them: “Do not be afraid, little flock, but have confidence in the Lord. And do not say among yourselves ‘We are simple and illiterate men, how should we preach?’ – America, it is said, is suffering from intolerance — it is not. It is suffering from tolerance. Tolerance of right and wrong, truth and error, virtue and evil, Christ and chaos. (Faithfulness to Profession of Rule and Constitutions!)

14

But be mindful of the Lord’s words to his disciples: ‘You yourselves will not be the speakers; the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you.’ For the Lord Himself will give you spirit and wisdom to encourage and preach to men and their wives the way and deeds of the commandments. – Never forget that there are only two philosophies to rule your life: the one of the cross, which starts with the fast and ends with the feast. The other of Satan, which starts with the feast and ends with the headache.

15

You will find, however, faithful people—meek, humble and kind—who will receive you and your words with joy and love. You will find others—unfaithful, proud, and blasphemous—resisting and criticizing you and your words. Therefore, resolve in your hearts to bear all these things with patience and humility.” When the brothers heard these words, they were afraid. – We get angry when someone denies their faults, because we knew them all along. The lying mocks our affection; it is the deceit that angers us more than the faults. (paraphrase)

16

Realizing that they were frightened, he told them: “Do not be frightened. Keep in mind that within a short time many learned, prudent and noble men will be with us. They will preach to nations and peoples, to kings and princes, and many people will be converted to the Lord. And the Lord will make His family grow and increase throughout the entire world.” After saying this, Francis blessed them and they went on their way. – Once you have surrendered yourself, you make yourself receptive.

Chapter V 

THE PERSECUTIONS WHICH THE BROTHERS ENDURED  

AS THEY WENT THROUGHOUT THE WORLD 

17

Wherever these devout servants of the Lord walked along and came upon a church, whether in use or abandoned, or upon some cross alongside the road, they would pray devoutly: “We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, and in all your churches throughout the whole world, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.” – When a child is given to his parents, a crown is made for that child in Heaven, and woe to the parents who raise a child without consciousness of that eternal crown! 

18

And they believed and felt that they had found a place of the Lord. Those who saw them were amazed: “We have never seen religious dressed like this.” They seemed to differ from all others by their habit and lifestyle, like wild men. – We become like that which we love.

19

When they entered a city, town or a home, they would announce peace. Whenever they saw men or women on the streets or in the piazzas, they would encourage them to fear and love the Creator of heaven and earth, to remember His commandments that they had forgotten, and to strive to fulfill them. – Show me your hands. Do they have scars from giving? Show me your feet. Are they wounded in service? Show me your heart. Have you left a place for divine love?

20

Some people willingly and joyfully listened to the brothers; others, however, jeered at them. Many people repeatedly questioned them, and it was extremely wearisome to answer so many questions because new situations often gave rise to new questions. – Nothing ever happens in the world that does not happen first inside human hearts.

21

Some asked them: “Where do you come from?” While others asked: “To which Order do you belong?” They answered simply: “We are penitents and were born in Assisi.” At that time the religion of the brothers was not yet called an order. – Very few people believe in the devil these days, which suits the devil very well. He is always helping to circulate the news of his own death.

22

Many who saw and heard them considered them impostors or fools. Someone among them remarked: “I wouldn’t care to invite them into my house; they would probably steal my belongings.” And because of this, any number of insults were inflicted on them in many places. Therefore they very frequently sought lodging in the porticos of churches or houses. – The essence of God is existence, and He defines Himself as: ‘I am Who am.

23

About this time two brothers were in the city of Florence, going throughout the city in search of a place to stay, but were unable to find any. When they found a house with a portico containing a bread-oven, they said to each other: “We can stay here.” They therefore asked the lady of the house if she would please welcome them into her home. When she instantly refused, they begged her at least to let them spend that night near the oven. – Why are those who are notoriously undisciplined and unmoral also most contemptuous of religion and morality? They are trying to solace their own unhappy lives by pulling the happy down to their own abysmal depths.

24

She let them do this. However, when her husband came home, and saw the brothers on the porch near the oven, he said to her: “Why did you offer lodging to these two rogues?” She answered: “I didn’t want to offer them hospitality in the house, but gave them permission to stay on the porch where they couldn’t steal anything from us except the firewood.” On account of this distrust, they did not want to give the brothers anything to cover themselves, although the weather was severely cold. –  The refusal to take sides on great moral issues is itself a decision. It is a silent acquiescence to evil. 

25

During that night the brothers got up for matins and went to the nearest church. When morning came, the lady went to church to hear Mass and saw them remaining devoutly and humbly in prayer. She said to herself: “If these men were evildoers, as my husband claimed, they would not be praying so reverently.” – The Tragedy of our time is that those who still believe in honesty lack fire and conviction, while those who believe in dishonesty are full of passionate conviction. 

26

While she was thinking these things, a man named Guido was going around the church distributing alms to the poor. When he approached the brothers, he attempted to give each one a coin, as he had done to the others, but they refused to take it. He told them: “Why don’t you accept coins like the other poor people, for I see that you are just as poor and needy?” – Books are the most wonderful friends in the world. When you meet them and pick them up, they are always ready to give you a few ideas. (Spiritual Reading)

27

One of them, Bernard, answered him: “While it is true that we are poor, our poverty is not as burdensome for us as it is for the other poor, for we have become poor by the grace of God and in fulfillment of His counsel.” – Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is “timing” it waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.” – We think we make the picture hang straight on our wall by telling our neighbors that all his pictures are crooked.

28

Astonished, the man asked them if they had ever possessed anything in the world. They told him that they in fact had, but for the love of God had given their belongings to the poor. When that woman considered that the brothers had refused the coins, she approached them and said: “Christians, if you want to come back to my hospitality, I will gladly receive you into my home.” – They are too often praised for being broadminded when they are so broadminded they can never make up their minds about anything.

29

The brothers answered her with humility: “May the Lord reward you.” When that man realized that the brothers were unable to find lodging, he took them to his own house and told them: “Look, this is the lodging that the Lord has prepared for you. Stay here as long as you want.” – In receiving from God, you are perfected and completed.

30

The brothers thanked God for showing them His mercy and for hearing the cries of the poor. They stayed with him several days. Because of their words and good example, he was afterwards very generous to the poor. – If we love what is base, we become base; but if we love what is noble, we become noble.” 

31

Although they were treated by this man with kindness, others considered them good-for-nothings, so much so that many, the small and the great, treated them and spoke to them “as masters with their servants.” Although the brothers wore the poorest and cheapest clothes, for amusement many people still took these away from them. And so, even though they were left naked, for they had only one tunic, the brothers nevertheless always observed the form of the Gospel by not demanding back what was taken from them. However, if motivated by piety, the people returned the tunic, they willingly accepted it – Lovers who have nothing else to do but love each other soon find there is nothing else. Without a central loyalty (GOD) life is unfinished.

 

 

Thoughts for the Day – April 2021 – Father Francis Sariego, OFM Cap

April 2021 

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 for ever. 

Amen.

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

The next few months daily excerpts of the Franciscan story are taken from the

THE ANONYMOUS OF PERUGIA 

Daily spiritual quotes are from various sources

THE BEGINNING OR FOUNDING OF THE 

ORDER AND THE DEEDS OF THOSE LESSER BROTHERS 

WHO WERE THE FIRST COMPANIONS OF BLESSED FRANCIS IN RELIGION 

1

Servants of the Lord should not be ignorant of the lives and teachings of saints through which they can come to God. Therefore, for the honor of God and the edification of readers and listeners, I, who saw their deeds, listened to their words, and also became their disciple, have compiled and recounted, as the Lord inspired me, some deeds of our most blessed Father Francis and of a few of the brothers who lived at the beginning of the religion. – Walk with simplicity in the ways of the Lord. 

Chapter I 

HOW BLESSED FRANCIS BEGAN TO SERVE GOD 

2

On the sixteenth of April, after one thousand two hundred and seven years had been completed since the Incarnation of the Lord, God … enlightened a man who was in the city of Assisi, Francis by name, a merchant by trade, and a very vain spendthrift of worldly wealth. One day he was in the shop where he customarily sold cloth, totally absorbed in business, when a poor man came in, begging alms for the Lord’s sake. – Hate your faults, but with a quiet hate, not troublesome and restless. 

3

Preoccupied with thoughts of wealth and care of the business, Francis sent him away without giving him alms. After the poor man left, touched by divine grace, he began to accuse himself of great rudeness, a saying: “If the poor man had asked in the name of a count or a powerful baron, you would have granted him his request. How much more should you have done this for the King of Kings and the Lord of all?” – Be patient with your faults and gain from them holy humility.

4

Because of this incident, he resolved in his heart, from then on, never to refuse a request from anyone asking in the name of so great a Lord. He called the poor man back and gave him a generous alms.  After a while, a marvelous thing happened to this blessed man which in my estimation should not be passed over in silence. – What soul to whom Jesus has given himself as its inheritance can be unhappy? 

5

One night when he was asleep in his bed, someone appeared to him calling him by name. He led him into a palace of unspeakable beauty, filled with military arms, its walls covered everywhere with shining shields emblazoned with crosses. He inquired to whom these brightly shining arms and this beautiful palace belonged. – Let us spend our whole life giving thanks to the divine Father.

6

“All these things, including the palace,” said the guide, “belong to you and your knights.” Upon awakening, he began to interpret this in a worldly way, like someone who had not yet fully tasted God’s Spirit. He thought he would become a magnificent prince. After giving the matter much thought, he decided to become a knight to obtain this princely power. – Let us pray with the humility of the creature and the confidence and freedom of the child.

7

After having as expensive a wardrobe as possible made for himself, he arranged to join up with a noble count in Apulia, to be knighted by him. Everyone marveled that he was happier than usual, and when they asked him the reason why, he answered: “I know that I am going to be a great prince.” – Let nothing in the world distract us from contemplating the greatness of the Lord. 

8

It was night when he arrived in Spoleto and, anxious about his trip, he retired for the night. Half asleep, he heard a voice asking him where he intended to go. He outlined to him his whole plan. The voice then asked him: “Who can do more for you, the lord or the servant?” “The lord,” he answered. “Then why are you abandoning the lord for the servant, and the patron for the client?” – We sometimes desire to be good angels, and we neglect to be good people.

9

To which Francis responded: “Lord, what do you want me to do?” “Go back,” it said, “to your own land to do what the Lord will tell you.” It seemed to him that divine grace had suddenly made him a different man. – How burdensome this mortal life is to the children of God.

10

But when it was morning, he returned home as he had been told. And when, on the way back, he reached Foligno, he sold the horse he was riding as well as the wardrobe with which he had equipped himself for the expedition to Apulia, and put on cheaper clothing. – The most beautiful credo is that pronounced in the darkness, in times of sacrifice.

11

While he was returning from Foligno to Assisi, carrying the money he had obtained from these things, he approached a church built in honor of Saint Damian. He found the poor resident priest, named Peter, and gave him that money for safekeeping. – Remember this: That if the devil makes a din, he is still outside and not inside at all.

12

Not having a safe place to keep it, the priest refused the money. When the man of God, Francis, heard this, he threw the money on the windowsill of that church for he considered it worthless. Led by God’s Spirit, he resolved to use the money to rebuild its structure, seeing that the church was poor and on the verge of collapse. – No matter how great the trial, never lose heart.

13

After a while, with God’s approval, he completed the undertaking. When his father learned of this, he began to vent his rage against him, for he loved him in a worldly way and was longing for the money. He abused Francis with insults, demanding the return the money. – Have recourse with more childlike trust to Jesus who will never be able to resist bestowing on you some little solace and comfort.

14

In the presence of the bishop of Assisi, he promptly gave back to his father the money and clothes he was wearing. He stood there naked under the cloak of the bishop, who embraced him. Without any worldly possessions, dressed in cheap and very miserable clothing, he went back to that church to stay there. – Turn to Jesus at all times even when the devil tries to discourage you by making you more aware of your sins.

15

The Lord enriched the poor and contemptible man. Filling him with His Holy Spirit, He put into his mouth the words of life that he might preach and announce to the people judgment and mercy, punishment and glory and to recall to their minds the commandments of God they had forgotten. – God’s power triumphs over everything.

16

The Lord led him on a straight and narrow path. Desiring to possess neither gold nor silver, nor money nor any other thing, he followed the Lord in humility, poverty, and the simplicity of his heart. Walking about barefoot, he wore a contemptible habit with a wretched belt. – Humble and suffering prayer prevails over God himself.

17

And whenever his father met him, overwhelmed with great sorrow, he would curse him. The blessed man, however, took with him a poor old man named Alberto and asked him for a blessing. Many people used to laugh at him, insulting him with spiteful words. – Do not be surprised at your distractions and spiritual dryness.

18

Almost everyone considered him mad. But he did not care, nor did he answer them; instead, he strove with all eagerness to fulfill the task God had shown him. He walked not in the learned words of human wisdom, but in the display and the power of the Spirit. – Live tranquilly and do not be anxious.

Chapter II 

THE FIRST TWO BROTHERS WHO FOLLOWED BLESSED FRANCIS 

19

When they saw and heard these things, two men from Assisi, inspired by divine grace, humbly approached him. One of these was Brother Bernard, and the other, Brother Peter. They told Francis simply: “We wish to live with you from now on and do what you are doing. Tell us, therefore, what we should do with our possessions.” – Live humbly. Be docile and in love with your heavenly Lord.

20

Overjoyed at their coming and their resolve he answered them kindly: “Let us go and seek counsel from the Lord.” So they went to one of the city’s churches. Upon entering it, they fell on their knees and humbly prayed: “Lord, God, Father of glory, we beg you in your mercy, show us what we are to do.” – Do not be upset by any infirmities and weaknesses into which you can fall.

21

After finishing the prayer, they asked the priest of the church who was there: “Sir, would you show us the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ”. And, since before this happened none of them knew how to read very well, when the priest opened up the book, they immediately found the passage If you wish to be perfect, go, sell everything you possess and give to the poor, and you will have a treasure in heaven. – Don’t upset yourself, but humbly and frankly confess before God and place everything before his divine mercy.

22

Opening up the book a second time, they discovered: Whoever wishes to come after me . . . . When they opened up the book for the third time, they came upon: Take nothing for the journey . . . When they heard this, they were filled with great joy and exclaimed: “This is what we want, this is what we were seeking.” And blessed Francis said: “This will be our rule.” – Let God be thanked for treating you as a soul to follow Jesus closely up the hill of Calvary.

23

Then he told both of them: “Go and may you fulfill the Lord’s counsel as you heard it.” – Stretch yourself out on the cross and be patient with yourself.

24

Then Brother Bernard, who was rich, sold all his possessions, acquiring a large sum of money from the transaction. Brother Peter, on the other hand, who was poor in worldly goods, now became rich in spiritual goods. Therefore, he also did as the Lord’s counsel would have it. Summoning the city’s poor people, they gave them the money acquired from the sale of their goods. – Follow the path on which the Lord has placed you, in a holy manner.

25

While they were doing this, and blessed Francis was present, a priest named Sylvester came. Blessed Francis had purchased stones from him for the repair of the church of San Damiano where he had lived before he acquired brothers. When the priest saw them giving away so much money, consumed by a burning passion of greed, he craved to be given some of that money. – Endeavor, without wearying yourself, to do what you can, and Jesus, who looks into the depths of the heart, will be pleased with you.

26

When blessed Francis, who had renounced all greed, heard him complaining unjustly, he approached … and putting his hand into his cloak where the money was, took out a handful of coins and gave them to the priest. “Do you now have full payment?” he asked. “I have it fully” – We are not all called to the same state.

27

Overjoyed the priest returned home. A few days later, the priest, inspired by the Lord, began to reflect on what blessed Francis had done. “Am I not miserable?” he said to himself. “Old as I am, don’t I still covet and desire the things of this world, and doesn’t this youth despise and scorn them for the love of God?” – The Holy Spirit does not work in all souls in the same way.

28

The following night he saw in a dream an immense cross whose top reached to the heavens, while its base rested in the mouth of blessed Francis. The arms of the cross reached from one part of the world to the other. – The Holy Spirit blows as he wills and where he wills.

29

Upon awakening, the priest then believed that blessed Francis was indeed God’s friend and that the religion he had founded would spread all over the world. – Do not be discouraged or frightened by your miseries and weaknesses, for God in his mercy did not reject you.

30

From that time on, he began to fear God and do penance in his own home. And after a little time had passed, he entered the Order of the brothers where he lived well and ended gloriously. – God will grant you his grace and will erect the throne of his glory on your misery and vileness.

 

 

Thoughts for the Day – March 2021 – Father Francis Sariego, OFM Cap

March 2021 

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 for ever. 

Amen. 

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

 

Month of Saint Joseph completes Holy Season of Lent. 

Let us invoke the patronage of St. Joseph to guide us on our journey. 

Chapter XIV 

THE CHAPTER THAT WAS HELD TWICE A YEAR 

AT SAINT MARY OF THE PORTIUNCULA 

1

After blessed Francis had obtained that place of Saint Mary from the abbot of Saint Benedict, he ordered that a chapter be held there twice a year, that is, on Pentecost and on the Dedication of Saint Michael. At Pentecost, all the brothers used to gather at the church of Saint Mary and discuss how they could better observe the Rule. – Remember that Calvary is the hill of the saints. 

2

They appointed brothers throughout the various provinces who would preach to the people, and assigned other brothers in their provinces. Saint Francis, however, used to give admonitions, corrections, and directives as it seemed to him to be according to the Lord’s counsel. Everything that he said to them in word, however, he would show them in deed with eagerness and affection. – Suffering is short-lived but the reward is eternal.

3

He used to revere prelates and priests of the holy Church, and honored the elderly, the noble, and the wealthy. Moreover, he intimately loved the poor, suffering deeply with them, and he showed himself subject to all. Although he was more elevated than all the brothers, he still appointed one of the brothers staying with him as his guardian and master. – Heaven and earth will pass away but the word of God assures that all who live in His will,  will sing victory.

4

He humbly and eagerly obeyed him, in order to avoid any occasion of pride. He zealously used to admonish the brothers to observe the holy Gospel and the Rule which they had firmly promised; and particularly to be reverent and devoted about divine services and ecclesiastical regulations, hearing Mass devotedly, and adoring the Body of the Lord even more devotedly.- May Jesus be your comfort and compensation in this life.

5

He wanted priests who handle the tremendous and greatest sacraments to be honored uniquely by the brothers. He also admonished the brothers not to judge anyone, nor to look down upon those who live with refinement and dress extravagantly or fashionably. For, he would say, their God is ours, the Lord Who is capable of calling them to Himself and justifying those called. – That Jesus never leaves us even for a moment should bring the greatest consolation.

6

He also used to tell them he wanted the brothers to show reverence to these people as their brothers and lords. They are brothers, because we were all created by one Creator; they are lords, because they help the good to do penance by providing them with the necessities of life. He added: “The brothers’ way of life among the people should be such that whoever hears or sees them glorifies and praises the heavenly Father with dedication.” – Live joyfully and courageously and don’t extinguish the Spirit of the Lord in you.

7

For his great desire was that he, as well as his brothers, would abound in such good deeds for which the Lord would be praised. He used to tell them: “As you announce peace with your mouth, make sure that greater peace is in your hearts. Let no one be provoked to anger or scandal through you, but may everyone be drawn to peace, kindness, and harmony through your gentleness. For we have been called to this: to heal the wounded, bind up the broken, and recall the erring. In fact, many who seem to us to be members of the devil will yet be disciples of Christ.” – Let us do good while we still have time.

8

Moreover, the pious father used to reprove his brothers who to him were too austere, exerting too much effort in those vigils, fasts and corporal punishments. Some of them afflicted themselves so harshly to repress within them every impulse of the flesh,  that they seemed to hate themselves. The man of God forbade them, admonishing them with kindness, reprimanding them with reason, and binding up their wounds with the bandages of wholesome precepts. – Sanctify yourself and give good example to others.

9

Among the brothers who had come to the chapter, no one dared to discuss worldly matters, but they spoke of the lives of the holy fathers, and how they could better and more perfectly find the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. If some of the brothers who came to the chapter experienced any temptation or tribulation, upon hearing blessed Francis speaking so sweetly and fervently, and on seeing his penance, they were freed from their temptations and were miraculously relieved of the tribulations. – We don’t reach salvation without crossing the stormy sea.

10

For, while suffering with them, he spoke to them, not as a judge, but as a merciful father to his children, or a good doctor to the sick, knowing how to be sick with the sick and afflicted with the afflicted. Nevertheless he duly rebuked all delinquents, and restrained the obstinate and rebellious with an appropriate punishment. – Beneath the cross one learns to love.

11

When a chapter had ended, he would bless all the brothers and assign each of them to individual provinces. To anyone possessing the Spirit of God and eloquence suitable for preaching, whether cleric or lay, he gave permission to preach. When those men received his blessing with great joy of spirit, they went throughout the world as pilgrims and strangers, taking nothing on their way except the books in which they could say their Hours. –  The best way to avoid falling is to lean on the cross of Jesus.

12

Whenever they found a priest, rich or poor, good or bad, bowing humbly they paid him their respect. When it was time to seek lodging, they more willingly stayed with priests rather than with seculars. When they were unable to stay with priests, they would seek more spiritual and God-fearing persons with whom they could more suitably be welcomed. After this, in each city and town that the brothers wanted to visit, the Lord inspired some God-fearing people to offer them hospitality, until some places were built for them in cities and towns. – The Lord loads us and sets us free from our load.

13

The Lord gave them the word and the spirit, according to need of the time, to speak with most incisive words, penetrating the hearts of the young—as well as the elderly—who, abandoning fathers and mothers and all they had, followed the brothers, by putting on the habit of religion. Then, indeed, a sword of separation was sent to the earth, when the young came to religion. – By bearing the weight of the cross we are relieved of it.

14

Those whom they received to the Order they led to blessed Francis,  that they might receive from him the habit of religion with humility and dedication. Not only were men converted to the Order; but also many virgins and widows, struck by their preaching, on their advice secluded themselves in cities and towns in monasteries established for doing penance. – Convince yourself that you belong to Jesus 

15

One of the brothers was appointed their visitator and corrector. Similarly, both married men and women given in marriage, unable to separate because of the law of matrimony, committed themselves to more severe penance in their own homes on the wholesome advice of the brothers. And thus, through blessed Francis, a perfect worshipper of the Holy Trinity, the Church of God was renewed in three orders, just as the earlier repair of the three churches foreshadowed. Each one of these orders was in its time approved by the Supreme Pontiff. –  Belong to Jesus and any storm satan blows against you cannot harm you at all.

Chapter XV 

THE DEATH OF LORD JOHN, 

THE FIRST PROTECTOR OF THE ORDER 

AND HOW THE LORD HUGOLINO OF OSTIA 

ASSUMED THE ROLE OF FATHER AND PROTECTOR OF THE ORDER 

16

The venerable father, the Lord Cardinal John of Saint Paul, that cardinal who more frequently offered counsel and protection to blessed Francis, commended the life and accomplishments of the saint and his brothers to the other cardinals. Their minds were moved to love the man of God with his brothers, so that each one of them wanted to have brothers in his own household, not for any service they might provide, but because of their holiness and the dedication with which they burned for them. – Trust in God and don’t fear the storms because your spirit will never be submerged.

17

After the Lord Cardinal John of Saint Paul had died, the Lord inspired one of the cardinals, Hugolino, at that time the bishop of Ostia, to cherish, protect, and support Francis and his brothers. With burning intensity, he held them in awe as if he were the father of them all. What is more, more than the love of a carnal father reaching out naturally to his own sons, the love of this man overflowed spiritually on the man of God and his brothers, loving and supporting them in the Lord. – Jesus is more powerful than all of hell. 

18

The man of God heard of this man’s glorious reputation, for among the cardinals he was famous, and with his brothers approached him. Receiving them with joy, he told them: “I am offering you myself for advice, assistance and protection, ready to give myself according to your good pleasure. I only ask that, for God’s sake, you have me remembered in your prayers.” Then blessed Francis, thanking God, told that lord cardinal: “My lord, I gladly want to have you as the father and protector of our religion, and I want all my brothers to have you always remembered in their prayers.” – This present life is given to us to acquire the eternal. 

19

Then blessed Francis asked him to be present at the chapter of the brothers at Pentecost. He immediately agreed graciously, and, from then on, was present every year at their chapter. When he came to the chapter, all the brothers who had gathered at the chapter would go in procession to meet him. As they were approaching, he would dismount from his horse and go on foot with them to the church of Saint Mary. Afterward he preached to them and celebrated Mass, during which the man of God, Francis, would chant the Gospel. – It is God who calls us to himself and it is he who watches our journey. 

Chapter XVI 

THE ELECTION OF THE FIRST MINISTERS 

AND HOW THEY WERE SENT THROUGHOUT THE WORLD 

20

Eleven years after the founding of the religion when the brothers had increased in number and merit, ministers were chosen and sent with some of the brothers throughout nearly the entire world in which the Catholic faith was practiced and observed. They were received in some of the provinces, but were not permitted to build houses. On the other hand, they were expelled from others for fear they might be non-believers, because, although the Lord Pope Innocent III had approved the Order and the Rule, nonetheless, he did not confirm this by letter, and the brothers, therefore, suffered many adversities from clerics and lay people. – God will never permit anything to happen to us that is not for our greater good. 

21

When this had been made known to the Lord Cardinal, he called blessed Francis to him and took him to the Lord Pope Honorius. He had another rule—composed by blessed Francis as he was taught by Christ—confirmed by the same Lord Honorius with a seal solemnly affixed. In this rule, the time between the chapters was prolonged to avoid hardship for the brothers living in remote areas. – Don’t philosophize on your defects.

22

Blessed Francis proposed to ask the Lord Pope Honorius, therefore, that one of the cardinals of the Roman Church be a sort of pope of his Order, that is, the Lord of Ostia, to whom the brothers could have recourse in their dealings. For blessed Francis had had a vision which led him to ask for the cardinal, and to entrust the Order to the Roman Church. – Don’t let little imperfections discourage you.

23

He saw a hen that was small and black, with feathered legs and the feet of a domestic dove. It had so many chicks that it was unable to gather them all under its wings, and so they wandered all around her in circles. Waking from sleep, he began to think about this vision and, immediately, he perceived by means of the Holy Spirit that that hen symbolized him. – Try to be always watchful in order to avoid sin.

24

“I am that hen,” he said, “short in stature, and dark by nature. I must be simple like a dove, flying up to heaven with the feathered strokes of virtue. The Lord in his mercy has given, and will give me, many sons whom I will be unable to protect with my own strength. I must, therefore, commend them to the holy Church who will protect and guide them under the shadow of her wings.” – When you see you fail in some way, don’t become lost in useless complaining

25

A few years after this vision, he came to Rome and visited the Lord of Ostia who obliged blessed Francis to go with him to the Curia the following morning. He wanted him to preach before the Lord Pope and the cardinals, and to commend his religion to them with devotion and eagerness. Although blessed Francis excused himself, claiming he was simple and stupid, he nevertheless had to accompany that man to the Curia. – Be embarrassed at your moments of infidelity, and humbly ask pardon of the Lord.

26

When blessed Francis presented himself before the Lord Pope and the cardinals, they saw him with boundless joy. Getting up, he preached to them, prepared only by the Holy Spirit’s anointing. After he finished speaking, he commended his religion to the Lord Pope and to all the cardinals. The Lord Pope and lord cardinals had been greatly edified by his preaching, and their hearts were moved to a more burning love of the religion. – When you fall, propose to be more watchful and then get up immediately and carry on.

27

Afterwards blessed Francis told the Supreme Pontiff: “Lord, I am suffering with you over the worry and continuing labor with which you must watch over God’s Church, and I am greatly ashamed that you must have such solicitude and care for us lesser brothers. For, since many nobles, rich people, as well as many religious, are unable to come to you, we, who are surely poor and looked down upon by some religious, must have great fear and shame not only to have access to you, but even to stand at your door and to presume to knock at the tabernacle of Christian virtue. – Walk with simplicity in the ways of the Lord.

28

Therefore, I humbly and resolutely beg your Holiness to give us the Lord of Ostia as pope, so that, at a time of need, the brothers may have recourse to him, always saving your pre-eminent dignity.” The Lord Pope was pleased with the petition, and he granted blessed Francis that Lord of Ostia, appointing him a most fitting protector of his religion. With the mandate of the Lord Pope, as a good protector, he extended his influence to protect the brothers, writing to many prelates who were persecuting the brothers. He did this so that they would no longer oppose them, but would rather give them advice and assistance in preaching and living in their provinces, as good and holy religious approved by the authority of the Apostolic See. – Hate your faults, but with a quiet hate, not troublesome and restless. 

29

Many other cardinals likewise sent their own letters for the same reason. In the following chapter, after blessed Francis gave the ministers permission to receive brothers into the Order, he sent them to those provinces, carrying the letters of the cardinals as well as the Rule confirmed by the apostolic seal. Once the prelates saw all of these, and recognized the endorsements shown by the brothers, they permitted the brothers to build, live, and preach in their provinces. And after the brothers lived and preached in this way in those provinces, many people, seeing their humble and holy way of life, and hearing their very pleasant words, moving and inflaming minds to love of God and to doing penance, they came to them and humbly accepted the habit of holy religion. –  Walk with simplicity in the ways of the Lord and do not torment your spirit.

30

Seeing the trust and love that the Lord of Ostia had for the brothers, blessed Francis loved him most affectionately from the depths of his heart. And because he knew, through an earlier revelation of God, that he would be the future Supreme Pontiff, he predicted this in the letters he wrote to him, calling him the father of the whole world. For he wrote to him in this manner: “To the venerable father of the whole world in Christ …” – Be patient with your faults and gain from them through holy humility.

31

Shortly afterwards, after the death of the Lord Pope Honorius III, that Lord of Ostia was elected the Supreme Pontiff, named Pope Gregory IX, who, until the end of his life was a remarkable benefactor and protector of the brothers as well as of other religious, and above all, of Christ’s poor. For this reason, he is believed to be numbered deservedly in the gathering of the saints.- How can anyone be anything but happy and at peace when Jesus is with them? 

 

February 2021 Thoughts for the Day by Father Francis Sariego, OFM Cap

February 2021 

 

Lord, just as I believe that at an earlier time 

(I may have been sinful and not fully open to Your will) 

so now I realize that, because of Your abundant mercy 

and in Your own time, You have shown an abundance of Your mercies to (me)… 

Give glory to Your name, 

(may I) offer the fragrance of good life, doctrine, and good reputation 

to the whole Christian people. 

I ask you therefore, Lord Jesus Christ, Father of mercies, 

not to consider our ingratitude. 

May (I) always be mindful of the abundant mercies which you have shown (me)

that (I) may always … glorify Your name blessed and glorious throughout the ages. 

Amen. 

 

(Paraphrase [in parenthesis] of the blessing of Saint Francis for the City of Assisi) 

 Chapter XII 

HOW BLESSED FRANCIS WITH HIS ELEVEN COMPANIONS WENT TO THE PAPAL CURIA 

THAT HE MIGHT INFORM HIM OF THEIR PROPOSAL 

AND HAVE THE RULE THAT HE HAD WRITTEN CONFIRMED 

 

Seeing that the Lord would increase his brothers in number and merit, since there were already twelve most perfect men expressing the same belief, blessed Francis said to the eleven, he being the twelfth, their leader and father: “Brothers, I see that the Lord mercifully wants to increase our congregation. Then, going to our mother, the holy Roman Church, let us inform the Supreme Pontiff what the Lord has begun to do through us, that, with his will and command, we may continue doing what we have undertaken.” – Time heals what reason cannot 

And since the proposal of their father pleased the other brothers, and they had embarked together with him on the journey to the Curia, he said to them: “Let us make one of us our leader and consider that man a kind of vicar of Jesus Christ, so that wherever he wants to go, we will go, and whenever he wants to rest, we will rest.” – It is magnificent to grow old if one keeps young. 

And they chose Brother Bernard, the first after blessed Francis, and, as the father said, they served him. They, then, made their way rejoicing and spoke about the words of the Lord, not daring to say anything except for the praise and glory of God and the benefit of the soul, and they frequently spent time in prayer. – Time cries out to each one, ‘Advance’

When they arrived in Rome and found the bishop of the city of Assisi there, they were received with immense joy, for he honored blessed Francis and all the brothers with special affection. Not knowing the reason for their arrival, he began to be apprehensive, fearing that they might want to leave their native land, where the Lord had begun to do marvelous things through them. – Take time to laugh; it is the music of the soul

For he rejoiced to have in his diocese such men whose life and conduct he greatly appreciated. After he learned their purpose and understood their plan, however, he was overjoyed and promised them his counsel and help. – My worth to God in public is what I am in private. 

During the few days they were staying with that man, they so edified him with their holy words and example, that, seeing what he had heard about them to shine in deed, he commended himself humbly and devoutly to their prayers. He even asked them, as a special grace, to be considered one of their brothers. – Never consider anything of worth that makes you break your word or lose your self-respect

Then asking blessed Francis the reason why he came and hearing from him their entire proposal and intention, he offered to be their procurator at the Curia. That cardinal then went to the Curia and told the Lord Pope Innocent III: “I found a most perfect man, who wishes to live according to the form of the holy Gospel, and to observe evangelical perfection in all things. I believe that the Lord wills, through him, to reform the faith of the holy Church throughout the world.” Hearing this, the lord pope was greatly amazed and had the cardinal bring blessed Francis to him. – Power is never good unless the one who uses it is good

On the following day, therefore, the man of God was presented by that cardinal to the pope, to whom he revealed his entire holy proposal. The pope, a man of extraordinary discernment, in due fashion assented to Francis’s request, and encouraged him and his brothers in many ways. He blessed them saying: “Go with the Lord, brothers, and as He will see fit to inspire you, preach penance to everyone. When almighty God increases you in number and grace, come back to us. We will grant you more, and entrust you with a greater charge.” – You are not bound to win, but you are bound to be true

Before the saint left his presence, the Lord Pope wanted to know whether what had been, and what would be conceded, was according to the Lord’s will. And so, he said to him and his companions: “My dear young sons, your life seems to Us exceptionally hard and severe. While We believe there can be no question about your living it because of your great zeal, We must take into consideration those who will come after you lest this way of life seem too burdensome.” – Patient endurance attains all things

10 

The pope saw that their constancy of faith and the anchor of their hope were so firmly grounded in Christ, that they did not want to be shaken from their enthusiasm. So he said to blessed Francis: “My son, go and pray that God will reveal to you whether what you ask  

Proceeds from His will. – Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.  

11 

Once God’s saint had prayed, as the Lord Pope suggested, the Lord spoke figuratively to him in spirit: “There was a little, poor and beautiful woman in a desert, whose beauty fascinated a great king…“My lord,” he said, “I am that little poor woman whom the loving Lord, in His mercy, has adorned, and through whom He has been pleased to give birth to legitimate sons. The King of kings had told me that He will nourish all the sons born to me, because, if He feeds strangers, He must provide for His own. For if God gives temporal goods to sinful men out of love for providing for His children, how much more will He give to Gospel men who deserve these things out of merit.” – Never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense

12 

On hearing this, the pope was greatly amazed, especially since, before blessed Francis’s arrival, he had seen in a vision the church of Saint John Lateran threatening to collapse, and a religious, small and of shabby appearance, supporting it on his own shoulders. – Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another

13 

A few days later, blessed Francis came to him, made known his proposal, as we have said, and asked him to confirm the rule he had written in simple words, using the words of the holy Gospel, for whose perfection he fully longed. As he was reflecting on how enthusiastic blessed Francis was in God’s service, and comparing his vision with that shown to the man of God, he began to say to himself: “This is indeed that holy and religious man through whom the church of God will be sustained and supported.” – Real unselfishness consists in sharing the interests of others

14 

So he embraced him and approved the rule he had written. He also gave him and his brothers’ permission to preach penance everywhere, with the stipulation that the brothers who preach obtain permission from blessed Francis. Afterwards he approved this in a consistory. – The most satisfying thing in life is to have been able to give a large part of oneself to others. 

15 

Therefore, after obtaining these favors, blessed Francis thanked God, and on bended knees, promised obedience and reverence to the Lord Pope humbly and devoutly. The other brothers, in accordance with the precept of the Lord Pope, promised obedience and reverence to blessed Francis in a similar way. After receiving a blessing from the Supreme Pontiff and visiting the tombs of the Apostles, blessed Francis and the other eleven brothers were given the tonsure, as the lord cardinal had arranged, wanting all twelve of them to be clerics.- When you give of yourself you truly give

16 

 As he was leaving the City, the man of God, with his brothers, set out into the world, greatly surprised at how easily his desire had been granted. He was growing each day in the hope and trust of the Savior, who had earlier shown him by holy revelations what was to happen. – Light, even though it passes through pollution, is not polluted

 

Chapter XIII 

HE EFFICACIOUS PREACHING OF BLESSED FRANCIS 

AND THE FIRST PLACE HE HAD HOW THE BROTHERS STAYED THERE AND HOW THEY LEFT 

17 

From then on, blessed Francis, going around the cities and villages, began to preach more widely and more perfectly proclaiming the kingdom of God with confidence, not in the persuasive words of human wisdom, but in the learning and power of the Holy Spirit. – When you walk towards the light, the shadow of your burdens falls behind you. 

18 

Strengthened by apostolic authority, he was a forthright preacher of truth, not using fawning words or seductive flattery, because he first convinced himself by action and then convinced others by word, so that he spoke the truth with the greatest fidelity. Even a very great number of learned and well-educated people marveled at his power and truth, which no human had taught, and they hurried to see and hear him as if he were a person of another age. – The one who is poor in spirit has realized that God means everything

19 

Drawn by divine inspiration, many people, well-born and lowly, cleric and lay, began to cling to blessed Francis’s footsteps, and, after they had abandoned the concerns and vanity of this world, to live under his discipline. – Being poor in spirit means freedom

20 

The blessed father with his sons were staying in a place near Assisi called Rivo Torto where there was a hut abandoned by all. The place was so cramped that they could barely sit or rest. Very often for lack of bread, their only food was the turnips that they begged in their need, here and there. The man of God would write the names of the brothers on the beams of that hut, so that anyone wishing to rest or pray would know his place, and so that any unusual noise would not disturb the mind’s silence in such small and close quarters. – Poverty of spirit is an attitude of dependence on God and detachment from earthly supports. 

21 

One day while the brothers were staying in that place, a peasant came with his donkey, wanting to stay in that hut with it. And so that he would not be driven away by the brothers, on walking into the hut, he said to his donkey: “Go in, go in, because we will do well in this place.” – It is good to make sure once in a while that you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy

22 

When the holy father heard the peasant’s words and realized his intention, he was annoyed at him, most of all because he made quite an uproar with his donkey, disturbing all the brothers who were then immersed in silence and prayer. Then the man of God said to his brothers: “I know, brothers, that God did not call us to prepare a lodging for a donkey, nor to have dealings with men. While we are preaching the way of salvation to people and are giving them wise counsel, we should dedicate ourselves most of all to prayer and thanksgiving.” –  He is not poor who has little but desires much

23 

They left that hut for the use of poor lepers, moving to a small dwelling near Saint Mary of the Portiuncula where they stayed from time to time before acquiring that church. – Example is the only thing that really influences others

24 

Afterwards blessed Francis, in accordance with God’s will and inspiration, obtained it from the abbot of the monastery of Saint Benedict on Mount Subasio near Assisi. – People seldom improve when they have no other model than themselves to copy

25 

The saint, in a special and affectionate way, commended this place to the general minister and to all the brothers, as the place loved by the glorious Virgin more than any other place or church in this world. – Hope for the future is not in human inventions but in better human relations

26 

A vision one of the brothers had, while in the world, contributed much to the commendation and love of this place. Blessed Francis loved this brother with unique affection as long as he was with him, by showing him extraordinary affection. – Nothing is a greater impediment to being in good relations with others than being ill at ease with yourself

27 

This man, wanting to serve God—as he later did so faithfully in religion—saw in a vision that all the people of the world were blind and were kneeling in a circle around the church of Saint Mary of the Portiuncula with their hands joined and their faces raised to heaven. In a loud and sobbing voice, they were begging the Lord in his mercy to give them sight. – God made us not perfect but pilgrims in journey after perfection. 

28 

While they were praying, it seemed that a great light came from heaven and, resting on them, enlightened all of them with its wholesome radiance. On awakening, the man resolved to serve God more faithfully, and, shortly thereafter, leaving the world with its seductions, he entered religion where he persevered in the service of God with humility and dedication. – Ideals are like stars, we never reach them but we chart our course by them. 

 

Thoughts for the Day – January 2021 by Father Francis Sariego OFM Cap

January 2021 

He was named Jesus, the name given by the angel. (Luke 2:16-21)

Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We have come to do him homage. (Matthew 2:1-12)

Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John.  

A voice came from the heavens, “You are my beloved Son. With you I am well pleased.”  Mark 1: 7-11)

Behold, the Lamb of God. We have found the Messiah.(John 1: 235-42)

Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men. (Mark 1: 14-20)

 

We adore You, O Christ, and we bless you! … O Wisdom of God, you are our wisdom … O Root of Jesse, you are the vine and we are the branches … O Lord of lords, you are the newborn child … O Key of David, you are the key to the gates of heaven … O Dayspring, you are the light of the world … O Ruler of the world, you are the Lord of lords … O Emmanuel, you are God-with-us … May all the world rejoice in your coming and live in your Light and Love.

Following excerpts from Legend of Three Companions / Daily meditations from various sources 

Chapter XII

HOW BLESSED FRANCIS WITH HIS ELEVEN COMPANIONS WENT TO THE PAPAL CURIA

THAT HE MIGHT INFORM HIM OF THEIR PROPOSAL

AND HAVE THE RULE THAT HE HAD WRITTEN CONFIRMED

1

Seeing that the Lord would increase his brothers in number and merit, since there were already twelve most perfect men expressing the same belief, blessed Francis said to the eleven, he being the twelfth, their leader and father: “Brothers, I see that the Lord mercifully wants to increase our congregation. Then, going to our mother, the holy Roman Church, let us inform the Supreme Pontiff what the Lord has begun to do through us, that, with his will and command, we may continue doing what we have undertaken.” – God loves you and He loves you tenderly. Turn to His goodness with every confidence.

2

And since the proposal of their father pleased the other brothers, and they had embarked together with him on the journey to the Curia, he said to them: “Let us make one of us our leader and consider that man a kind of vicar of Jesus Christ, so that wherever he wants to go, we will go, and whenever he wants to rest, we will rest.” – May Jesus comfort and bless you. Dispel childish fears.

3

And they chose Brother Bernard, the first after blessed Francis, and, as the father said, they served him. They, then, made their way rejoicing and spoke about the words of the Lord, not daring to say anything except for the praise and glory of God and the benefit of the soul, and they frequently spent time in prayer. The Lord, on the other hand, prepared lodging for them, doing what was necessary to minister to them.- May the Infant Jesus bless, comfort, reward you for what you bear for love of Him.

4

When they arrived in Rome and found the bishop of the city of Assisi there, they were received with immense joy, for he honored blessed Francis and all the brothers with special affection. Not knowing the reason for their arrival, he began to be apprehensive, fearing that they might want to leave their native land, where the Lord had begun to do marvelous things through them. For he rejoiced to have in his diocese such men whose life and conduct he greatly appreciated.- Let trials be great. The One Who permits them to you is greater and more provident.

5

After he learned their purpose and understood their plan, however, he was overjoyed and promised them his counsel and help. The bishop was known to the cardinal bishop of Sabina, named Lord John of Saint Paul, a man truly full of God’s grace, who loved, in particular, servants of God. The bishop of Assisi made the life of blessed Francis and his brothers clear to him. On this account, he was eager to meet the man of God and some of his brothers. Hearing that they were in the City, he sent for those men and welcomed them with great reverence and love.– Religion is the academy of perfection.

6

During the few days they were staying with that man, they so edified him with their holy words and example, that, seeing what he had heard about them to shine in deed, he commended himself humbly and devoutly to their prayers. He even asked them, as a special grace, to be considered one of their brothers. – The soul must learn to allow itself to be smoothed by the divine Spirit.

7

Then asking blessed Francis the reason why he came and hearing from him their entire proposal and intention, he offered to be their procurator at the Curia. That cardinal then went to the Curia and told the Lord Pope Innocent III: “I found a most perfect man, who wishes to live according to the form of the holy Gospel, and to observe evangelical perfection in all things. I believe that the Lord wills, through him, to reform the faith of the holy Church throughout the world.” Hearing this, the lord pope was greatly amazed and had the cardinal bring blessed Francis to him. – Make positive acts of love for God and confidence in His goodness.

8

On the following day, therefore, the man of God was presented by that cardinal to the pope, to whom he revealed his entire holy proposal. The pope, a man of extraordinary discernment, in due fashion assented to Francis’s request, and encouraged him and his brothers in many ways. He blessed them saying: “Go with the Lord, brothers, and as He will see fit to inspire you, preach penance to everyone. When almighty God increases you in number and grace, come back to us. We will grant you more, and entrust you with a greater charge.” – Take heart and do not fear. Jesus is with you.

9

Before the saint left his presence, the Lord Pope wanted to know whether what had been, and what would be conceded, was according to the Lord’s will. And so, he said to him and his companions: “My dear young sons, your life seems to Us exceptionally hard and severe. While we believe there can be no question about your living it because of your great zeal, We must take into consideration those who will come after you lest this way of life seem too burdensome.” – The best way to avoid falling is to lean on the cross.

10

So he said to blessed Francis: “My son, go and pray that God will reveal to you whether what you ask proceeds from His will. In this way, knowing the Lord’s will, we may accede to your desires.” Once God’s saint had prayed, as the Lord Pope suggested, the Lord spoke figuratively to him in spirit (relating the story of the poor and beautiful woman with many sons) – Courage, for the Lord is closer to you than ever before.

11

After he completed his prayer, he presented himself to the Supreme Pontiff and narrated point-by-point the story that the Lord had revealed to him. “My lord,” he said, “I am that little poor woman whom the loving Lord, in His mercy, has adorned, and through whom He has been pleased to give birth to legitimate sons. The King of kings had told me that He will nourish all the sons born to me, because, if He feeds strangers, He must provide for His own. For if God gives temporal goods to sinful men out of love for providing for His children, how much more will He give to Gospel men who deserve these things out of merit.” – Arm yourself with the beautiful virtue of trust in the Lord.

12

On hearing this, the pope was greatly amazed, especially since, before blessed Francis’s arrival, he had seen in a vision the church of Saint John Lateran threatening to collapse, and a religious, small and of shabby appearance, supporting it on his own shoulders. When he awoke, stunned and shaken, as a discerning and wise man He pondered what this vision meant to tell him.- Take heed of the assurances which God gives you.

13

A few days later, blessed Francis came to him, made known his proposal, as we have said, and asked him to confirm the rule he had written in simple words, using the words of the holy Gospel, for whose perfection he fully longed. As he was reflecting on how enthusiastic blessed Francis was in God’s service, and comparing his vision with that shown to the man of God, he began to say to himself: “This is indeed that holy and religious man through whom the church of God will be sustained and supported.” – Praise be Jesus who is Master of your heart, and will never cease to console you.

14

So he embraced him and approved the rule he had written. He also gave him and his brothers permission to preach penance everywhere, with the stipulation that the brothers who preach obtain permission from blessed Francis. Afterwards he approved this in a consistory. Therefore, after obtaining these favors, blessed Francis thanked God, and on bended knees, promised obedience and reverence to the Lord Pope humbly and devoutly. The other brothers, in accordance with the precept of the Lord Pope, promised obedience and reverence to blessed Francis in a similar way. – What a consolation it is to know almost with certainty that one possesses Jesus.

15

After receiving a blessing from the Supreme Pontiff and visiting the tombs of the Apostles, blessed Francis and the other eleven brothers were given the tonsure. With his brothers, (Francis) set out into the world, greatly growing each day in the hope and trust of the Savior. – Our justification by God is so enormous that sacred Scripture compares it  to the resurrection of Jesus.

 

Chapter XIII

THE EFFICACIOUS PREACHING OF BLESSED FRANCIS

AND THE FIRST PLACE HE HAD

HOW THE BROTHERS STAYED THERE AND HOW THEY LEFT

 

16

From then on, blessed Francis, going around the cities and villages, began to preach more widely and more perfectly proclaiming the kingdom of God with confidence, not in the persuasive words of human wisdom, but in the learning and power of the Holy Spirit. Strengthened by apostolic authority, he was a forthright preacher of truth, not using fawning words or seductive flattery, because he first convinced himself by action and then convinced others by word, so that he spoke the truth with the greatest fidelity. – God revealed His power more fully in our justification than in making heaven and earth from nothing.

17

Even a very great number of learned and well-educated people marveled at his power and truth, which no human had taught, and they hurried to see and hear him as if he were a person of another age. Drawn by divine inspiration, many people, well-born and lowly, cleric and lay, began to cling to blessed Francis’s footsteps, and, after they had abandoned the concerns and vanity of this world, to live under his discipline. – Non-existence has no power to resist God’s will, while the sinner is capable of resisting all of God’s wishes.

18

The blessed father with his sons were staying in a place near Assisi called Rivo Torto where there was a hut abandoned by all. The place was so cramped that they could barely sit or rest. Very often for lack of bread, their only food was the turnips that they begged in their need, here and there. – God’s grace has raised us to be nothing less than His own children.

19

The man of God would write the names of the brothers on the beams of that hut, so that anyone wishing to rest or pray would know his place, and so that any unusual noise would not disturb the mind’s silence in such small and close quarters. – God’s children are destined to reign with His Son for all eternity.

20

One day while the brothers were staying in that place, a peasant came with his donkey, wanting to stay in that hut with it. And so that he would not be driven away by the brothers, on walking into the hut, he said to his donkey: “Go in, go in, because we will do well in this place.” – The struggle can be harsh and the blow painful, but your gaze fixed on high.

21

Then the man of God said to his brothers: “I know, brothers, that God did not call us to prepare a lodging for a donkey, nor to have dealings with men. While we are preaching the way of salvation to people and are giving them wise counsel, we should dedicate ourselves most of all to prayer and thanksgiving.” – Take heart, Jesus makes you hear the same He allowed St. Paul to hear.

22

They left that hut for the use of poor lepers, moving to a small dwelling near Saint Mary of the Portiuncula where they stayed from time to time before acquiring that church. – Fight valiantly and you will receive the reward of strong souls.

23

Afterwards blessed Francis, in accordance with God’s will and inspiration, obtained it from the abbot of the monastery of Saint Benedict on Mount Subasio near Assisi. The saint, in a special and affectionate way, commended this place to the general minister and to all the brothers, as the place loved by the glorious Virgin more than any other place or church in this world. – Never abandon yourself to yourself.

24

A vision one of the brothers had, while in the world, contributed much to the commendation and love of this place. Blessed Francis loved this brother with unique affection as long as he was with him, by showing him extraordinary affection. – In times of great struggle and prostration turn to prayer and trust in God.

25

This man, wanting to serve God—as he later did so faithfully in religion—saw in a vision that all the people of the world were blind and were kneeling in a circle around the church of Saint Mary of the Portiuncula with their hands joined and their faces raised to heaven.- You will never be overcome by temptation if you turn to God in trust.

26

In a loud and sobbing voice, they were begging the Lord in his mercy to give them sight. While they were praying, it seemed that a great light came from heaven and, resting on them, enlightened all of them with its wholesome radiance. On awakening, the man resolved to serve God more faithfully, and, shortly thereafter, leaving the world with its seductions, he entered religion where he persevered in the service of God with humility and dedication. – The Lord will not permit any struggle to affect you that is beyond your strength.

 

Chapter XIV

THE CHAPTER THAT WAS HELD TWICE A YEAR AT

SAINT MARY OF THE PORTIUNCULA

 

27

After blessed Francis had obtained that place of Saint Mary from the abbot of Saint Benedict, he ordered that a chapter be held. At Pentecost, all the brothers used to gather at the church of Saint Mary and discuss how they could better observe the Rule. They appointed brothers throughout the various provinces who would preach to the people, and assigned other brothers in their provinces. – If you are despised by the world, enjoy it.

28

Saint Francis, however, used to give admonitions, corrections, and directives as it seemed to him to be according to the Lord’s counsel. Everything that he said to them in word, however, he would show them in deed with eagerness and affection. He used to revere prelates and priests of the holy Church, and honored the elderly, the noble, and the wealthy. Moreover, he intimately loved the poor, suffering deeply with them, and he showed himself subject to all. – In any privation, temptation, and trial, raise your eyes on high and redouble your courage.

29

Although he was more elevated than all the brothers, he still appointed one of the brothers staying with him as his guardian and master. He zealously used to admonish the brothers to observe the holy Gospel and the Rule which they had firmly promised; and particularly to be reverent and devoted about divine services and ecclesiastical regulations, hearing Mass devotedly, and adoring the Body of the Lord even more devotedly. – The Lord is with you, and there is no reason to fear.

30

He wanted priests who handle the tremendous and greatest sacraments to be honored uniquely by the brothers…He also admonished the brothers not to judge anyone, nor to look down upon those who live with refinement and dress extravagantly or fashionably. For, he would say, their God is ours, the Lord Who is capable of calling them to Himself and justifying those called. He also used to tell them he wanted the brothers to show reverence to these people as their brothers and lords. They are brothers, because we were all created by one Creator. – Place your desire for the world in the hands of heavenly Providence.

31

“The brothers’ way of life among the people should be such that whoever hears or sees them glorifies and praises the heavenly Father with dedication.” He used to tell them: “As you announce peace with your mouth, make sure that greater peace is in your hearts. Let no one be provoked to anger or scandal through you, but may everyone be drawn to peace, kindness, and harmony through your gentleness. For we have been called to this: to heal the wounded, bind up the broken, and recall the erring. In fact, many who seem to us to be members of the devil will yet be disciples of Christ.” – Maintain a tranquil heart amidst your multiple concerns.