Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Quotes From St. Francis Xavier

On December 3, the Church celebrates the feast of St. Francis Xavier, patron saint of missionaries. St. Francis Xavier was a Jesuit missionary best known for the thousands of people he brought to conversion and Baptism in India and Japan. In a letter he wrote from the missionary fields in India, he described the amount of people he Baptized in vivid language:
"As to the numbers who become Christians, you may understand them from this, that it often happens to me to be hardly able to use my hands from the fatigue of baptizing: often in a single day I have baptized whole villages. Sometimes I have lost my voice and strength altogether with repeating again and again the Credo and the other forms."

Here's an interesting fact about St. Francis Xavier that I found in Saints for Young Readers for Every Day, Vol. 2: July-December : Pope Gregory XV canonized St. Francis Xavier in 1622 along with Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Avila, Philip Neri and Isidore the Farmer.  WOW!  What a lineup!  I can only imagine the graces that must have flowed at that Canonization. Thank you Lord for your saints!

The book also describes St. Francis Xavier's heroism and determination to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ using these powerful "tools": his gentle polite ways and his prayers. Double WOW!  There are lots of times I think that I don't have the right "tools" to spread the Gospel even in my small corner of the world. That fact is, we cannot underestimate the effectiveness our faith, virtue and prayers can have in any evangelization effort - even those that occur around our kitchen table! We too can be a powerful missionary like St. Francis Xavier if we, like him, abandon ourselves completely to the Lord with faithful, simplel trust.

Below are 5 quotes from St. Francis Xavier which touched me:

-1-
 As a parent, the wisdom of these words St. Francis Xavier's words really struck me - trying to correct my children when we are at odds with one another is an exercise in frustration and futility. It is far easier to calmly discuss behavior that needs to change when the environment is one of love, trust and peace.  
-2-
When trying to evangelize, no tool is more effective than that of personal witness.  Humbly sharing our own struggles which have been overcome by God's great love and mercy can soften even the hardest and most stubborn of hearts.  People can argue with points of doctrine, but no one can argue with a personal testimony!


-3-
These words, written in a letter by St. Francis Xavier, lament the lack of educated missionaries willing to use their gifts to teach the multitudes in India about Christ and the Christian faith. In the letter, St. Francis Xavier spoke of wanting to go to the Universities of Europe and challenge those in attendance as to what the purpose of all their learning was. I was so convicted by these words - which echo the Lord's words to use the gift and talents God has blessed us with in the service of the Gospel.

-4-
Powerful words about the primacy of our intention, motive and level of faith in the Lord when we come to serve him. 



-5-
These words were spoken by St. Francis Xavier immediately prior to his death, while gazing at a crucifix:




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