Weekend Reflections for 11/6/15
Francis Xavier met Ignatius as a student at the University of Paris. Xavier was on his way to a successful career. Xavier was smart, wealthy, athletic, and good looking-and he knew it. Ignatius drew Xavier into conversation over a period of weeks and months. Gradually, Xavier made the Spiritual Exercises under Ignatius' direction. Xavier slowly watched his dreams crack and crumble. During the retreat, he saw his own pride, vanity, sin, and superficiality. But the cracking and crumbling was like the shell of a perfect egg breaking open so that the bird within could emerge, stand erect, and fly. During his retreat, Xavier wept over his sins-but these were cleansing tears, and a renewal of his baptism. Christ had broken open Xavier's heart to reveal a heart like His Sacred Heart.
Xavier became the greatest missionary of his century. He saw lands in Asia that most Europeans only dreamed of. He learned foreign languages and cultures, and came to know and love the people in these lands. He baptized thousands, even tens of thousands. Xavier wasn't even Ignatius' first choice for this mission. The other Jesuit was too sick to board the boat for India; at the last minute, Ignatius asked Xavier to go instead. Xavier said, "I'm ready now," grabbed his prayer book and boarded the ship.
In the second reading at Sunday's Mass, we hear that Christ is the Great High Priest who offers Himself to the Father as the perfect sacrifice. Francis Xavier offered himself to Christ as a Jesuit, priest and missionary. Like Christ, Xavier still intercedes for us. Like Christ, he wants us to join him in heaven.
-Fr. Joe Laramie, S.J.