Today is the Feast of Saint Francis Xavier! Known as perhaps the greatest missionary since Saint Paul, Saint Francis was one of the founders of the Society of Jesus, along with Saint Ignatius of Loyola, and spent a great deal of his life in India and the Far East, including Japan, China, Indonesia, and the islands of the Indian Ocean.
Saint Francis was a peculiar case for a missionary. Born in his family’s castle near the famous town of Pamplona in Spain, he was an intelligent young man. Francis was sent to the University of Paris, after which he met Saint Ignatius of Loyola and the rest of the men who founded the Society of Jesus.
He was not one of the originally planned missionaries for India, to evangelize the new Portuguese holdings in the area, but when another missionary became ill, Saint Ignatius requested that Saint Francis go instead. The decision was made with hesitation and uneasiness among the Jesuits, but it ended up being the genesis of one of the most important lives in the history of the Catholic Church.
This willingness to sacrifice for Our Lord should be taken into consideration in today’s world. Though Saint Francis faced language barriers, cultural resistance, and political machinations back in Europe, his zeal for the Faith carried him and allowed him to do God’s will.
His example is an obvious one to take to heart: sacrifice for God, and He will provide. Even when things appear to be the most off-track, God has a plan. While not everybody is called to evangelize foreign countries, even the smallest things can lead to important changes.
He lives with his lovely wife and eleven kids in northern Colorado.