December 3: St. Francis Xavier as an Advent Example

Published December 3, 2015 by Unprodigal Daughter

Thursday

Today is the memorial of St. Francis Xavier, a Spanish priest who lived in the 1500’s. Sometimes it is difficult for us to find relevance to the hundreds of thousands of saints that have existed throughout the history of the Church. However, St. Francis Xavier sets an example for us that is especially helpful this Advent through his work as a missionary.

Francis is known for being the second most successful missionary in Catholic history–second only to St. Paul of Tarsus! In his lifetime, Francis was responsible for converting more than 50,000 people in ten years (source). With that kind of dedication to spreading the Gospel, he had to be extremely good at it.

In our time, we can spread the Gospel with ease–through social networking, texting, emailing, etc. It is not difficult to get the message out there. Telling the actual story of Jesus is a fairly simple task today–much of the world already knows his story, but that is different from truly knowing Christ. The reason St. Francis Xavier was so successful and the reason we struggle today is that missionaries should convert through their actions, not words.

If we wanted to get the attention of 50,000 people, we would have to show them something they have never seen before. This Advent season, let’s challenge ourselves to be missionaries who “walk the walk” and not just “talk the talk”. Oftentimes we take advantage of the many charitable opportunities and donate money or time during Advent. These things are excellent examples of living the Gospels, but we can do better.

Are you ever tempted to put someone down that you disagree with politically? Have you judged others unfairly, particularly people you do not know (like famous people)? Do you ever exclude others at church, work, school, etc. through cliques? These are all ways that we do not act Christlike in our daily lives, but if we live out our call to be missionaries like St. Francis Xavier, we will attempt to mend our errors and befriend people that make us uncomfortable. If we disagree with someone, we can pray for strength to understand another’s perspective. Instead of becoming angry with others, or making fun of others’ faults, we can look for the good things about people we dislike. It will make it easier for us to love them, and as a result, it will make us better examples of how to be Christlike.

Let us all approach Christmas with love in our hearts and love in our actions.

Opening Prayer

Lord Jesus,
You have sent us to proclaim the Gospel to all nations,
and have promised to always remain with us.
Look upon this family
gathered on the feast day of St. Francis Xavier.
Pour out the abundance of your Spirit
upon each one of our brothers and sisters
especially on those who are called to ponder
upon the journey made
and to plan what has still to be done,
so that we may offer a more authentic service to mission.
Grant that we may ever be faithful to the Gospel
and to give an answer
to the hopes which the world places before your church today.
Stay with us, Lord,
when we gather around the table of your Bread and your Word,
and when we walk the paths of the world
side by side with our brothers and sisters.
Grant that we all find ourselves in heaven, our homeland,
after having been members of the same family on earth.

Amen.

(taken from http://www.liturgies.net/saints/francisxavier/prayers.htm.)

Daily Readings

Reading 1: IS 26:1-6

On that day they will sing this song in the land of Judah:

“A strong city have we;
he sets up walls and ramparts to protect us.
Open up the gates
to let in a nation that is just,
one that keeps faith.
A nation of firm purpose you keep in peace;
in peace, for its trust in you.”

Trust in the LORD forever!
For the LORD is an eternal Rock.
He humbles those in high places,
and the lofty city he brings down;
He tumbles it to the ground,
levels it with the dust.
It is trampled underfoot by the needy,
by the footsteps of the poor.

______________
Responsorial Psalm: PS 118:1 AND 8-9, 19-21, 25-27A

R.  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in princes.
R. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Open to me the gates of justice;
I will enter them and give thanks to the LORD.
This gate is the LORD’s;
the just shall enter it.
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
and have been my savior.
R. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

O LORD, grant salvation!
O LORD, grant prosperity!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD;
we bless you from the house of the LORD.
The LORD is God, and he has given us light.
R. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

____________________

Gospel MT 7:21, 24-27

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’
will enter the Kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them
will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.
And everyone who listens to these words of mine
but does not act on them
will be like a fool who built his house on sand.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”

Multimedia

In today’s Gospel, Christ warns us that if we do not follow his words, then we are like fools who build our homes on sand. Let us be like Francis Xavier and follow Christ’s words. For more information on St. Francis Xavier’s life, enjoy this clip.

Additional Resources

For outside assistance on your Advent prayer life, you can sign up for author Matthew Kelly’s “Best Advent Ever” on his website.

Closing Prayer

Lord God of compassion and mercy,
you opened a door in the East for St. Francis Xavier
when you sent him to preach your Gospel.
Send us in our day over the face of the earth,
so that the joy of our Mother, the Church,
may be made perfect.

Amen.

 (taken from http://www.liturgies.net/saints/francisxavier/prayers.htm.)

 

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