The First Thursday of Advent

Saint Francis Xavier

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Today we remember Saint Francis Xavier, a Spanish priest who lived in the sixteenth century.  All saints live amazing lives, but I’m always fascinated by  the ones who can accomplish so much in a relatively short time on earth.  Francis lived only forty six years.  Ordained to the priesthood in 1537, his ministry lasted just fifteen years.

Francis gave up a successful life to join Ignatius Loyola in his new religious order which we know today as the Jesuits.  He left Europe and traveled to the far east, particularly to India and then Japan, to spread the word of God and to live among the poor and care for the sick, especially the lepers.

He established missions in Japan and planned to do the same in China.  Unfortunately he died on his way to China on an island off the coast.

When I look at someone like Saint Francis who manages to do so much to spread the faith in such a few years it makes me think about time.  After all, Jesus’ ministry lasted just three years.  It’s tempting to say that I don’t have enough time to do great things, but when I look at men like Francis and even Jesus himself, it seems like a pretty feeble excuse.

Maybe, during these days of preparation for the coming of the Baby Jesus, we can reflect on how we use our time.  What frivolous things can we eliminate from our lives and what positive things can we do with the time that we save?

Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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