Memorial of St. Francis Xavier, priest
Today’s gospel is an adventure. In the gospel for the Feast of Francis Xavier, we hear the Great Commision, to go to the ends of the world and baptize. Xavier was certainly one who did that–travelling to the edge of the known world and introducing countless numbers to Christianity. But after the initial romance of adventure wears off, there is still the reality of where he is. Francis endured many hardships. The place was hot. The language was unfamiliar. The lodging was uncomfortable. Francis was on an adventure, but not an idyllic one.
But in the midst of all the hardships, Xavier was not alone. His letters back to Ignatius reveal a man who is burning with love for Jesus, and who feels Jesus with him every step of the way. And he has his friends, even though they are separated by distance. The letters between Ignatius and Xavier are a moving testament to a great spiritual friendship–Francis even having sewn a part of a letter from Ignatius into his cassock, so as always to have a reminder of his friend near him. God asked much of Francis, but He never asked Francis to go it alone. There are no burdens we bear which we are to bear by ourselves. Adventures from God are a group project.