Our mission field is our own back yard. The West is pre-Christian - not Post-Christian! Rather than waste any more time bemoaning this fact, rather than join the naysayers, it is time to enter into the new missionary age which stretches out before us. All we need is the intimate personal communion with the Risen Lord Jesus which so obviously motivated St. Francis Xavier and the evangelical courage which is its fruit. It is time to get to work
CHESAPEAKE, Va. (Catholic Online) - On December 3 the Western Church remembers the great disciple of Jesus Christ and follower of St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Francis Xavier. His missionary voyages to Japan and to India continue to bear extraordinary fruit centuries later as we witness the courageous witness of the Christians of our day in both lands.
St. Francis Xavier arrived in the Land of the Rising Sun, Japan, in 1549. Sixty years after he began his missionary work, the Shogun began their violent persecution against the Christians. The evil inflicted in that persecution did not stop those who had heard the Gospel from the mouth of this Saint. In fact, as has been the case throughout the ages, their blood became the "seed of the Church" in Japan and beyond. Nothing - and no-one- can stop the advance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the spread of His Kingdom.
On his Feast, I present this excerpt from one of St. Francis Xavier's Letters to Ignatius Loyola. The missionary spirit which it reveals is also alive in the Church in this hour. It is alive in the New Ecclesial movements. It is live in the religious communities which are springing up as new shoots in the One Vine and the renewed ones which are rediscovering their charism. It is alive on the authentically Catholic Colleges and Universities which are forming the new saints, missionaries and martyrs for the Third Millennium. Some of them are new, others are being renewed.
Is it alive in you and me? Do we view our vocation, no matter what our state in life, as missionary? All of us can - and should - burn with the same missionary fire which animated this great saint. It is the fire of the Holy Spirit. We should cry out those words of the great Apostle Paul "Woe unto me if I dod not preach the Gospel." (1 Cor. 9:16)
It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ - preached and lived in its fullness - which is the liberating message the whole world longs to hear. In Jesus Christ we can all be made new! The West staggers under the lies and deception of an advancing new paganism which offers only the old slavery of sin and despair which has accompanied every culture of death and use from the time the old foe lied to our first parents. It is the Church of jesus Christ which offers Life and Freedom!
What the West needs - more than anything else - right now - is conversion. The real kind - the kind which comes through encountering the Savior as He lives His Risen Life in the Heart of His Church for the sake of the world which He still loves. Those of us who have the privilege of being Catholic Christians have the highest of obligations. "To those to whom much is given, much more will be required!" (Luke 12:48)
Our mission field is our own back yard. The West is pre-Christian - not Post-Christian! Rather than waste any more time bemoaning this fact, rather than join the naysayers, it is time to enter into the new missionary age which stretches out before us. All we need is the intimate personal communion with the Risen Lord Jesus which so obviously motivated St. Francis Xavier and the evangelical courage which is its fruit. It is time to get to work.
Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel
We have visited the villages of the new converts who accepted the Christian religion a few years ago. No Portuguese live here the country is so utterly barren and poor. The native Christians have no priests. They know only that they are Christians. There is nobody to say Mass for them; nobody to teach them the Creed, the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Commandments of God's Law.
I have not stopped since the day I arrived. I conscientiously made the rounds of the villages. I bathed in the sacred waters all the children who had not yet been baptized. This means that I have purified a very large number of children so young that, as the saying goes, they could not tell their right hand from their left. The older children would not let me say my Office or eat or sleep until I taught them one prayer or another. Then I began to understand: "The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
I could not refuse so devout a request without failing in devotion myself. I taught them, first the confession of faith in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, then the Apostles' Creed, the Our Father and Hail Mary. I noticed among them persons of great intelligence. If only someone could educate them in the Christian way of life, I have no doubt that they would make excellent Christians.
Many, many people hereabouts are not becoming Christians for one reason only: there is nobody to make them Christians. Again and again I have thought of going round the universities of Europe, especially Paris, and everywhere crying out like a madman, riveting the attention of those with more learning than charity: "What a tragedy: how many souls are being shut out of heaven and falling into hell, thanks to you!"
I wish they would work as hard at this as they do at their books, and so settle their account with God for their learning and the talents entrusted to them.
This thought would certainly stir most of them to meditate on spiritual realities, to listen actively to what God is saying to them. They would forget their own desires, their human affairs, and give themselves over entirely to God's will and his choice. They would cry out with all their heart: Lord, I am here! What do you want me to do? Send me anywhere you like - even to India.
By Jennifer Hartline
St. Therese helps me understand: "the splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not take away the perfume of the little violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy.if all flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime beauty, and the ... continue reading
By Fr. Dwight Longenecker
I was an Anglican priest the summer I met St Therese of Lisieux. I was living in England and had three months free between jobs, so I decided to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. I was going to hitch hike and stay in monasteries and religious houses on the way. ... continue reading
By F. K. Bartels
The Little Flower of Jesus sacrificed her life for love of souls. She saw the magnitude of her Beloved's love for them. She offered herself for the building up of the Church, the People of God and the Mystical Body of Christ. That is truly a ... continue reading
By Youngsun Jun
Though I am not strong enough to hold the suffering souls in my arms and carry them home, I can do one thing: I can pray for the deliverance of the souls who are in the darkness. I can request help from the angels for them. I can make a 911 call for them. So again, I ... continue reading
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Saint Junipero Serra, pray for us! Saint Junipero Serra, your missionary zeal brought the light of Christ to millions. You endured so many hardships, and labored so much that your work resonates today in the hearts of hundreds of millions of Catholics. Saint Serra, I ... continue reading
By Deacon Keith A Fournier
Over the centuries, the Jesuits have been relied upon by Popes as trustworthy, heroic soldiers for Jesus Christ and His Church. Yes, there have been times when the company seemed to lose its fervor. However, Jesus Christ the King has always sent His Spirit to ... continue reading
By Deacon Keith A Fournier
On July 15th in the Liturgical Calendar of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, we commemorate the life, holiness, work and death of a great Bishop and Doctor named Bonaventure. He was born in 1218, became a Franciscan Friar in 1243, and died in 1274. A friend ... continue reading
By Justin Soutar
During his visit to the United States this coming September, Pope Francis will canonize Blessed Junipero Serra, the heroic 'Apostle of California.' Once that happens, the Golden State will have its own patron saint and the Church will have another great missionary role ... continue reading
By Alex Basile
Every carpenter must practice patience. We can learn important lessons from the wood shop in Nazareth from the humble Saint Joseph. I have always been a "do it yourself" type of guy thanks to my father. My dad is always a steady presence during my home-improvement ... continue reading
By Deacon Keith Fournier
This great defender of the faith insisted on the central claim of Christianity: God can be known and loved-indeed, that is why He came into our midst in the person of His Son; so that through a relationship with Jesus Christ, man could participate in the ... continue reading