"It is good to ask ourselves what exactly
WE are doing to prepare the way of the Lord's Coming."
We have just started the holy and penitential season of Advent when our Church asks us, as St. John the Baptist exhorted his hearers, "to prepare the way of the Lord and make straight the paths for the coming of the Lord."
None of us will ever know if this forthcoming Advent of the Lord will happen in our lifetime or at our own end--death--both of which could happen at any time. Hence the importance of getting ourselves prepared for the Lord.
To encourage and inspire us to do this, the Church has the sanctural cycle, interspersed throughout the liturgical year, wherein we are given the opportunity to follow the inspiring examples of the saints and what they did to prepare for the Lord's coming.
One such saint at the very start of the Holy Season is St. Francis Xavier, whose feast day we celebrate on December 3rd.
I am fascinated by his dedicated life, spreading the Gospel of Jesus. It was a long and cherished dream of mine to visit and pray at the basilica of Born Jesus in Goa, India, where his incorrupt mortal body is reverently kept for public veneration. It was truly an experience to behold the mortal remains of this great man of faith.
How inspiring his short forty-six years of life were!
Born into a very aristocratic family in Spain on April 7, 1506, he lived a very worldly life in his youth. While a student at the University of Paris, he changed his way of life through his long-lasting friendship with Ignatius of Loyola, who challenged him with the words of Jesus: "What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but suffers the loss of his soul."
These immortal words of the Lord lead him to dedicate his life totally to Christ as His priest.
As an ardent missionary of the Lord, Francis Xavier set sail for Goa--a Portuguese Colony at the time-- without any knowledge of the local language, customs or particular way of life of the people he came to evangelize. But we know that he was armed with the unflinching and ardent love of Jesus, His Master, to share the Good News of the Gospel.
It is truly mind-boggling that this man of faith, within the short span of just ten years (1542-1552), converted and baptized more people than anyone other than St. Paul. He visited the southern kingdoms of India, Indonesia, Ceylon, Japan and many islands of the Pacific. His one desire was to go to China to bring Jesus' message to the Chinese. However, while still off the coast of China, the Lord called Francis Xavier to his well-deserved rest on December 3, 1552.
Dear Friends, as we are in the second week of Advent, it's good for us to ask ourselves what exactly WE are doing to prepare the way of the Lord's coming. At the end of this holy season, we are getting ready to celebrate the glorious birth of Jesus. The world at large does not know, nor care to know, why Jesus came into our world. We are the privileged few who are given the opportunity to know and be empowered by Him.
Does the life of St. Francis Xavier ring a bell in our own hearts? Remember that the Lord came to do for us as He did in Francis Xavier!
Let us pray for one another.