St Francis Xavier

I have one image of Francis Xavier that I hold dear. It isn’t of him before the warlords of Japan; it isn’t of him baptising thousands in one day; it isn’t even of him dying within sight of that further shore his zeal for souls urged him onto.
My image is a more humble one. It’s the way Francisco would take the fond letters sent to him by Ignatius and the other companions and carefully cut out their signatures so he could pin them inside his cassock over his heart. As he wrote to Ignatius: ‘these I carry always with me to be my solace and refreshment’.
Heroic zeal is a good thing. Wise apostolic inculturation is maybe even better. But Francis reminds me that good things only grow in good soil, long prepared with love.
So, I pray for the zeal and I pray for the wisdom but, before both, I pray to be rooted in rich relationships that will give meaning and warmth to the whole enterprise.