Some people go up in the world! When this homily was preached (to the team of spiritual directors at Loyola Hall Retreat House) on this day in 2004 Pierre Favre was merely ‘Blessed’ but last year he was declared a Saint by Pope Francis. Actually, of all Jesuits Pierre is the least likely to relish ‘going up in the world’.
For some extra reading about Favre I recommend this article by a friend of mine Edel McClean.
Readings: Jer 28:1-17; Matt 14:13-21
Here’s an image I like: Paris; Ignatius 38 years old and struggling in studies, sharing a room with Pierre Favre just 23. Pierre wrote later:
“That year Inigo entered the College of Sainte-Barbe and lived in the same room with us, with the intention of following the course in arts. And it was our master who was in charge of this course. … After it had been set that I would teach this holy man, it followed that at first we had a rather casual relationship and then I became very close to him, and finally we led a life in common where the two of us had the same room, the same table, the same purse.”
The other room-mate was Francis Xavier whose exploits turned out to be altogether showier than Favre’s but it is to Favre that we owe the work we do here. Ignatius gave the Exercises to the young Favre and then set him to find others who would benefit from them. One of the people Favre gave them to was a man named Dominic, who gave them to another man who gave them to another man, or to a woman who gave them to another woman.
For all of these centuries, someone has been giving these Exercises in person to another person who has handed them on in turn. We find ourselves a living link in that tradition.
We might not be fabled missionaries like Xavier but we bring our little loaves and few fish to be blessed and broken and shared, trusting that God will take care of the rest.