There is nobody to make them Christians…

December 3: St. Francis Xavier

Second reading, from the letters to Saint Ignatius by Saint Francis Xavier, priest

“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.

About The Codgitator (a cadgertator)

Catholic convert. Quasi-Zorbatic. Freelance interpreter, translator, and web marketer. Former ESL teacher in Taiwan (2003-2012) and former public high school teacher (2012-2014). Married father of three. Multilingual, would-be scholar, and fairly consistent fitness monkey. My research interests include: the interface of religion and science, the history and philosophy of science and technology, ancient and medieval philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience. Please pray for me.
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5 Responses to There is nobody to make them Christians…

  1. “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel”

    Here is the great Cornelius a Lapide on that verse (1 Corinth 9:16)

    Ver. 16.—Woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel. It appears from this that strict injunctions were given to the Apostles (S. Matt. xxviii. 19) to preach the Gospel and teach all nations, insomuch that, if they had neglected to do so, they would have sinned mortally. For on those that neglect this their duty he pronounces the woe of the wrath of God and of hell. By the same injunctions all pasters, Bishops, and Archbishops are now bound. Cf. chap. i. 17.

    A major reason we trads must pray for our Pope and local Ordinary is that they do not preach the Gospel and so their souls are in jeopardy.

  2. joe m says:

    Yes, but naive Xavier believed that “no salvation outside the Church” actually meant something kind of like there’s no salvation outside the Church. i mean, really, how can you get anywhere with a dated saint like that?

  3. Expunge him! Replace him with Bonhoeffer!

  4. Today is the Feast day of the GREAT Bishop of Milan, Saint, and Doctor, Ambrose, who was just somewhat different than another Bishop of Milan, Montini..

    In any event, while Our Pope and Our Cross goes into a Mosque, removes his shoes, and faces Mecca to show the world just how much he respects that false, malign, and deadly, religion, Ambrose said of the false religion of the Roman Emperors…

    I hate the religion of the Neros

    Now, one is tempted to merely set that statement in opposition to the praxis of modern Popes and Religious Liberty (JP II and Benedict also made their Mosque visits) without stopping to think of how those two realities set before us the galactic distance now existing between the fullness of faith then and the modern praxis of the Faith now in which Ecumenism and Indifference have shrunk the Church rather than expanding it as some thought such actions would.

    The more inclusive we are the smaller we become.

    But that ineluctable and observable process does not even make us consider stopping what we are doing; no, rather, we are increasing and intensifying ecumenism and indifference and so the Shadow Church will soon appear to evaporate before our eyes and one wonders whether to cheer or cry as it disappears.

    It is only by living in Gueranger’s Liturgical Year that ABS survives for he is constrained to assist at the Lil’ Licit Liturgy

  5. joe m says:

    “Replace him with Bonhoeffer!” I think both the Catholics and the Evangelicals already have.

Be kind, be (relatively) brief, be clear...

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