Feast of Saint Francis Xavier, by Father Médaille

detail from the painting 'Saint Gregory the Great with Saints Ignatius and Francis Xavier', by Guercino, c.1626, oil on canvas, National Gallery, London, England“I became all things to all men.” – I Corinthians 9:22

Saint Francis Xavier was all for God; all his person, plans, labours, and the whole of his life. Let us recall to mind part of what he did to make God known and loved. How happy should we be, were our thoughts, designs, and whole life devoted to God’s service!

Saint Francis Xavier was all for his neighbour. How much he undertook, how much he accomplished, and how much he endured for the salvation of souls! The faithful whom he baptised are reckoned by hundreds of thousands, and the portions of the earth won by him for God and the Church, are mapped out by provinces and kingdoms. Let us be ashamed of our unwillingness to work assiduously for God.

Saint Francis Xavier was all for himself, Whilst labouring for others, he thought ever about securing his own salvation and perfection. His examinations of conscience, his prolonged meditations, his seclusion whenever he could manage to be in some solitude or at the foot of the altar, together with his constant mortifications, make clear that he never forgot himself. Unless we labour earnestly to save our own soul, we shall never be fit to win other souls to God.

On the Death of Saint Francis Xavier

Three things made the death of Saint Francis Xavier holy and surpassingly sweet. The first was the prodigious number of good works and holy actions he had performed during life. These are the lamps which he held while waiting for the Bridegroom: “Lamps burning in your hands.” (Luke 12:35) “So let your light shine.” (Matthew 5:16) Let us do good while able, and our death will be a good one.

The second thing was the saintly habits he had contracted during life, which caused him to act as a Saint when dying. He believed, hoped, loved, and lovingly pronounced the holy Names of Jesus and Mary, because he had done all this throughout his life. Let us form holy habits; they will influence us at the hour of death.

The third cause of his holy death was the Providence of God, He had abandoned himself to God s care during his life, and God had care for his death. It was not God s will that he should have any human help to comfort him; Providence alone consoled him in death as it had been his trust in life. He died in the arms of Him to Whom he had given himself. Let us surrender ourselves to the same loving Providence, and it will take care for our death.