Most of us know the other Francis–of Assisi. This is the man from whom the current pope chose his name, despite being a Jesuit. St. Francis of Xavier was one of the first to join the Society of Jesus in Paris with St. Ignatius. A relic of Xavier is heading across Canada right now, encouraging hundreds to come out and venerate his right arm that has not completely decomposed 465 years later. I felt a deep call to attend part of the day and was blessed when a friend agreed to take me.
I had an appointment regarding my cast which ended up being taken off that morning and I wondered if I would be able to arrive in time for noon mass and veneration. The line ups were short at the clinic and my friend and I were able to breeze through everything plus grab a bite to eat before heading downtown to the Cathedral. Miraculously, if we believe in small wonders, we found a parking spot right in front of the wheelchair accessible door. I was greeted by a friend who knew me who I had not seen in some time. We hugged and spoke briefly before I entered the sanctuary. The queue was short and so without even thinking I rolled up to the relic on my scooter. I am unsure exactly when they had closed the veneration, but they let me venerate it anyway. They were all very kind in doing so. My friend was unable to do so but she stood there looking at it, while I prayed. We found accessible seats right at the front of the church. The procession came right by us and the archbishop nodded and said good morning to me.
The mass was beautiful, my first since Christmas Eve. I loved every second of the celebration, so grateful to be able to attend. The Eucharist was brought directly to me. I was able to be present in a focused way. Despite this not being my own parish, I knew I was home and welcome at the table.
This first class relic had brought a full house to see it. As I listened to the archbishop speak about the relic, its purpose, the Jesuits, healing, vocation, and so many sub-themes, I had to think that what we do in life has meaning. Here was a man who had baptized thousands of people and healed many more, including raising someone from the dead. The arm was brought to Canada in hopes of converting people back to the faith, to have people, especially the youth, consider their own missionary calling in light of Xavier’s, and to heal people. As I read this, each of the purposes of this relic’s tour touched my own heart. I am in need of drawing ever closer to Christ as I come near my last breath. I ask myself often how best to serve my Creator in the time I have left. I am well aware of how much healing I must yet experience. Then, of course, a miracle cure is on many minds and hearts for me.
What I do with the remainder of my life is important to me. I struggle to rise above the weariness currently clinging to me. Today I slept half the day away and still hope to be in bed by midnight. I rested well and know that is what I need to do. Each day I try to reach out to someone to encourage them or bring a splash of joy if I can. I am hoping that once my ankle is healed more completely that I will have more energy.
One of the attractions for me to Xavier is that he never made it to the place he wanted to serve. He died within sight of China. We humans have our own agendas. God has the master plan though. Almost five centuries later, Xavier still lives on converting, evangelizing, affirming, encouraging, and healing. He is still capable of reaching hearts which is what God perhaps wanted him to do. We do not see the bigger design. We must merely trust that God is at work. I may not do all that I had hoped with my life, but I have done enough. I know that God will somehow use that in ways unbeknownst to me on this side of that thin veil.
Have you ever seen the relic of a saint before? How has it effected you?
What is it that you do that serves the Divine’s purpose?
Creator, may I serve you in all I do, with a pure heart and a joy that is infectious. May people look at me and see you at work within me. Amen.