Sub-Saharan Africa, 03 December, 2023 / 11:15 am (ACI Africa).
On Dec. 3, the Roman Catholic Church honors St. Francis Xavier, one of the first Jesuits who went on to evangelize vast portions of Asia.
Francis Xavier was born during 1506 in the Kingdom of Navarre, a region now divided between Spain and France. His mother was an esteemed heiress, and his father an adviser to King John III. While his brothers entered the military, Francis followed an intellectual path to a college in Paris. There he studied philosophy, and later taught it after earning his masters degree.
In Paris, the young man would discover his destiny with the help of his long-time friend Peter Faber, and an older student named Ignatius Loyola – who came to Paris in 1528 to finish a degree, and brought together a group of men looking to glorify God with their lives.
At first, personal ambition kept Francis from heeding God's call. Ignatius' humble and austere lifestyle did not appeal to him. But the older student, who had undergone a dramatic conversion, often posed Christ's question to Francis: “What will it profit a man to gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
Gradually, Ignatius convinced the young man to give up his own plans and open his mind to God's will. In 1534, Francis Xavier, Peter Faber, and four other men joined Ignatius in making a vow of poverty, chastity, and dedication to the spread of the Gospel through personal obedience to the Pope.