From a Creighton Student's Perspective
November 29th , 2007
Sophomore; Theology Major
There is a legend that Saint Francis Xavier was sailing to China from Japan on a mission. Midway through the journey, the ship was struck by a terrible storm and the men aboard were terrified. Xavier, almost unaffected, held up his crucifix to the sky and called upon the Lord to deliver them. The storm was immediately settled and the ship passed by safely. Calming the storm was Xavier’s fourth miracle, canonizing him as a Saint in the Church, and his courage through desolation is the reason we honor him.
In the Gospel today, the author paints a pretty horrifying picture of a time of desolation. Death and destruction are promised to Jerusalem, and the people are warned to leave the city. Punishment is at hand and this time is specifically referred to as desolation. This is somewhat similar to what Xavier had encountered and to what many of us encounter in our own lives. Clearly our desolation is not on such an epic scale, however like the people in the passage, our faiths are tested in times of spiritual and physical desolation. It is in times like these when it is hardest to seek God, however ironically these are the same times when we are most apt to find God.
What we have to learn from Xavier is that he was trusting and therefore fearless. Despite being faced with shipwreck and death, he not only chose to call upon God for help, but he trusted and yes, expected that God would answer. There are a couple things we need to learn from this. One, that in times of difficulty and despair, we must choose to let go of our lives so that God can ultimately take over. And two, that we must trust our God to be faithful. How many times do we simply wiz through our prayers as if a routine, clearly expecting nothing to happen? The Gospel calls us out on this point and urges us to raise our heads, our life, and our hearts to Heaven.
After the storm was calmed on the sea, Xavier landed on a coastal island of China. Upon setting foot on the beach, Xavier laid down on the sand and died of exhaustion. I like to think of the ending to his story as one of rest. Through all of his travels as a Jesuit missionary, Xavier learned what it meant to truly and faithfully rely on God. In the end, God rewarded him with eternal rest.
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