Day 6 (feast of St. Francis Xavier): Let us prepare with renewed vigour and gratitude.
“Come, let us climb the LORD’s mountain,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
That he may instruct us in his ways,
and we may walk in his paths.” – Isaiah 2:1-5
Today is the feast of St. Francis Xavier, a Jesuit priest and missionary who traveled thousands of miles to spread the Word of God. He bravely ventured to many of these unknown places unable to speak the language of the locals, but his love of God was the only communication tool he really needed to find his way, and get his message across. And just as Francis Xavier set out on his intrepid voyage, in today’s reading from Isaiah, the house of Jacob is instructed to climb a mountain to reach the House of God. The long and arduous trek will be beset with difficulties and judgement, but the final destination will be full of glory.
Over the last year or so — due to COVID and all the resulting restrictions, job losses, and vaccine anxieties — it’s felt that our own life’s journey has been taking a lot of us along a very difficult path. At times that mountain climb has felt just a little too steep! Now, as winter kicks in, we’ve been left pretty exhausted and anxious for the future, but grateful to have got this far.
So the words from the end of today’s reading, instructing us to “walk in the light of the LORD,” seem the perfect pick-me-up. Resonating more loudly than ever, this simple message encourages us to prepare for the coming of Christ this Advent with renewed vigour and gratitude. It somehow feels the Lord’s light is shining even more brightly, allowing us to take confident strides as we aim for the top of that mountain, and look forward to the birth of Jesus Christ.
O God, who through the preaching of Saint Francis Xavier
won many peoples to yourself,
grant that the hearts of the faithful
may burn with the same zeal for the faith
and that Holy Church may everywhere rejoice
in an abundance of offspring.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.