St Francis Xavier, Confessor; com. of Advent I: Missa “Loquébar“
Saint Francis Xavier was not born a saint. He had to work at it for in the dangerous days of the Reformation, as young Spanish gentleman, he was making a name for himself as a professor of philosophy at the University of Paris. He was aspiring, apparently, to a high dignity, until Saint Ignatius of Loyola decided to undertake the spiritual conquest of this ardent soul. “What does it profit a man to gain the entire world, if he suffers the loss of his soul?” Ignatius often repeated to the brilliant teacher. The words of Christ, joined to the example of Ignatius and his disciples, prevailed. It was not long before his gifted friend decided to labor for the glory of God, by adopting the evangelical life of an apostle, to which he was indeed called. He was among the first five members of the Society of Jesus, those who with Ignatius made their religious vows in the church of Montmartre in Paris, on the feast of the Assumption in 1534.
On his way to Rome with the others, handicapped by severe penances he had imposed on himself, he remained in Venice and exercised a brief apostolate by caring for the sick in the city hospital. The others waited for him to regain his ability to walk. These first fervent Jesuits were intending to embark for the Holy Land, but were prevented by a war. In Rome, Francis again went to a hospital to serve the sick; he also visited the prisons to encourage and console the poor inmates, while preparing for ordination with the others, according to the desire of the pope.
Saint Ignatius having remained in Venice, the other five returned there afterwards. Francis was sent by Saint Ignatius to the Orient in 1534, where for twelve years he labored unceasingly to win souls, sleeping only three hours a night, eating very little, and bearing the Gospel to Hindustan, to Malacca, and as far as Japan. At all times thwarted by jealousy, covetousness, and the carelessness of those who should have helped and encouraged him, he did not slacken in his apostolic endeavors despite opposition and the difficulties of every sort which he encountered. The gift of tongues and miracles accompanied him everywhere; he resurrected several dead persons. And his inexhaustible kindness was not the least of his assets in winning thousands of pagans to the Faith. He baptized so many that his arm became virtually disabled, ten thousand in a single month in the kingdom of Trevancor, where in the same space of time he saw to the building of forty-five churches. At Meliapour, site of the martyrdom of Saint Thomas the Apostle, he found the marble on which the Apostle was sacrificed, and which exuded blood the first time Mass was said upon it. Passing through various islands, cities and provinces of India, he strengthened his first conquests by additional preaching. He planted crosses in the public squares and overcame all obstacles.
From India he went to Japan; Saint Francis is called Apostle of Japan as well as of India. There the pagan priests opposed and calumniated him, and tried without success to outwit him in debates. Humiliated, they used subtle means to instill dislike for him in the minds of the court authorities. But he won the love as well as the respect of those he evangelized, blessing them with such miracles as filling the hitherto sterile sea of Cangoxima with inexhaustible reserves of fish. The vast kingdom of China appealed to his charity, and he was resolved to risk his life to force an entry, when God took him to Himself. It was on December 2, 1552, that the Apostle of the Indies died on Sancian, an island facing the city of Canton in China, like Moses, in sight of the land of promise.
INTROIT Psalm 118: 46-47
I spoke of Thy testimonies before kings, and I was not ashamed: I meditated also on Thy commandments, which I loved exceedingly. (Ps. 118, 1) Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Repeat I spoke…
O God, Who wast pleased to gather into Thy Church the nations of the Indies by the preaching and miracles of blessed Francis, mercifully grant that we, who venerate his glorious merits, may also imitate the example of his virtues. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who livest and reignest with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R.Amen.
Commemoration of the First Sunday of Advent
Let us pray. Stir up Thy power, we beseech Thee, O Lord, and come: that from the threatening dangers of our sins we may deserve to be rescued by Thy protection, and to be saved by Thy deliverance. Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R.Amen.
EPISTLE Romans 10: 10-18
Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to the Romans. Brethren, With the heart we believe unto justice, but with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth in Him shall not be confounded. For there is no distinction of the Jew and the Greek; for the same is Lord over all, rich unto all that call upon Him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? or how shall they believe Him of Whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear, without a preacher? and how shall they preach, unless they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, of them that bring glad tidings of good things! But all do not obey the gospel. For Isaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? Faith, then, cometh by hearing; and hearing by the word of Christ. But I say, Have they not heard? Yea, verily, their sound hath gone forth into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the whole world.
GRADUAL Psalm 91: 13,14
The just man shall flourish like the palm-tree: he shall grow up like the cedar of Libanus. V. (91: 3) To show forth Thy mercy in the morning, and Thy truth in the night. Alleluia, alleluia. V. (James 1: 12) Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for, when he hath been proved, he shall receive the crown of life. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Mark 16: 15-17
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: “Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be condemned. And these signs shall follow them that believe: In My name they shall cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they shall drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay their hands upon the sick, and they shall recover.”
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 88: 25
My truth and My mercy shall be with him: and in My name shall his horn be exalted.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that the offering of our lowliness may be both pleasing to Thee for the honor of Thy saints and may likewise purify us in body and soul. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R.Amen.
Commemoration of First Sunday of Advent
May these holy mysteries, O Lord, cleanse us by Thy powerful virtue and make us to come with greater purity to Him who is their source. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
PREFACE of the Common
It is truly meet and just, and profitable unto salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks to thee, O Holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God, through Christ, our Lord. Though whom the angels praise thy majesty, the dominions adore it, the powers are in awe. Which the heavens and the hosts of heaven together with the blessed seraphim joyfully do magnify. And do thou command that it be permitted to us join with them in confessing thee, while we say with lowly praise:
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Matthew 24: 46, 47
Blessed ís that servant, whom when the Lord shall come, He shall find watching: Amen I say to you, He shall set him over all His goods.
We beseech Thee, O almighty God, that we, who have partaken of Heavenly nourishment, may, by the intercession of blessed Francis, Thy confessor, be fortified by the same against all adverse influences. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever. R. Amen.
Commemoration of the First Sunday of Advent
Let us pray. May we receive, O Lord, Thy mercy in the midst of Thy temple, that we may prepare with due honor for the approaching feast of our redemption. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.