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Saturday, First Week of Advent (St. Francis Xavier): The Perfect Gift

December 3, 2011

Blessed St. Francis Xavier’s Day!

His story can be found here.

O God, who sent Your Only Begotten Son into this world
to free the human race from its ancient enslavement,
bestow on those who devoutly await Him
the grace of Your compassion from on high,
that we may attain the prize of true freedom.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Readings:
Isaiah 30: 19-21, 23-26 (God will provide all the attention, nourishment, guidance, and healing that we need)
Psalm 147: 1-6 “Blessed are all who wait for the Lord”
+ Matthew 9:35-10: 1, 5, 6-8 (Jesus sees the needs and send His disciples to meet them)

The gift you have received
give as a gift
-Matthew 10:8

Gifts are on our minds a lot this time of year–
both the giving and the receiving.

They’re on God’s Heart too, although perhaps for different reasons.

Seeing the crowds,
His gut was wrenched with pity for them
for they were mangled and cast away
like sheep not having a shepherd
-Matthew 9:36

He takes in our desperate need and agonizes to meet it.

I have come to cast a fire upon the earth,
and how I wish it were already blazing!
There is a baptism with which I must be baptized [immersed],
and how great is My anguish until it is accomplished!
-Luke 12:49-50

His anguish persists.

Yes, He cast fire upon the earth at Pentecost (see Acts 2:1-3).
He was baptized in a horrific bath of pain that purchased our salvation (see Romans 6:3-5).
He teaches us through His Church:

This is the way, walk ye in it
-Isaiah 30:21

He holds out to us His own Body and Blood, soul and divinity in the Holy Eucharist.
He stretches forth His sacred hands to bind up our wounds,
to heal the broken-hearted in sacramental Confession.

But still God’s beloved sheep lie mangled and cast away,
astray despite His clear guidance,
starving within sight of His extravagant banquet,
agonizing on the threshold of the Great Physician.

God’s greatest gifts,
tailor-made to meet their deepest needs,
held out to them–unclaimed, unopened.
Useless.

They don’t recognize them.
They don’t understand.
How can they?

How can they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?
And how can they hear without someone to preach?
And how can people preach unless they are sent?
-Romans 10:14-15

The harvest is vast, but the laborers are few;
beg the Lord of the harvest to cast out laborers into His harvest
-Matthew 9:37-38

Pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
Pray for the redemption of the fallen.
Pray for the sanctification of the good.
Pray for lay people to become salt and light in the workaday world.

Receive God’s divine gifts yourself
so that you can in turn pass them on to others
(we cannot give what we do not have).

The challenge that Christmas presents to the human heart
is to have a faith that’s great enough to receive
all that God, through His Son,
desires to give.
-Roy Lessin

Open wide your hearts
-II Corinthians 6:13

Let God thrust you out among His mangled, cast-away sheep.
Witness to the fullness of life to be found in learning from Him.
Proclaim the good news of God’s love and mercy,
of His power to redeem–to bring good out even of evil.
Invite His beloved sheep to find healing for their broken hearts in Confession.
Accompany them to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
That’s the gift St. Francis Xavier gave with his whole life.

The broken Heart of Jesus is depending on you.
There’s no gift He’d rather have.

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