The undoubted call

Daily Reading for December 3 • Francis Xavier, Missionary to the Far East, 1552

Sire, I had often heard and deeply considered the many and marvelous things which various persons—and those good judges in the matter, as having been themselves on the spot—report concerning a remarkable disposition which is observed in the island of Japan for the reception of our holy religion. Upon this I thought that I ought strongly and urgently to beseech our Lord God to vouchsafe to let me feel some interior movement in my heart which might signify to me whether it were His holy will that I should go thither, and also to give me strength to accomplish what He might command me. It has pleased His Divine Majesty to grant my prayer. For I feel the most intimate certainty and conviction in my mind, that it is expedient for the service of God that I should go to Japan. This has given me a ready and vigorous confidence, and I have put an end to all delay in the matter by sailing from India, that I may follow the undoubted call of God, Who urges me on to this voyage by frequent and strong interior impulses.

We have now got as far as the port of Malacca on our way to Japan. There are two of our Society with me, and three Japanese Christians, lately converted, but very good. After having been fully instructed in the mysteries and doctrines of the life and teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, they were baptized at Goa in the College of Santa Fè. They have learned to read and write in our manner, they recite the prayers of the Church, and make meditation at regular hours. What moves and affects them most of all is the consideration of the labours and sufferings of Christ, and the remembrance of His cross and death. They often meditate upon these things with very deep and strong sentiments and very tender affections. They have exercised their minds with very great attentiveness in the ascetic meditations of Father Ignatius, and have carried away from them most remarkable fruits in the clearer knowledge of God. They frequent of their own accord the sacraments of confession and communion, and they feel urged to join us in this voyage to their own country by great desires of leading their own people to the religion of Christ.

A letter from Francis Xavier to King John III of Portugal, quoted in The Life and Letters of St. Francis Xavier, volume 1, by Henry James Coleridge (New Delhi: J. Jetley, 1874, 2004).

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