Today, December 3rd, is the feast day, and has been now for three hundred and fifty six years, of St. Francis Xavier. The sheer magnitude of the enterprise he undertook for the love of Christ staggers the imagination and captures the admiration of men. The time has come for a Jesuit commercial.
He was a Basque by birth, from Navarre, in the part of Spain bordering on the Pyrenees and France. In the late 1520s he was a student at the University of Paris, ambitious for glory on earth, not the least interested in sanctity or the service of Christ. But there came limping into his life another Basque, Ignatius from Loyola, older than he, already well on his way to that heroic sanctity that characterized his mature years.
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