Tag Archives: saints

December 3 – Feast of St. Francis Xavier

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By Matt Keppel

I shall live in the house of the Lord all of my days.

Recently, I was praying on this psalm trying to determine what exactly it means to live in the house of the Lord. Do I even want to live in the House of the Lord? If this is the goal, then how do I get there?

I would like to imagine that these are the questions that would have gone through Francis Xavier’s mind before undertaking his journey. In fact, I sincerely hope he had his share of doubts before embarking on a journey to places unknown, to die far from home. Most of all, I hope that through his doubts came this shimmering vision or idea of the goal, a mirage even. It must be a mirage, something hoped for, yet really unseen. What are our lives but this: seeking something that is beyond the scope of our imagination, something so great that we cannot even fathom it.

St. Francis Xavier is the patron saint of missionaries, easily dismissed because most of us do not live the life we attribute to the mission fields. However, each of us is missioned by our Baptism. We are all called to serve, to live as disciples of Christ. I think we all approach the journey with our own perspective of what the House of the Lord may be. We all have to face the ultimate question: is the journey worth it? Is it worth giving our lives to Christ? Is heaven worth the prize?

I still have a difficult time determining what is and isn’t worth the struggle. Francis is my inspiration to keep struggling along, continuing my own journey with St. Ignatius’s parting words to his friend: “Ite inflammate omnia” – Go set the world aflame!

(Check out this and other Advent Reflections at http://www.tdinhsj.com/)

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Moving Away from Miracles

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Miracles were not a topic I expected to surface during our parish mission last month. But Father Tim referenced them with easy comfort.

“I’ve seen so many miracles in my fifteen years here,” he said. “Changes of heart, real conversions.” What, he implied, could be more miraculous?

Which brings us to the subject of canonization.

Supernatural miracles, long required for canonized Catholic saints, have had a storied role in the history of sainthood. Post-death miracles were mandated as a way of verifying that the potential saint was a friend of God and not a fraud or magician, and that her current address was indeed heaven.

In the centuries prior to John Paul II’s papacy, at least four miracles were required for sainthood, but in 1983 the pope lowered the requirement to two: one to be beatified, and a second to become a canonized saint. (Martyrs need only one miracle total.)

Pope Francis has gone still further, lifting the requirement for a second miracle for Pope John XXIII and dispensing the miracle requirement entirely for three other new saints.

Might the Church be moving toward eliminating the requirement for miracles? I hope so, for both theological and practical reasons.

Continue reading Moving Away from Miracles