The following homily was delivered by School President Fr. Aristotle C. Dy, SJ during the eucharistic celebrations for the feast of St. Francis Xavier last 01 December 2016 in San Juan and 02 December 2016 in Xavier Nuvali.
Is patience good or bad? Of course, we know that patience is a virtue. In fact, it is one of the virtues we promote in the Virtues Project. It falls under Character in our 6Cs. We all need to know how to wait for the things we want or need.
If patience is a virtue and we all need to practice it, then what about the opposite of patience? Is impatience good or bad? On the surface, it seems bad. We are impatient when we don’t know how to fall in line and wait for out turn. We are impatient when we cannot wait for Mommy or Daddy or Teacher to finish what they are doing before they pay attention to us. We are impatient when we need something from our friends but they are not giving it to us fast enough. We are impatient when we cannot wait for the Christmas vacation to start!
So impatience is normally not a good thing, but you know what, our patron saint Francis Xavier is also known as El Divino Impaciente, a man who is divinely impatient. Hmm, what could this mean? These words mean “divinely impatient.” How can someone be impatient in a divine way? How is it possible to be impatient in a good way?
Well, let’s see why Francis Xavier was described as divinely impatient. You see, in the 16th century when Francis Xavier was sent to all these countries in Asia, the teaching of the Church was that everyone had to know about Jesus Christ so that their souls would be saved. This knowledge of Christ was expressed by baptism, with the ritual of pouring water over the people to be baptized. When Francis Xavier arrived in Asia—first in India, then Malacca and other islands and also Japan, he found so many people who did not know Jesus yet so he became very impatient to tell everyone about Jesus and baptize them. Imagine, in the short span of ten years, he baptized 30,000 people. He was just very impatient and wanted to introduce as many people as possible to Jesus Christ.
Now, you might think that because Francis was in a hurry, he had low standards. Maybe he just went around baptizing people even if they were not yet ready. Research tells us, however, that Francis was not satisfied with performing rituals. As much as possible, he trained many catechists and established seminaries for local priests so that the people would continue having CLE classes and deepen their relationship with Jesus. He didn’t try to do everything by himself. He trained others to help him.
This is another way in which Francis was divinely impatient. He wanted other Christians to share his zeal and his passion for the Gospel. Once, he wrote to his brother Jesuits in Rome, and I quote:
Many fail to become Christians in these regions because they have no one who is concerned with such pious and holy matters. Many times I am seized with the thought of going to the schools in your lands and of crying out there, like a man who has lost his mind, and especially at the University of Paris, telling those in the Sorbonne who have a greater regard for learning than desire to prepare themselves to produce fruit with it: “How many souls fail to go to glory and go instead to hell through their neglect!”
The anima, the spirit of Francis Xavier, is therefore one of divine impatience. He once said that it is not only what you do that matters, but the spirit that you put into it.
In our world today, I think the divine impatience of St Francis Xavier is very relevant. We all have good desires in our hearts, just like Francis had the good desire to share Jesus with others. Francis teaches us that those desires must be nurtured and pursued, not left to grow cold in our hearts. If we are concerned about truth and justice, about the facts of history, about the demands of our faith, then we must be very impatient in expressing these concerns.
The missionary life of Francis Xavier lasted only ten years and he died at the young age of 46. Perhaps he knew that he would not have a long life, thus he was tireless in doing his duty. He instructed and baptized as many people as he could, and he trained others to continue his work of education when he had to move on to other places. He tried to inspire others to share in his passion.
Let us pray today that we might also be divino impaciente, people in a hurry to share the story of Jesus and what faith in Him requires of us today. When we look at our jubilee logo, let us remember not only our 60 years as a school, but the figure of Francis Xavier holding up his cross to tell others about Jesus. His message of the cross was so powerful that even the crabs helped him find his cross when he lost it.
Today we have learned that there is a good way to be impatient, and St Francis Xavier is our model for it.
San Juan photos
Photos by Christian Haw of the XS Media Team
Photos by Ian Chua of the Grade School Media Team
All photos by Mr. Luke Santos (HS SocSci teacher) and Conner Manuel (Gr. 10A).