The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.
Matthew 9: 37-38
Today is the feast of St. Francis Xavier, one of the patrons of missionaries, who died at 46 years of age, after eleven years as a missionary to Asia. He was a tireless worker and baptized thousands.
In one of his letters he complained about the lack of workers in mission, specifically addressing those studying at the universities in Europe.
I often imagine myself dashing about the schools of Europe, especially at Paris, and crying out like a madman to those who have more learning than love: “What multitudes of souls are being excluded from heaven and cast down into hell through your fault!” If only these men would be as much concerned about rendering an account to God of the teaching they could be doing and the talents they could be using as they are with their learning!
This is even more extraordinary because he had been a young professor at the university when he heard the call of St. Ignatius to follow Christ is a special way.
Today I am at the Central American gathering of associates of the Dubuque Franciscan Sisters. We are from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and from the US, gathered until Monday morning to share or love of God in the tradition of Francis and Clare, together with the Franciscan Sisters who are in mission in Honduras.
These sisters and associates are people who take seriously the call to mission – even if it is only in their own towns and families.
For me, this is a time to renew my commitment to mission and those who are accompanying us – in spirit and in the flesh.