In reflecting on the life of St. Francis Xavier, the patron saint of Mission, this year something different stood out for me. Perhaps it is the result of it being 2020, knowing this year is unlike any other we’ve experienced, the twists and turns finding new ways to support our partners.
St. Francis’ success in India, sharing the faith, was not repeated in Japan, even though he became aware of some very important cultural differences. While in India living an austere life was associated with spirituality – the same could not be said of Japan, and he attempted to adapt. 2000 converts to Christianity in Japan was wonderful but did not match the success in Goa. He planned to return through China, yet died while waiting to obtain permission.
We are imperfect vessels. Our desire to follow God’s call sometimes leads to a path with unexpected turns and failures. Yet like St. Francis, we strive to continue on the path until we are called home. For Mission Doctors, there have been both unexpected turns and what would be marked by the standards of healthcare in the United States as ‘failures’. But healthcare alone is not why Mission Doctors serve at a Mission Hospital. Rather serve as a witness to the dignity and value of all life. And this witness of faith does not go unnoticed.
So, there will be times we succeed, and there will be times we get it wrong.
Ultimately it is our desire to follow God’s will and making every attempt to do so, imperfect as we are, that will also one day lead us to the path that brings us home.
My Lord Jesus
O my Lord Jesus!
Teach me to be generous;
teach me to serve You as you deserve;
to give, and not to count the cost;
to fight and not to heed the wounds;
to toil and not to ask for rest;
to labor, seeking no reward,
save that of knowing that I do Thy will.
By St. Francis Xavier