Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel

Every year I come across this letter, and this Sunday since our second reading speaks about the need of preaching the Gospel, I thought that would be nice to share it with you all, and in doing so, each one of us will be inflame by the love to share the Gospel with everyone.

 

A letter from St Francis Xavier to St Ignatius: Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel

We have visited the villages of the new converts who accepted the Christian religion a few years ago. No Portuguese live here, the country is so utterly barren and poor. The native Christians have no priests. They know only that they are Christians. There is nobody to say Mass for them; nobody to teach them the Creed, the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Commandments of God’s Law.

I have not stopped since the day I arrived. I conscientiously made the rounds of the villages. I bathed in the sacred waters all the children who had not yet been baptized. This means that I have purified a very large number of children so young that, as the saying goes, they could not tell their right hand from their left. The older children would not let me say my Office or eat or sleep until I taught them one prayer or another. Then I began to understand: “The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

I could not refuse so devout a request without failing in devotion myself. I taught them, first the confession of faith in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, then the Apostles’ Creed, the Our Father and Hail Mary. I noticed among them persons of great intelligence. If only someone could educate them in the Christian way of life, I have no doubt that they would make excellent Christians.

Many, many people hereabouts are not becoming Christians for one reason only: there is nobody to make them Christians…

I wish they (people, students) would work as hard at this as they do at their books, and so settle their account with God for their learning and the talents entrusted to them.

This thought would certainly stir most of them to meditate on spiritual realities, to listen actively to what God is saying to them. They would forget their own desires, their human affairs, and give themselves over entirely to God’s will and his choice. They would cry out with all their heart: Lord, I am here! What do you want me to do? Send me anywhere you like…

There is a need today and always to preach the Gospel, to announce the joy of salvation to all. It is in the hands of all those who have hear the good News of salvation, to Share with others, that their joy may be completed:

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life—  the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us—  that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.  And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. (1Jn 1:1-4)