Today, December 3, is the Feast of Saint Francis Xavier in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church. Francis Xavier was the third companion of Saint Ignatius Loyola the founder of the Society of Jesus and the great missionary to Asia during the Age of Discovery in the 16th century. Possessed by a great apostolic zeal he devoted his life to bringing unbelievers into the Faith and worked tirelessly to this end, preaching the Gospel and achieving many conversions in India and throughout East Asia. It is one of the tragedies of the Age of Discovery that, instead of penetrating the Middle East and going on from there, the Church was only able to go around Islam and seek to convert the outer edges of Asia while leaving its ancient heartland on that continent untouched, but such is the will of God. St. Francis Xavier was however the greatest missionary of that age, and established presence for the Church in those regions of the world that continues to this day. This man who was so devoted to bringing unbelievers into the Church has left us this prayer, reprinted from the 1962 Roman Missal:
Aeterne rerum omnium effector Deus, memento abs te animas infidelium procreatas, easque ad imaginem et similitudinem tuam conditas. Memento Iesum, Filium tuum, pro illorum salute atrocissimam subisse necem. Noli, quaeso Domine, ultra permittere, ut Filius tuus ab infidelibus contemnatur, sed precibus sanctorum virorum et Ecclesiae, sanctissimi Filii tui sponsae, placatus, recordare misericordiae tuae et, oblitus idolitriae et infidelitatis eorum, effice ut ipsi quoque agnoscant aliquando quem misisti Dominum Iesum Christum, qui est salus, vita, et resurrectio nostra, per quem salvati et liberati sumus, cui sit gloria per infinita saecula saeculorum. Amen.
“O God, everlasting creator of all things, remember that the souls of unbelievers were made by Thee and formed in Thine own image and likeness. Remember that Jesus, Thy Son, endured a most bitter death for their salvation. Permit not, I beseech Thee, O Lord, that Thy Son should be despised any longer by unbelievers, but do Thou graciously accept the prayers of holy men and of the Church, the Spouse of Thy most holy Son, and be mindful of Thy mercy. Forget their idolatry and unbelief and grant that they too may some day know Him Thou hast sent, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our Life and Resurrection, by whom we have been saved and delivered, to whom be glory for endless ages. Amen.”
Pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary on Monday for the See of Constantinople, the Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesday for the See of Antioch, the Glorious Mysteries on Wednesday for the See of Jerusalem, the Luminous Mysteries on Thursday for the See of Alexandria, and the Sorrowful Mysteries on Friday for the See of Carthage: for their liberty and their salvation and the restoration of their ancient position as pillars of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church in communion with the See of Peter in Rome and for the conversion of the Jewish people and the Muslim peoples. And add in the prayer of St. Francis Xavier for unbelievers at the end if you like. It can’t hurt.