Friday, December 03, 2010

Let It Be Done for You According to Your Faith

December 3, 2010
Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, priest

By Melanie Rigney

On that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book; And out of gloom and darkness, the eyes of the blind shall see. (Isaiah 29:18)

Wait for the LORD, take courage; be stouthearted, wait for the LORD! (Psalms 27:14)

(T)wo blind men followed (Jesus), crying out, "Son of David, have pity on us!" When he entered the house, the blind men approached him and Jesus said to them, "Do you believe that I can do this?" "Yes, Lord," they said to him. Then he touched their eyes and said, "Let it be done for you according to your faith." And their eyes were opened. (Matthew 9:27-30)

Lord, I ask you for the faith—and the strength—to let it be done.

“Let it be done for you according to your faith,” Jesus tells the two blind men. And they are cured.

“Let it be done for you according to your faith,” Jesus tells us every day. And sometimes, our faith is strong. We overcome obstacles, tangible and intangible, that we couldn’t tackle without His help, that we couldn’t have imagined facing a week, a month, a year earlier.

But sometimes, our lack of faith gets in the way of letting things be done for us. We despair when God doesn’t operate on our timetable. We give up because we see no way that the problem can be resolved by anyone, including the Almighty. We try to manage the situation ourselves, because we lack faith.

Consider the life of St. Francis Xavier, whose feast day we observe today. He was only twenty-eight years old when he, Ignatius Loyola, and five others founded the Society of Jesus in 1534 at Montmartre. Despite a fifteen-year age difference, he and Ignatius became best friends, with Francis serving for a time as Ignatius’s secretary in Rome.

In his book My Life with the Saints, James Martin, S.J., describes what happened next: the Jesuit who was to be sent as a missionary to the Portuguese colony in India became ill, and Francis volunteered to take his place. When Francis left for India in 1541, he wrote Ignatius:

There is nothing more to tell you except that we are about to embark. We close by asking Christ our Lord for the grace of seeing each other joined together in the next life; for I do not know if we shall ever see each other again in this, because of the great distance between Rome and India, and the great harvest to be found.

They never saw each other again, Martin notes. In 1552, Francis died of a fever off the coast of China. The intervening years weren’t kind to Francis; notes he struggled with resistance from European officials, a lack of funding, and language disconnections as he moved through the region. Despite that, his faith and conviction resulted in the conversion of tens of thousands to Christianity. He let it be done for him—and for them.

Imagine a circumstance in which doing God’s will would take you away from someone you love and trust, a circumstance in which your contact going forward would be spotty, no e-mail, no texting, no phone calls, no Skype-ing. Do you have the faith to let it be done?