Do you know who St. Francis Xavier was? No, you say? Well, then let me tell you about him! This man was a Spaniard who was one of the founders of the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits. He was a missionary, and was sent all over Europe and Asia to teach and spread Catholicism. At one point, while in India he wrote a letter to the Society. He titled his ‘Letter from India’ and shared his recent experiences. I want to share some highlights that I found with you.
Francis mentions all the children he is teaching and how he tasks them with sharing what they are learning with their friends and family. In one excerpt of the letter, he told the children that all idol, not made for the intention of worshipping the one, true God, it was to be torn down. And the kids took them down! Sometimes very violently! This did not go over very well with the Brahman worshippers in Hinduism (which is a polytheistic religion). The Brahmans would sometimes test Francis on his knowledge of the Catholic religion. They tried to trip him over his words so they could argue. He was able to report one of his amazing accomplishments – his successful teaching and conversion of a Brahman worshipper to Catholicism. This Brahman man did not care about whether or not his religion was correct. This man was “a man of learning” as quoted by Xavier. This man answered questions that Francis had, and had his questions about Francis’s religion answered as well. Francis made the man promise that he would publish all that he had just told him so that other people could read for themselves all the answers to their questions pertaining to Francis’s religion. The man later asked Francis to secretly make him a Christian and Xavier also gave him the task of teaching all people.
“I charged him to teach the ignorant and unlearned that there is only one God, Creator of Heaven and Earth.”
This may not be the 16th Century or a time when religion defined just about everything you did, but it still is just as important then as it is now. Many people, young and old, teaching their religion to all no matter where or who they are.