Call of service

In one of his homilies last month, Father Xaviour said that the life of a missionary, like that of a priest, is difficult because his life is determined by those to whom he’s sent.


This reminded me of a jellyfish, floating from place to place in the ocean’s waters, its survival contingent on its ability to withstand the tides and the waves that can wash the jellyfish onto the seashore where it’ll wither and die. Like the jellyfish, the missionary has no control over his environment.

Similarly, a priest goes obediently wherever his superior sends him, wherever the spiritual call beckons.  Then, depending on the spirit of the people to whom he’s sent, he either grows faithful followers who gladly share his vision or evokes apathy and resentment.  Therefore, the priest, like the missionary, either thrives in his call of service or depletes his usefulness within the community to which he’s been assigned.


Some consider religious leaders to be parasites.  A child stays in the womb for nine months, but the mother never considers her child a parasite.  [On the other hand,] a missionary’s life is worthless and meaningless.  To be dependent is very difficult.  To be a missionary is to be dependent on others.  This is why Pope Benedict named this the year of the priest, to strengthen the bond [among us] so [that] young kids can know the joy of the priest, to consider the walk of our footsteps.  Continue to pray for priests to inspire us, to strengthen our faith, to empower us so that faith may be meaningful in our lives (Father Xaviour, 2009).




On this feast day of the priests’ patron saint, we’re reminded of the countless hardships and obstacles that St. John Vianney overcame to answer the call of service.  His is a story of perseverance, faithfulness, courage, and love.

Today, like all the days since meeting Father Xaviour for the very first time at St. Paul the Apostle Church in Flour Bluff (2007), Steven and I are grateful for his being part of our lives; for his presence at St. Joseph’s; and, most especially, for his graciously accepting our support of him through our church blog.

You’re a blessing to us all, Father Xaviour!


Absolution…  May the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ and the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints— whatever good you do and suffering you endure— heal your sins, help you to grow in holiness, and reward you with eternal life.  Go in peace.

For missionaries…  Heavenly Father, you so loved the world that you sent  your only son, Jesus, to bring us eternal life.  We join him in his prayer for laborers in your harvest.  May your Holy Spirit inspire and strengthen generous men and women to continue his mission in the world.  May this same Spirit make known to me your will in my life.  Where you lead I will follow.  Let it be done to me according to your word.  I make this prayer through Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

For missions…  Remember our missionaries who give up all they have to testify to your gospel and love.  Strengthen them in moments of difficulty.  Crown their labors with the victories of the Holy Spirit.  Through their endeavors may your blessed Name be made known throughout the world.  Surrounded by an ever growing number of your children, may they [offer] to you the hymn of thankfulness, redemption, and glory.  Amen.

For priests (John Cardinal O’Connor)…  Lord Jesus, we, your people, pray to you for our priests.  You have given them to us for our needs.  We pray for them in their needs.

We know that you have made them priests in the likeness of your own priesthood.  You have consecrated them, set them aside, anointed them, filled them with the Holy Spirit, appointed them to teach, to preach, to minister, to console, to forgive, and to feed us with your Body and Blood.

Yet, we know, too, that they are one with us and share our human weaknesses.  We know, too, that they are tempted to sin and discouragement as are we, needing to be ministered to as do we, to be consoled and forgiven as do we.  Indeed, we thank you for choosing them from among us so that they understand us as we understand them, suffer with us and rejoice with us, worry with us and trust with us, share our beings, our lives, our faith.

We ask that you give them, this day, the gift you gave your chosen ones on the way to Emmaus: your presence in their hearts, your holiness in their souls, your joy in their spirits.  And let them see you face to face in the breaking of the Eucharistic bread.

We pray to you, O Lord, through Mary, the mother of all priests, for your priests and for ours.  Amen.

For vocations…  Jesus, you are the Good Shepherd.  You know each of us and you call us by name to serve in faith.  Help us respond generously to your voice.  Give courage and guidance to those you call to the priesthood and the diaconate, to religious life and to lay ministry so that they may respond wholeheartedly and serve devotedly.  We ask this through Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

Queen of Missions…  Holy Mary, our mother, today, each day, and in our last hour, we entrust ourselves entirely to you loving and singular care.  We place in your hands our entire hope and happiness, our every anxiety and difficulty, our whole lives.  May our every endeavor be directed and guided according to the will of your Son, which is your will by the aid of your prayer and special favor with God.  Amen.

August 4, 2013

When we walk without the cross, when we build without the cross, and when we profess Christ without the cross, we are not disciples of the Lord.  We are worldly; we are bishops, priests, cardinals, popes but not disciples of the Lord (Pope Francis, 2013).

January 24, 2014

“There is nothing small in the service of God” (St. Francis de Sales).

April 17, 2013

“Nothing afflicts the heart of Jesus so much as to see all his sufferings of no avail to so many” (St. John Vianney).

May 6, 2014

“Every vocation to the priesthood comes from the heart of God, but it passes through the heart of a mother” (Pope St. Pius X).

May 8, 2014

One should preach not from one’s rational mind but, rather from the heart.  Only that which is from the heart can touch another heart (Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica).

August 4, 2014

“You either belong wholly to the world or wholly to God” (St. John Vianney).

November 13, 2014

“I will go anywhere and do anything in order to communicate the love of Jesus to those who do not know him or have forgotten him” (St. Frances Xavier Cabrini).

November 14, 2014

My God, I do not know what must come to me today.  But I am certain that nothing can happen to me that you have not foreseen, decreed, and ordained from all eternity.  That is sufficient for me (St. Joseph Pignatelli).

January 17, 2015

A religious should imitate the bees gathering honey among the blossoms of the meadows.  From each of his companions, he should gather some good lessons— from one, modesty; from another, silence; from a third, patience; from a fourth, resignation and indifference (St. Anthony the Great).

January 23, 2015

The rediscovery of the value of one’s baptism is the basis of the missionary commitment of every Christian because we see in the gospel that he who lets himself be fascinated by Christ cannot do without witnessing the joy of following in his footsteps….  We understand even more that, in virtue of baptism, we have an inherent missionary vocation (Pope Benedict XVI).

January 25, 2015

As we follow Christ in this mission to be fishers of men, we must bring men and women out of the sea that is salted with so many forms of alienation and onto the land of life, into the light of God (Pope Benedict XVI).

March 31, 2015

We’re up against a great mystery here.  We are called to announce the good news to everyone, but not everyone will listen.  Once we’ve done our work, we should move on and not obsess about those who won’t listen.  Why do some respond and some don’t?  Finally, that’s up to God (Fr. Robert Barron).

May 21, 2015

You cannot please both God and the world at the same time.  They are utterly opposed to each other in their thoughts, their desires, and their actions (St. John Vianney).

July 1, 2015

All my life I have wanted to be a missioner.  I have wanted to carry the gospel teachings to those who have never heard of God and the kingdom he has prepared for them (Blessed Junipero Serra).

August 4, 2015

Everything is a reminder of the Cross.  We ourselves are made in the shape of a cross (St. Jean Marie Baptist Vianney).

“Our faults are like a grain of sand beside the great mountain of the mercies of God”
(St. John Vianney).

August 10, 2015

“You pray, you love— that is the happiness of man upon the earth” (St. John Vianney).

August 27, 2015

Let us take care only to have a good intention; then let us go wherever duty calls us, and let us be sure that God is kind enough and indulgent enough to pardon us all the faults to which his faithful service and the desire of pleasing him may expose us (Fr. Jean Nicolas Grou in The Spiritual Life).

October 16, 2015

To love God much, always to be united with God; to do all things for the sake of God; to love everything for God’s sake; to suffer much for God.  My only business is to do the will of God (St. Gerard Majella).

December 2, 2015

“All perfection consists in the love of God; and the perfection of divine love consists in the union of our will with that of God” (St. Alphonsus).

February 4, 2016

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two.  According to Mark, this is what Jesus did in response to being rejected in Nazareth: He increased his efforts.  He continued his ministry in other villages; but instead of taking his disciples with him, he sent them out on their own.  They are told to take nothing for the journey but to depend on the hospitality of those who receive them.  If a particular village doesn’t welcome them, they should simply move on.  Like the disciples, we, too, have been called and sent out to continue the work of Jesus in the world today.  We are to be missionaries, disciples, builders of the kingdom of God in this time and place.  Here I am, Lord; send me (Jeanne Lischer).

March 14, 2016

What should give us strength and consolation is the thought that we may have recourse to our dear Father in heaven who will never allow us to be tempted beyond our strength and who will always help those to victory who come to him with confidence and prayer.  Watch and pray, there, and you will conquer (St. John Marie Vianney).

March 24, 2016

Service is the rent we pay to be living.  It is the very purpose of life and not something you do in your spare time (Marian Wright Edelman).

May 11, 2016

“Labor without stopping; do all the good works you can while you still have the time”
(St. John of God).

June 1, 2016

“Without lay people nothing would happen” (Archbishop Peter Leo Gerety).

June 16, 2016

“Each of us has a personal calling from God, which is our unique part to play in the building of an earthly liturgical city that is a foretaste of the heavenly liturgical city” (David Clayton and Leila Lawler in The Little Oratory).

June 27, 2016

“If the poison of pride is swelling up in you, turn to the Eucharist; and that bread, which is your God humbling and disguising himself, will teach you humility” (St. Cyril of Alexandria).

June 29, 2016

I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.  For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather of power and love and self-control.  So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God (St. Paul; 2 Timothy 1:6–8).

July 11, 2016

“He should know that whomever undertakes the government of souls must prepare himself to account for them” (St. Benedict).

January 29, 2017

“We will either accuse ourselves or excuse ourselves” (St. John Vianney).

February 3, 2017

“If I were worthy of such a favor from my God, I would ask that he grant me this one miracle: that by his grace he would make of me a good man” (St. Ansgar).

May 5, 2017

O God, who gives your missionaries the zeal to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to the nations, give us the desire to advance your kingdom wherever we may be.  May we share a deep desire to show you more clearly to others, to love you more dearly in others, and to follow you more closely in all that we do each day of our lives.  Amen (Stephen J. Binz in Saint Junipero Serra’s Camino: A Pilgrimage Guide to the California Missions).

July 18, 2017

“The priesthood requires a great soul, for the priest has many harassing troubles of his own and has need of innumerable eyes on all sides” (St. John Chrysostom).

December 22, 2017

“Ministry means the ongoing attempt to put one’s own search for God, with all the moments of pain and joy, despair and hope, at the disposal of those who want to join this search but do not know how” (Henri J.M. Nouwen).


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Pdf file…  Father Xaviour’s homilies: July 12, 2009 / December: 2009-2008

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