Stained glass window of St. Francis Xavier appears in Our Lady of Esperanza Church, Manhattan
From our friend Mr. Screwtape:
The Society of Saint Hugh of Cluny, once upon a fictional time, in order to raise funds for their worthy apostolic endeavors raffled off a brand new Lexus. Jill and Stu really wanted to win so they decided to ask some revered priests to pray a novena. The Benedictine monk said: “Ut In Omnibus Glorificetur Deus! Yes, my children, I will gladly pray a novena. But please tell me what is a Lexus?”. The Franciscan friar said: “Pax et bonum! Sure I’ll pray a novena but what’s this Lexus thing?” The Jesuit priest said: “Wow! Lexus. What a great car! But what’s a novena?”
To the credit of the much mercilessly maligned Society of Jesus, there is one particular novena that shines forth in their admirable annals, the Novena of Grace in honor of Saint Francis Xavier.
“One night in Naples in early January 1634, Father Marcello Mastrilli, a Jesuit priest, was near death from an accident. Saint Francis Xavier appeared in a vision and requested that Fr. Mastrilli renew a vow he had made earlier to go to Japan as a missionary and the Saint foretold his martyrdom there.
The Saint promised Fr. Mastrilli that: ‘All those who implore my help daily for nine consecutive days, from the fourth to the twelfth of March inclusive and worthily receive the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion on one of the nine days will experience my protection and may hope with entire assurance to obtain from God any Grace they ask that is for the good of their souls and the glory of God.’
Father Mastrilli was cured so quickly and so completely that night after this vision that he widely spread the news of his recovery and of St. Francis Xavier’s promises to him, quoted above, before leaving for Japan, where he was indeed martyred for the Faith in October 1637.
Because of the innumerable graces and extraordinary favors received through his intercession, this devotion came to be known as the Novena of Grace.”
Incidentally, coincidentally and obviously on purpose, the Novena ends on the day which commemorates the canonization of Ignatius and Xavier.
Prayers for the Novena
Attributed to Father Marcello Mastrilli, S.J. (17th century)
O Saint Francis Xavier, well beloved and full of charity, in union with thee, I reverently adore the Majesty of God; and since I rejoice with exceeding joy in the singular gifts of grace bestowed upon thee during thy life, and thy gifts of glory after death, I give Him hearty thanks therefore; I beseech thee with all my heart’s devotion to be pleased to obtain for me, by thy effectual intercession, above all things, the grace of a holy life and a happy death. Moreover, I beg of thee to obtain for me . . . (here mention the spiritual or temporal favor to be prayed for). But if what I ask of thee so earnestly doth not tend to the glory of God and the greater good of my soul, do thou, I pray, obtain for me what is more profitable to both these ends. Amen.
V. Pray for us, Saint Francis Xavier.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
O God, Who didst vouchsafe, by the preaching and miracles of Saint Francis Xavier, to join unto Thy Church the nations of the Indies, grant, we beseech Thee, that we who reverence his glorious merits may also imitate his example, through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Then add 3 Our Father’s and 3 Hail Mary’s in memory of Saint Francis Xavier’s devotion to the Most Holy Trinity, and Glory be to the Father 10 times in thanksgiving for the graces received during his 10 years of apostleship.
And while not strictly constituting a part of the foregoing exercises of piety, the following oration may laudably be appended just because it is sort of topical and not very politically correct.
PRAYER OF ST. FRANCIS XAVIER FOR THE CONVERSION OF INFIDELS
Eternal God, Creator of all things, remember that Thou alone didst create the souls of infidels, framing them to Thy Own image and likeness; behold, O Lord! how, to Thy dishonor, Hell is daily replenished with them. Remember, O Lord! Thy Only Son, Jesus Christ, Who suffered for them, most bountifully shedding His Precious Blood: suffer not, O Lord Thy Son and our Lord to be any longer despised by infidels; but rather, being appeased by the entreaties and prayers of the elect, the Saints, and of the Church, the most blessed spouse of Thy Son, vouchsafe to be mindful of Thy mercy, and forgetting their idolatry and infidelity, cause them also to know Him Whom Thou didst send, Jesus Christ Thy Son, our Lord, Who is our health, life, and resurrection, through Whom we are freed and saved, to Whom be all glory forever. Amen.