The name of this site, dfxc, is from the initials of my (intended) Christian name. Yes, I know I’m well ahead of the game here as I’ve still got far too much time to wait before I can undergo the Rites of Christian Initiation, but I see some value in putting a name to the goals and hopes and model of my formation. That name, which I intend to take fully at my Christian initiation, is
David Francis Xavier C.
Now, owing to the need for a certain level of anonymity due to the nature of my secular work, it is prudent to keep my patronym hidden for now. Nevertheless, the c works in several ways: Catholic, Christian, Convert, Catechumen, Catechist (in training), Civis civitas Dei, (recovering) Concupiscent…
The d is for David, the name given to me by my mother, and was chosen with clear biblical reference. David was the slayer of Goliath, a righteous king, a prophet, a musician, a poet… …a little self-destructive, one who succumbed to sin, and a far from a perfect man but a good one—one who would repent his failures and work to improve his future. It’s a lot to live up to but, as names go, it’s not a bad one to have. David is an aspiration to fulfill, and be fulfilled in, its meaning, beloved. It is a fundamentally human desire, to love and to be loved, that can only find its fullest flourishing by the mercy and grace of God.
“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8
fx is from St. Francis Xavier, whose name I will take in Baptism and Confirmation, and of whose Patronage I hope to be worthy.
When I began considering the question of a saint who might serve as a model for me, I was certain he would be found among the Jesuits. Long before I felt moved towards the Church, I had an interest in and respect for the work—physical and philosophical—of the Society of Jesus. Learning more about them and their role in the Counter-Reformation, only improved my initial impression, and the efforts and impact of Jesuits such as Rutilio Grande García, S.J. in South America stand out as heroic moments in history. From there, the writings and guidance of St. Ignatius of Loyola, as well as a personal story with which I could, in part, identify, became very easy to accept into my own development. He answered, for me, an existential question that had been looming for a while by merely suggesting that I seek and find God in all things. Ignatius, in fact, was my initial choice but something was not quite right. I knew I liked being close to Ignatius but not, for whatever this means, that directly connected to him. I needed someone close but different.
Enter Francis Xavier—a Jesuit, a companion and friend to Ignatius but more studied and less militarily inclined. He also manifest an apostolic zeal that reinforces my own, while pressing me to go further. Francis Xavier was a scholar, a preacher, and a teacher who went when and where God’s will sent him. His mission came not of being commanded but of stepping up to fill a space of need. He threw himself entirely into his work—even into tasks the ends of which he would never see. His journey through South Asia and Japan was meant to take him into China but, waiting for another chance to enter the country, he died on the island of Shàngchuāndǎo (Sancian), less than ten miles from the mainland.
Despite his the extent of his travels, his conversion and baptism of some 30,000 people, and the impressive scope of work he’d accomplished in just a dozen years, at the time of his death his lips sought mercy and forgiveness for his failings,
“Tu autem meorum peccatorum et delictorum miserere!
Jesu, fili David, miserere mei!”
His is a model devotion, of commitment to submit to calling, of heeding the will of God, and of seeking not to find satisfaction but the continuing work of following the path to perfection in God that is never complete in our lifetimes.
The selection of Francis Xavier is also for me one that honors and memorializes the election of a Jesuit, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, as the 266th Pontiff: Pope Francis. While the Papal name of Papa Franciscus invokes St. Francis of Assisi, I’m willing to brush aside the detail in favor of the position that a Jesuit Francis is a Jesuit Francis. Absent Pope Francis, I can’t say with any certainty that my will and intellect would finally have been turned to acceptance and submission. Whatever his legacy, his presence, message, and actions aided in the conversion of at least this one sinner’s soul.
Francisco de Jasso y Azpilicueta (7 April 1506 – 3 December 1552), was a Basque Roman Catholic missionary born in Xavier, Kingdom of Navarre (now part of Spain), and a co-founder of the Society of Jesus. The Day of Navarre (Día de Navarra) in Spain marks the anniversary of Saint Francis Xavier’s death on 3 December 1552. Francis Xavier was beatified by Paul V on 25 October 1619, and was canonized by Gregory XV in 1622, at the same time as Ignatius Loyola. Pius XI proclaimed him the “Patron of Catholic Missions”. His feast day is 3 December.
A Prayer to my Patron, St. Francis Xavier
O, St. Francis Xavier,
Heavenly Patron, in whose name I glory,
pray ever to God for me
to favor me with the zeal and virtue in faith
that we find in your example.
Let me be raised up as a herald
and evangelist of God’s Kingdom,
wherever His will leads me,
and may the Church rejoice in growth and renewal.
Pray, dear Patron,
that I might be inspired
with the same love that inspired you
to work for the salvation of all.
Help me to live my Christian calling
and to inherit the promise of eternal life.