Novena to St Francis Xavier SJ
This novena, produced by the Jesuit Institute, is nine days of prayer, in the company of St Francis Xavier, through the letters he wrote. As a Jesuit, Francisco underwent and then, in turn, led others through the Spiritual Exercises of his great friend St Ignatius Loyola SJ. His writings reflect the spiritual insights and preoccupations of the Spiritual Exercises. We pray to know ourselves better, to discern the will of God for each of us in the daily unfolding of our lives, to hear and generously answer Christ’s call to follow him, whatever the cost, and to understand that everything is unmerited gift from God, poured out lavishly upon us “as rays from the sun or waters from the spring.”
The Novena of Grace is traditionally prayed either from 4th to 12th March, the day Francis was declared a saint in 1622, or from 25th November, ending on St Francis Xavier’s feast day on 3rd December. But, of course, it is a devotion that may be prayed at any time.
You can also download the leaflet FranciscoFINAL.pdf
Traditional Novena Prayer
O most kind and loving saint,
in union with you I adore the most divine majesty.
The memory of the favours with which God blessed you during life,
and of your glory after death, fills me with joy.
And I unite with you in offering to him my humble tribute of thanksgiving and praise.
I implore of you to secure for me, through your powerful intercession,
the all-important blessing of living and dying in a state of grace.
I also ask you to obtain the favour I ask in this novena.
(Here pause to ask the favour you seek.)
But if what I ask is not for the greater glory of God, or the good of my soul,
obtain for me what is most conducive to both.
O God, who was pleased to gather to your Church the peoples of the East
by the preaching and miracles of St Francis Xavier, mercifully grant that we,
who honour his glorious merits, may also imitate the example of his virtues,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Glory be to the Father
"May our Lord increase the days of [your] life for many years, and may he grant you to feel in this present life his most holy will and the spiritual strength to fulfil it, so that you do and accomplish that which at the hour of your death you will wish to have done."
Letter to King John III of Portugal from Malacca in Malaysia, 23rd June 1549
◊ What do I need to do more of, or less of, if I am to present my best self to God my Lord?
Lord, each day you give me new life, new graces,
new opportunities to feel your presence.
Give me the gift of attentiveness
to notice you in the people and things which surround my life;
that I may grow in faith, and hope, and love.
Letter to the Jesuits at Rome from Cochin in India, 27th January 1545
Father, each day you show me the love of a parent for its child:
watchful of my every step, eager for me to thrive.
You are delight in my happiness and patient consolation in my sadness.
May the constant love in which you enfold me
give me the confidence to show that same love to friend and foe,
family and stranger, alike.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Letter to Francisco Mansilhas SJ from Negapatam in India, 7th April 1545
Father, you speak to me in the silence and in the empty spaces of my life.
Give me ears to hear your voice in stillness and in the gentle breeze;
eyes to see your presence in things that seem so insignificant at the time.
Free me from the relentless whirl of activity, from the obsessions which so limit me
and snatch away my freedom to answer your call.
Like St Francis, may I too become a pilgrim,
called to walk the path you set before me, wherever it may lead
but always safe in the knowledge that Christ walks beside me unseen.
Letter to the Jesuits of Europe from Amboina in India, 10th May 1546
Lord, before I ever came into being you knew me and loved me.
You have knit me together the way I am,
and given me life and laughter,
friends and the faces of kind strangers,
and a world of wonder and new discovery.
Grant me the freedom and the courage
to discover you anew each day
in the people I meet, in the places I go,
in the sounds I hear and the things I see.
Through Christ our Lord.
Letter to the Jesuits of Europe from Malacca in Malaysia, 22nd June 1549
Lord Jesus, it is so easy to be tempted
as you were tempted in the desert;
to make poor decisions for quick gains and satisfaction;
to turn the wonderful gifts of your generosity to unworthy and selfish ends.
Give me, day by day, the same Spirit of strength
with which you faced down those desert temptations of power, wealth and honour;
that my desire and motives, my words and actions,
may always be to the greater glory of God my Lord.
Letter to Jesuit Novice, João Bravo, from Malacca in Malaysia, 23rd June 1549
Father, as I look back on this day,
there are so many teeming thoughts,
such a babble of words,
and such a blur of activity,
that it is difficult to see your gentle and faithful presence amid it all.
Show yourself to me today, and every day.
Letter to Ignatius Loyola SJ and Jean Codure SJ from Lisbon in Portugal, 18th March 1541
God our Father, praise to you!
I am surrounded by so many good people, if only I take the time to notice:
People who speak your word of compassion and kindness;
people who act to give reality to your justice and reconciliation;
people whose lives are good seed growing in rich soil.
Give me too the grace to live in your Spirit,
and to be your presence for those I meet
as I go about the business of my day.
From the Short Catechism written by St Francis Xavier for the people of Goa in India, May 1542
you are entire goodness
and you are goodness for me.
Creator of all things,
who hold all things in being for me,
give me faith in you
and in myself.
Letter to the Jesuits of Goa from Kagoshima in Japan, 5th November 1549