Sincere and Religious Love

A letter of St. Francis Xavier to St. Ignatius of Loyola.

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St. Francis Xavier and St. Ignatius of Loyola – Church of the Jesuits, Paris

To my holy Father in Jesus Christ, Ignatius.
O my true Father, I received the letters of your holy charity in Malacca upon my return from Japan. The news that I was awaiting, and which they gave me, of the life and good health of your venerable and dear person, filled my soul with a joy that only God knows. I read your words, which breathed your grace and your piety, and I often reread them for the comfort and good of my soul, meditate upon them in my spirit and nourish myself with them, so to speak. Especially these last words, which are like the seal of charity that closes your letter: “All yours, without at any time being able to forget you, Ignatius”.

I read those words with sweet tears, and with tears I transcribe them, for the happy remembrance of times gone by and for the sincere and religious love that you have always shown me and that you still preserve. I consider the many toils and dangers which God has spared me in Japan, thanks to your prayers and your paternal mediation on my behalf. […]

Your holy charity also manifests the desire to see me once again before leaving this life. Our Lord, who knows the depths of my being, is aware of the lively and tender emotion that was born in me on account of this supreme testimony of your valued love. And every time those words return to my spirit – that is, at all times – involuntary tears fill my eyes and escape abundantly, without my being able to contain them. My heart rejoices at the thought of being able to embrace you once again; it is a difficult wish to be fulfilled, but what cannot be obtained by holy obedience?

From Cochin, January 29, 1552, Francis, the least of your sons, and the farthest from your presence.

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