Aug. 2, 2016 – Today is the feast of one of the original members of the Society of Jesus, St. Peter Faber, SJ, the man often called the “Second Jesuit.”
More than 140 years after being named “Blessed,” Peter Faber was canonized by Pope Francis on Dec. 17, 2013, the pope’s 77th birthday, in a decree of “equivalent canonization.” The pope said he admired Faber’s “dialogue with all, even the most remote and even with his opponents; his simple piety, a certain naïveté, perhaps; his being available straightaway; his careful interior discernment; the fact that he was a man capable of great and strong decisions but also capable of being so gentle and loving.”
For Faber’s “equivalent canonization,” the pope added the name of the new saint to the universal calendar of saints, without verifying that a miracle was performed through his intercession and without holding a formal canonization ceremony.
Faber was born in the Upper Savoy region of France in 1506 and was said by St. Ignatius to be the man best suited to direct others in the Spiritual Exercises. Faber — whose story is not nearly as well-known as those of his two college roommates, Ignatius Loyola and Francis Xavier — spent a great deal of his Jesuit life working with Protestants during the explosive time of the Protestant Reformation. Faber died in Rome in 1547 a few weeks before he was due to attend the Council of Trent. He was beatified in September 1872.
Fr. Marc Lindeijer, SJ, promoter of Jesuit sainthood causes, said that “more or less right after his election,” Pope Francis asked that the process be started for the canonization of Blessed Faber. According to Fr. Lindeijer, the canonization has been another step forward in recognizing that the Society of Jesus was founded by a group of companions and not only by St. Ignatius,
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Prayer for Detachment
I beg of you, my Lord,
to remove anything which separates
me from you, and you from me.
Remove anything that makes me unworthy
of your sight, your control, your reprehension;
of your speech and conversation,
of your benevolence and love.
Cast from me every evil
that stands in the way of my seeing you,
hearing, tasting, savoring, and touching you;
fearing and being mindful of you;
knowing, trusting, loving, and possessing you;
being conscious of your presence and,
as far as may be, enjoying you.
This is what I ask for myself
and earnestly desire from you. Amen.
Grace in Small Things
Seek grace for the smallest things,
and you will find grace to accomplish, to believe in,
and to hope for the greatest things.
Attend to the smallest things, examine them,
think about putting them into effect,
and the Lord will grant you greater.
Seeking God in Action
I then noted that by seeking God
in good works through the spirit,
one will more readily find him afterwards in prayer
than if one had sought him first in prayer
so as to find him subsequently in good works,
as is often done.
For he who seeks and finds the spirit of Christ
in good works makes much more solid progress than
the person whose activity is limited to prayer alone.