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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Fast Day 194 February 19 2011 {On Talking to a Man from Maharahstra}

On Talking to a Man from Maharashtra about 
the Body of St. Francis Xavier Preserved in Goa, 
about Christians in India, 
and about Sectarian Fighting.

there are days when you just need a drink,
and today is one of those:
kick-my-ass day,
snake-in-grass day;
and I don't drink...
a chocolate eating day.

there are days when you just need some love
and today is one of those:
bleed-my-heart day,
fall-apart day;
but I'm alone...
ginger-cinnamon day!

Nutmeg and ginger, cardamon, clove...
float on spring freshets in the river
past my private glass pavilion
in old-time Goa
upon the sea;
anise, cumin and marjoram, they embalmèd me...
I saw every sunrise...  and sunset upon that sea!

It seems the world is so little changed
from my seafaring-gospel days,
I see no point to stay around
and totemic;
I seek now a funeral: be buried in the soil:
aphrodisyaks and curatives...  turn to holy oil!


St. Francis Xavier   Jesuit missionary to the Far East. He was named Francisco de Jasso y Azpilicueta to a wealthy family in Navarre. He was a co-founder of the Jesuits with Ignatius de Loyola. In 1541, he left Lisbon to serve as missionary in the Portuguese colonies oversea. On 11 December 1553, Xavier's body was shipped to Goa. The body is now in the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa, where it was placed in a glass container encased in a silver casket on 2 December 1637. 
It appears somewhat preserved, although by no means incorrupt.

Spices are metaphors:  new essences, aphrodisiacs, embalming agents, and oils to bless the holy dead.

This took me totally by surprise. It was the work of one fitful night and a morning.In our discussion about the body of St. Francis, we agreed that it might be best that he be at rest, no longer on display. Perhaps he is by now. I have not looked into it.

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