Saint of the Day – 13 June – St Anthony of Padua OFM (1195-1231) Doctor of the Church
The gospel call, to leave everything and follow Christ, was the rule of Saint Anthony of Padua’s life. Over and over again, God called him to something new in his plan. Every time, Anthony responded with renewed zeal and self-sacrificing to serve his Lord Jesus more completely.
His journey as the servant of God began as a very young man when he decided to join the Augustinians in Lisbon, giving up a future of wealth and power, to be a servant of God. Later, when the bodies of the first Franciscan martyrs went through the Portuguese city where he was stationed, he was again filled with an intense longing to be one of those closest to Jesus Himself: those who die for the Good News.
So Anthony entered the Franciscan Order and set out to preach to the Moors. But an illness prevented him from achieving that goal. He went to Italy and was stationed in a small hermitage where he spent most of his time praying, reading the Scriptures and doing menial tasks.
The call of God came again at an general chapter where no one was prepared to speak. The humble and obedient Anthon,y hesitantly accepted the task. The years of searching for Jesus in prayer, of reading sacred Scripture and of serving Him in poverty, chastity and obedience, had prepared Anthony to allow the Spirit to use his talents. Anthony’s sermon was astounding to those who expected an unprepared speech and knew not the Spirit’s power to give people words.
Recognised as a great man of prayer and a great Scripture and theology scholar, Anthony became the first friar to teach theology to the other friars. Soon he was called from that post to preach to the Albigensians in France, using his profound knowledge of Scripture and theology, to convert and reassure those, who had been misled by their denial of Christ’s divinity and of the sacraments..
After he led the friars in northern Italy for three years, he made his headquarters in the city of Padua. He resumed his preaching and began writing sermon notes to help other preachers. In the spring of 1231, Anthony withdrew to a friary at Camposampiero, where he had a sort of treehouse built as a hermitage. There he prayed and prepared for death.
On 13 June, he became very ill and asked to be taken back to Padua, where he died after receiving the last sacraments. Anthony was Canonised less than a year later and named a Doctor of the Church in 1946.
Anthony should be the patron of those, who find their lives completely uprooted and set in a new and unexpected direction. Like all saints, he is a perfect example of turning one’s life completely over to Christ. God did with Anthony as God pleased—and what God pleased was a life of spiritual power and brilliance that still attracts admiration today heaping miracle upon miracle during Anthony’s lifetime. He whom popular devotion has nominated as finder of lost objects, found himself by losing himself totally, to the providence of God.
St Anthony writes: “Christ, who is your life, is hanging before you, so that you may look at the Cross, as in a mirror. There you will be able to know, how mortal were your wounds, that no medicine other, than the Blood of the Son of God, could heal. If you look closely, you will be able to realise, how great your human dignity and your value are…. Nowhere other than looking at himself, in the mirror of the Cross, can man better understand how much he is worth” (Sermones Dominicales et Festivi III, pp. 213-214).
In meditating on these words we are better able to understand the importance of the image of the Crucified One for our culture, for our humanity that is born from the Christian faith. Precisely by looking at the Crucified One we see, as St Anthony says, how great are the dignity and worth of the human being. At no other point can we understand how much the human person is worth, precisely because, God makes us so important, considers us so important that, in His opinion, we are worthy of His suffering, thus, all human dignity appears in the mirror of the Crucified One and our gazing upon Him is ever a source of acknowledgement of human dignity…..Pope Benedict XVI (General Audience – February 10, 2010)
St Anthony of Padua, pray for us!
Wonderful St Anthony the miracle worker: https://anastpaul.com/2018/06/13/saint-of-the-day-13-june-st-anthony-of-padua-o-f-m-evangelical-doctor-hammer-of-heretics-professor-of-miracles-wonder-worker-ark-of-the-tes/
Celebrating St Anthony: https://anastpaul.com/2017/06/13/celebrating-the-life-and-miracles-of-st-anthony-of-padua-on-his-memorial-today-13-june/
O God, send forth Your Holy Spirit
By St Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) Doctor of the Church
send forth Your Holy Spirit
into my heart
that I may perceive,
into my mind,
that I may remember,
and into my soul,
that I may meditate.
Inspire me to speak
Teach, guide and direct my thoughts
and senses, from beginning to end.
May Your grace,
ever help and correct me,
and may I be strengthened now
with wisdom from on high,
for the sake of Your infinite mercy.