“Prayer is the best armor we have, it is the key which opens the heart of God.”

— St. Padre Pio

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St Anthony

June 13 is the feast of St. Anthony of Padua…. Anthony is one of the most popular Catholic saints in the liturgical calendar. People often ask his help when they lose things…. St. Anthony was also known for being a powerful preacher of the Good News….

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The gospel call to leave everything and follow Christ was the rule of Anthony’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 ordination where no one was prepared to speak. The humble and obedient Anthony 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.

Recognized 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 June 13, he became very ill and asked to be taken back to Padua, where he died after receiving the last sacraments. Anthony was canonized less than a year later and named a Doctor of the Church in 1946.

Reflection

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. He whom popular devotion has nominated as finder of lost objects found himself by losing himself totally to the providence of God.

Saint Anthony of Padua is the Patron Saint of:

Lost items
Poor
Travelers

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“After you died, Saint Anthony, God chose to make your holiness known to the world and to draw people by working miracles in answer to prayers made in your name. Since then, people have asked God to continue to honor you by working wonders through your intercession. Those who have experienced the power of prayers offered in your name have told how God has answered them. God has healed the sick, restored peace of mind, relieved poverty, and granted favors of all kinds. Now in this time of need I ask you, Saint Anthony, to pray with me for the things I desire. I pray that God may again give us a sign of loving care and providence and that, through you, God may draw us all to the fullness of life and love in eternity.”

–from the book Saint Anthony of Padua: His Life, Legends and Devotions

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Saint Anthony: Pray for us!

 

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