Posted by: Fr Chris | June 13, 2018

Happy Feast of St Anthony!

Today is the feast of Saint Anthony of Padua, Doctor of the Church. Born in Portugal, he became a Franciscan friar in 1221, two years after ordination as a priest. He was renowned for his preaching, through which he brought the city of Padua back to the Faith. Thus he became patron of lost articles – through his ministry, fallen-away Catholics “found” their way home. He is always shown with the Child  Jesus – Christ came to him, willing to be embraced by him, because of his purity, his holiness, his dedication. Can I live my life in such a way that the Child Jesus would want to rest in my arms? 

Image result for st anthony of padua preaching to the fish

In one famous incident  he was rejected at Rimini, a city whose leaders were firm heretics. He walked down to the river, and there Saint Anthony spoke aloud: “You, fish of the river and sea, listen to the Word of God because the heretics do not wish to hear it.” The people then saw thousands of fish appear, rising out of the water, their eyes focused on the friar, as Anthony continued to preach the True Faith. When he finished his sermon, he blessed the fish, and they returned into the river. The city was converted back to Catholicism and repented of their hardness of heart.

Anthony is known for many miracles, all meant to bring about conversion or trust in God. One of my favorites is how he brought people back to faith in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist:

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A certain heretic at Rimini  refused to believe in the Real Presence. He made this proposition to St. Anthony. The unbelieving heretic would starve his mule for three days. 
If the hungry animal would prostrate before the monstrance, then the heretic would confess the reality of the Blessed Sacrament.
On the appointed day the heretic appeared in the town square with his beast. St. Anthony approached from the opposite side with the Sacred Host. A curious group of believers and unbelievers alike watched to see just what would happen.
A large pan of oats and a bundle of fragrant hay were placed before the hungry animal.
But all this was ignored. Instead, the mule approached our Saint and fell on her knees before the Blessed Sacrament. 
True to his promise, the heretic made a profession of faith in the Real Presence. –from The Miracles of Saint Anthony


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High Altar of Saint Anthony church, Buffalo, New York 

We need more preachers, and more convinced Catholics, to stir up souls once again, to bring back those who have simply walked away from the Church, those who have fled due to pain or scandal, those who are uncertain that God even exists! I pray daily to Saint Anthony for the graces to be a good confessor, to preach well, and to write well. My Grandmother Zugger went every day to Saint Anthony’s church in downtown Buffalo when she worked there, and my former secretary, the late Agnes Adamsko, had a deep devotion and trust in Saint Anthony’s intercession before the throne of God. May their example lead more souls to look to him, to his writings, to his great love for Christ, and move closer to God and His Church!

He died in his hermitage, a tree house of sorts, in 1231 and was canonized within a year – that’s how great his reputation was.

Wisdom from St. Anthony: “Actions speak louder than words; let your words teach and your actions speak. We are full of words but empty of actions, and therefore are cursed by the Lord, since he himself cursed the fig tree when he found no fruit but only leaves. It is useless for a man to flaunt his knowledge of the law if he undermines its teaching by his actions.” 


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