Tag Archives: St Anthony of Padua

Stand in the blazing splendor of the saints: Anthony of Padua

Today’s liturgical memorial honors the famed Franciscan Anthony of Padua. In the the Office of Readings in the Liturgy of the Hours I found an incredibly striking line in the final paragraph of the sermon Saint Anthony. He said:

“We should speak, then, as the Holy Spirit gives us the gift of speech. Our humble and sincere request to the Spirit for ourselves should be that we may bring the day of Pentecost to fulfilment, insofar as he infuses us with his grace, by using our bodily senses in a perfect manner and by keeping the commandments. Likewise we shall request that we may be filled with a keen sense of sorrow and with fiery tongues for confessing the faith, so that our deserved reward may be to stand in the blazing splendor of the saints and to look upon the triune God.”

The Saint notes to his hearers (and thus to us, too) that we are to make a request of the Holy Spirit for His gifts, the same gifts given on the original Pentecost. These gifts are promised to make perfect the senses we have in our bodies, and given as the Spirit sees fit to give. We are given what we need according to the Spirit’s discernment. But we are to ask, no beg, for the gifts of the Spirit. In the Divine Plan for man and woman is that our bodies are the locus of our divine revelation and the inner life of the Trinity.

Anthony notes that we are to be filled with “a keen sense of sorrow”: what could this mean? I take him to indicate that like his patrons Saint Francis and Saint Clare and a great spiritual tradition, we are to take up the work of conversion and to live humbly. In this manner, a life penance helps us to recognize  our human need for Christ, for THE Savior; According to Aquinas, “To act from need belongs only to an imperfect agent,” not to God (ST I, q. 44, a. 4, ad 1). Our imperfections are a source of sorrow.

A keen sense of sorrow for sins that wound and estrange us from the holiness of the Trinity and the communion we ought to share with one another.

The “fiery tongues for confessing the faith” is an apostolic mission: to preach the Gospel, Christ crucified and risen, like the great St Paul and the Church Fathers. Confessing the faith –giving witness– to the life offer to us by the Lord. Preaching, I am sure Anthony would agree, does not only mean preaching of competent clergy in Divine Services, but in the ordinary places of where we live and work and spend our leisure time. Today is the day of salvation.

But the beautiful line is “to stand in the blazing splendor of the saints”. Will you stand in this blazing splendor? I hope so…

St. Anthony of Padua

 

“In 1946 Venerable Pope Pius XII proclaimed Anthony a Doctor of the Church, attributing to him the title “Doctor Evangelicus”, since the freshness and beauty of the Gospel emerge from these writings. We can still read them today with great spiritual profit.”

– Benedict XVI

St. Anthony of Padua, pray for us.

St Anthony of Padua

St Anthony of Padua detailSt Anthony of Padua (1195–1231), a Doctor of the Church, carries the nickname of “the ark of the covenant” for his deep knowledge of sacred Scripture and the ability to do great things for God’s Kingdom: drawing large crowds –including animal life– to hear his preaching, inspiring countless souls to amend their ways, and gave true Catholic teaching by the strong argument of miracle as well as of doctrine. As the Ark of the Covenant, St Anthony challenged the false teaching about God and human beings and called his hearers to right teaching, right living, right relationship with God, the Lover of Humanity.

In Abbot Prosper Granger’s monumental work, The Liturgical Year, conveys this prayer: O thou who dost daily fly to the aid of thy devoted clients in their private necessities, thou whose power is the same in heaven as heretofore upon earth, succor the Church, aid God’s people, have pity upon society, now more universally and deeply menaced than ever. O thou ark of the covenant, bring back our generation, so terribly devoid of love and faith, to the serious study of sacred letters, wherein is so energizing a power. O thou hammer of heretics, strike once more such blows as will make hell tremble and the heavenly powers thrill with joy.

Saint Anthony of Padua

St Anthony El GrecoGod has given us a saint that is more important merely a person who finds loss items. Saint Anthony of Padua is really the model of being pure of heart. A rare virtue these days.

The liturgical memory of Saint Anthony of Padua (1191/5-1231), recalls for us that one of the most renowned Franciscans of history can be real, humble and call all to greater freedom in Christ. No one was immune to the preaching of Anthony: even the fish were converted to the Lord. The record gives us:

Historically, he was baptized Ferdinand into a family of knights in Lisbon, Portugal, then on the frontiers between the Christian and Muslim cultures, he entered the canons regular of St. Augustine as a young man, first stationed in Lisbon and then in Coimbra, where he received an excellent education in the Scriptures. The Friars Minor arrived in Portugal in 1217, and Ferdinand, inspired by five friars who were martyred in Morocco in 1220, joined them, taking the name Anthony after the small Franciscan hermitage outside Coimbra. He ended up in Italy, and within a few years, became a noted preacher in Northern Italy and in Southern France. Given permission by Saint Francis to teach theology to the friars, in 1227 he became provincial minister of Northern Italy and developed a strong association with the city of Padua. His preaching made a strong link between conversion to the Gospel and social justice. He died on this day in 1231 and was canonized the following year. 

 A thought from Saint Anthony’s homily for the Fifth Sunday after Easter. “Brothers and sisters, let us pray that the Lord Jesus Christ pour his grace into us by means of which we ask for and receive the fullness of true joy. May he ask the Father for us; may he grant us true religion so that we may merit to come to the kingdom of eternal life.”

For a more detailed popular biography click on this link.

If you look at the picture you’ll notice that Saint Anthony holds the lily, the  symbol of purity of heart. The presence of the Christ child in the saint’s scripture book is meant to indicate that Saint Anthony discovered the living Christ in the pages of Scripture.

Saint Anthony of Padua

St Anthony UrbinelliThe text is an excerpt of a sermon by Saint Anthony of Padua — “Actions speak louder than words” — which is quite appropriate for us in the Octave of Pentecost.

In 2010 Pope Benedict spoke on Saint Anthony that after re-reading earlier today, I can only recommend it to you again. It is essential reading.

The man who is filled with the Holy Spirit speaks in different languages. These different languages are different ways of witnessing to Christ, such as humility, poverty, patience and obedience; we speak in those languages when we reveal in ourselves these virtues to others. 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. Gregory says: “A law is laid upon the preacher to practice what he preaches.” It is useless for a man to flaunt his knowledge of the law if he undermines its teaching by his actions.

But the apostles “spoke as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech.” Happy the man whose words issue from the Holy Spirit and not from himself! […]

We should speak, then, as the Holy Spirit gives us the gift of speech. Our humble and sincere request to the Spirit for ourselves should be that we may bring the day of Pentecost to fulfillment, insofar as he infuses us with his grace, by using our bodily senses in a perfect manner and by keeping the commandments. Likewise we shall request that we may be filled with a keen sense of sorrow and with fiery tongues for confessing the faith, so that our deserved reward may be to stand in the blazing splendor of the saints and to look upon the triune God.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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