of Padua, 1195-1231. Evangelical Doctor, Feast June 13th.
doctor resembled Jesus as much as Anthony. For example, he lived as
Jesus in obscurity for many years. He was unknown to everyone and
lived a quiet, hidden and non-public life. This doctor came to be
known quite suddenly as Jesus after a retiring life of prayer,
obedience and submission. As Jesus, his public life was very short
and he died about the same age as Jesus.
All the doctors, as
all creatures, can identify with Jesus supernaturally in a special
manner. The Messiah is the first born among all creatures and our
personal Word from the eternal Father. Godís Word, Jesus Christ, the
first and only expression of God, explicitly deigns to identify with
us in every manner except sin. The Church proclaimed Anthony the
evangelical doctor, among many other titles, because of his intense
longing and zeal for sharing the gospel and living out its message.
According to tradition, his body has perished but his tongue is
incorruptible. This is an incredible story. How is this possible?
Scripture informs us that with God all things are possible. We would
be wise to investigate the life of this doctor and explore
his God-given gifts. Many of the books in the resources explain his many miracles and holy life.
Before Anthony became well known, the
gospels were the main sources that he wholeheartedly pursued. Up to
this time, his life was hidden and unknown. Jesus, too, was totally
unknown to most people for thirty years prior to his public
ministry. He was an ordinary carpenter from a unknown town, that even had a bad reputation and many people felt no good could come.
This is a profound lesson that God wants us to know and cherish. It is not necessarily what we
do with our lives, or where we come from, but how we live our life
that is most important. We do not have to do great things to be
great. The carpenter role of Jesus and the hidden life of Anthony
were vital preparatory roles that led to their future missions. They
are no less important or more important than the ordinary lives that each of us live today.
God does not look at how much
(quantity) we do as what (quality) we do. That is why the church
places great value on all vocations and individuals. Whether we are
married or single, involved in the contemplative role or active
ministry, able or disable, it doesn't matter. The value of any
creature, whether a genius or limited in ability is equally precious in Godís
The Franciscan doctor, Anthony, had an insatiable
thirst to understand, master and live out the message and meaning of
the words of Jesus Christ and imitate that life. That was his
primary interest and consuming passion. His ardent desire was to
know and comprehend scripture totally. Anthony wanted total
identification with Jesus. Christ was, for Anthony, Godís personal
and precious Word. He wanted to know, express and speak about the
Word. Anthony felt that the Word of God required it to be heard
daily. It was an overriding idea. This particular Jew from Nazareth
may have lived a long time ago but for Anthony he was certainly most alive in spirit and not dead to Anthony. He
was alive spiritually because grace made him aware to him and Anthony wanted to perpetuate that memory
with the same action as Jesus did. And he did!
His faith made him
aware, that this person, the Nazarene, was alive and this divine and human
Being captured his heart and mind. He wanted to share the
evangelical counsels (Jesusí message) contained in the Old and New
Testaments but especially in the gospels. The gospels for Anthony
were Jesusí autobiography. He knew that Jesus didnít write it.
However, the same Spirit that guided Jesus had inspired the four
evangelists to write exactly what God wanted them to be known about
Godís Son. Anthony had an enormous quest and pining to convey all of
the "Good News" that the gospel contained. We know that all books in
the world can not hold the message and meaning that they contain. We could never have that many
When God imprints and impresses the deityís message,
image, and power in us, extraordinary things happen. No one can fully
comprehend the Supreme Beingís touch-not even the individual that
God favors. When the eternal Lover wounds an individual with
infinite love, profound things happen that are not always understood
and may appear ridiculous.
God alone knows the secrets of
the hearts and minds of all creatures instantaneously. How is this
possible? Isnít this too incredible to be believed? We are ignorant
of God because of disbelief and unbelief. Our belief in God gives us
the understanding of Godís gifts to us.
Believing in God is
a gift that somehow is shared by our consenting and yielding to the
unfathomable mystery surrounding us and especially within us. Belief
defies logic and supersedes reason, albeit as rational creatures we
need to use them most of the time. However, belief is a form of
perfect knowledge, a gift of the Spirit and we should know when to
yield to its Source. Reason distinguishes us from all other of God's animals because of our intelligence and free will.
Anthony longed to reveal God's love and
message burning in his heart. It compelled him to appear to do
strange things, as talking to the fish in water. Anthony probably
surmised: Didnít every creature want to hear the word of God?
Anthony had been powerfully impressed with the joy and glory of
sharing the Good News. It did not matter who was listening-not even
the fishes in the water. Besides, they were God's creatures too.
He proclaimed the Good News whenever and to whomever or what ever existed because
of his burning excitement to share God's flaming and enriching love.
This fervid lover of the Most High was on a mission and God
immensely imparted special graces into Anthonyís heart, mind, soul,
and spirit. Providentially knowing that his time on earth was to be
short-lived, he wanted to excel with the remaining time in sharing
the gospel of Jesus Christ. Love impelled him to move headlong forward with
pure abandonment and trust.
We might do the same. We do not
know when God will call us. I marvel each day when I read the
obituaries. I do not read these out of a morbid fear or attraction
of death. I am fascinated how God calls us at age two, twenty-two
and one hundred and two. There is no rime or reason.
have faith as Anthony, you will understand that no one dies by
Ďaccidentí. They may have been in an accident and perhaps God
allowed it to happen when it could have been avoided. However, God
permits death by a sudden aneurysm, an allergic, fatal reaction by a bee
sting or a bolt of lightning out of the sky. The mystery of life and
the duration of our life are entirely based on a divine and loving
providence. Faith alone can accept this and only love will cherish
it. God is profoundly mysterious and adorable. Who can know the mind
of God and understand all his ways? His glory is the rising sun and
all his words are flames. Only the love of God grasps
As Jesus spent only a few years in the public view with
his active ministry, Anthony, likewise, spent only a limited time
period in the 'limelight'. Most of his life developed and flourished
secretly-praying, studying and working as a consecrated Franciscan
The Evangelical Doctor was the Franciscanís first
theologian appointed by their Founder, Francis of Assisi. Originally, he started as an Augustinian. Only after
many years in isolation, as Jesus, did God call St Anthony to become
more known. Then, everyone recognized him. God inundated and
enriched him with superabundant gifts, fruits and beatitudes of the
Spirit. Then, nearly all saw and heard God's overwhelming love in
the words and actions of the illustrious St. Anthony. The same is
still going on today, even more so, after a millennium.
became renowned and distinguished in such a short time after his
ordination to the priesthood through a preparatory life of
obscurity. The miracles, wonders and signs which God poured out
through Anthony are incredible and too many to imagine. The numbers
would be endless and staggering. One can not possible understand a
miracle. We can only experience it.
Franciscans publish a
monthly magazine entitled, St Anthony Messenger. (SAM) For exploring
many articles on Anthony, the Franciscans or the Church, go to:
Discover why this doctor is frequently seen holding the Child Jesus
in his arms. Each month it highlights the extraordinary, new,
miracles that readers attribute to him. These favors and wonderful
events continue month after month! The magazine itself has recently
celebrated its 100th anniversary. The favors granted to those who
pray to St Anthony are stupendous and nearly too incredible to
believe- but, all things are possible to believers, lovers and those
who trust God.
He is utterly amazing and almost too
incredible to be believed. How can these happen? It seems that if
one truly believes that God can pour out his graces on those who
really need it, and wholeheartedly believe it, God will frequently do it. In
fact, the Almighty does it non-stop while they are alive. Perhaps,
God also allows that same disposition to be perpetuated in heaven on
a non-stop basis? Daily, God wants to bestow loving favors on us.
His legacy to the world, and his popularity even today, his
intercession before God is beyond comparison and comprehension. He
is the patron of untold causes and the church has lavished upon him
the highest honors of sainthood almost before he died. He was
canonized within a year of his death because of popular acclaim.
This fact alone is unprecedented in the history of the Catholic
Church. He is perhaps the most popular saint ever among the faithful
of the church.
Whenever you hear, see or read about Anthony,
though it might sound farfetched, it is nevertheless, probably true.
God's favors to him are beyond description and those who sincerely
petition him will probably receive more than asked or expected. St
Anthony has extraordinary intercessory powers- powers that are
awesome and powerful.
Above everything, Anthony was an
intense, gentle and prayerful lover. He always wanted to learn more
about God. He was never satisfied with the idea that God did not
want to bestow more on creatures. God is incessantly blessing us
with rich holiness. Anthony was consumed with divine love. It was a
divine romance. It was a stable infatuation and it moved him
He wanted to be a missionary. Anthony craved to be a
martyr. He wanted to love all passionately every day. He looked to
convert the Moors. They were a group that did not believe that Jesus
was the Son of God. He felt obliged to preach to heretics and all
ignorant of God. Many things that Anthony wanted belonged to his own
agenda. Anthony also understood that what he wanted was not
necessarily what God wanted. However, he accepted that too. He was a
This humble and fervent follower of Jesus was always
obedient. Genuine obedience is profound love and God delights in our
obedience. Religious in the catholic church tradition, for the most part,
take a vow of obedience. This is not easy and requires deep trust
and faith in God. Any person might secretly take a private vow of
obedience to those who have authority over them. However, always
consult a wise spiritual director before doing it. Always seek to
exercise the act of obedience whenever possible. It requires solid
trust. Do not yield it to anyone.
We might petition this
saint for wisdom in exercising the spirit of obedience. The spirit
of obedience isnít easy. It is perhaps the test of our salvation.
Pride rebukes obedience. It wants to take control. The spirit of
obedience is giving up control. We all want to take charge. Itís in
our nature. The spirit of obedience lends itself to capture the
supernatural. We are from below. God is from above.
easy to be obedient according to the law. The spirit of obedience
comes to the forefront when there is no law. This is most difficult
because there is no requirement to be obedient. When we willingly
and loving choose, the challenge is upon us. This can not be
achieved without strength that is above nature-Ďsuper-natureí. This
divine intervention we call supernatural grace. We have to beg for
it at times. Itís always given generously as God decides.
Anthony did mundane and menial tasks when asked. In surrendering his
will to God, he arrived at his full stature and God fulfilled all
his desires, dreams and hopes-more than he ever dreamt. Most of us
do not want to do the simple and ordinary things. We get bored
easily. We usually like to do the things we like rather than the
things we are told to do. The challenges that we have are small
compared to the challenges that Jesus had.
have a super model! Our Ďcrossesí are minute compared to the
challenges and Ďcriminalí crosses that Christ had to bear. He did it
for us. He carried it to show us how to do it. His message is that
there is no salvation except by carrying the cross. We do not like
to hear it. But it is the fact of life. Christ is the only way to
the Father. Anthony understood the gospel and lived it out fully to the
Jesus did the same thing laboring as a carpenter when
he was quite able to Ďdoí more exciting things explaining the
kingdom of God. After all, no one was more enthusiastic about
transmitting the message of the "Father of Light" to creatures. The people of Jesus' times
had such a dim awareness of the great goodness of God. Even most of the apostles at first were ignorant. Jesus could
easily have been a famous teacher for twenty years rather than sweat
in a carpenter shop day after day.
Our Lord was most articulate and his
words attracted everyone-those who loved and hated him during his public ministry. Jesus made
his mark quite easily. His words made an impression that one could
hardly forget. It seemed that he told us everything
that he did, and not what he could have done. That is the message of the
gospel. For Christ, the ordinary is extraordinary. The plain and
simple is exciting and fabulous. The undesirable work is most
desirable. Working with oneís hands is no less important than
working (talking) with oneís mouth or intellectual work.
Divine Redeemer loved to talk about God. Why be silent for thirty
years and then talk about God? Couldnít more be achieved by
explaining God than by keeping quiet? What was the use of the long
hours of solitude in a disliked, unknown town of Nazareth? Why not
teach in the glorious temple in Jerusalem that Solomon, Davidís son,
had constructed? Didnít they call him the Son of David? If the Jews
of Jesusí day were so ignorant of the true things of God, couldnít
Jesus, the master teacher, carefully explain and elaborate on
everything and put everything in its proper perspective so they
could grasp the message? Or, was his real message only the will of
Our Savior could have been a superb priest, ruler or
king. He was! However, he was not these in the traditional way we
think. He chose to labor and to be constantly reminded that the very
tools that he worked with-wood and nails-would be the very
instruments of his brutal punishment, pain and death. Most importanly over all, they were the means to our salvation and sanctificaton.
Jesus was a King, but His kingdom was not of this world. He was the Victim Priest and he ruled nature and it obey him. The sea,
wind, and waves yielded to him. All of nature obeyed him.
His overriding message to us
is the same. Be true to yourself, your calling and your God. Stay
open to the signals and God will tell you what to do. It isnít going
to be complicated. You only have to cooperate, be willing and obey
your conscience, the commandments and your heart. God will lead you
to the truth when you are sincere and earnest. Sincerity is the
intention and earnestness is the generous execution of that
intention. It challenges us today.
St Anthony is a darling
among the old and young. He is most popular saint in helping others
find a variety of things. We might petition him for things that
we once had but now lack. An example of this might be weak or lost
faith if that is possible. He can also help people find new meaning
in life, a job or another person.
The Companion of St
Anthony: The Conventual Franciscan Friars at 12300 Folly Quarter
Road, Ellicott City, Maryland 21042 have compiled a beautiful Litany
of the Lost in honor of Saint Anthony. The response for each of the
following petitions is: Rx Saint Anthony, pray for us.
of us who have lost...
our health, Rx etc.
our peace of mind,
our financial security,
peace within our families,
our trust in others,
Lamb of God, You take away the
sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Let us pray, All loving
God, You have given us St Anthony the patron of the lost, as an
intercessor of those who are in need of your mercy. Listen to his
voice as he calls out to You on our behalf, and grant those things
which will help us to grow in Your love. We ask this through Christ
our Lord. Amen.
Anthony is the Wonder-Worker of Padua and
the whole world. He is perhaps the most celebrated evangelizer and
the most popular saint-doctor that the Catholic Church ever had.
However, the Church will proclaim new doctors. She is exceedingly
rich. There will be more amazing people like St. Anthony.
Anthony never stopped begging, pleading and praying for God's
immeasurable and unlimited love and we should too! However, do not
ask for yourself. Ask for what you want to give away and God will
give you more than you can ask. We see this happening with St
Anthony and many others. This doctor and the other saints may not be
visible to us but they are ready and most willing to intercede for
us if we but implore them and Godís mercy for us.
"communion of saints" is an incredible article and reality of our
faith that we can be in touch with daily. This is especially true
when we pray or are united with our Lordís own body, blood, soul and
divinity in holy communion. The church provides us with unlimited
access and availability to grace, favors and benefits from many
sources. We should use what we feel most comfortable and allow
Providence to guide us. God calls and leads everyone
All of us have a unique envisonment of what we
ought to do. We have dreams, ideas and goals that we want to
achieve. For the most part, our plans are God given. We may not be
able to articulate our life objectives immediately but if we work
with them, they become clearer. We have talent, intelligence and
strength to carry out our plans. Jesus, Anthony and us are all
creatures from the same planet earth. Of course, Jesus had two natures. Each has a different time span.
But we are all evangelizers in our own distinct manner. We do not
have to achieve great things. All the things we do will be great if
we do them in order to please our heavenly Father. All of us have
the same Father.
We see how this happened with the amazing St
Anthony. He left one vocation and found another. The gospel call to
leave everything and follow Christ was the rule of Anthonyís life.
Anthony was already in religion. Why leave one for another? God
continually calls and challenges us. It is not only once but
continually. We need to be open to Godís graces and obedient to his
interpretation that others afford us. It is not easy. It requires
We must let our conscience, traditions and Godís
law and directions help us in our decisions. Perhaps, Anthony felt
as an Augustinian that he was going to accumulate wealth and power
as a famous professor and this turned him off. Perhaps he sought a
secluded life as Jesus did. We do not have all the answers. After he
changed to the Franciscans, obedience led him to the priesthood and
to be a theologian and teacher.
Who really knew why he
changed one religious order for the next? Perhaps he felt that his
chances of becoming a martyr were greater with the Franciscan
missionaries than with the Augustinians? Father Leonard Foley, a
gifted Franciscan authors that I have quoted continuously on this
web site, indicates that Anthony should be the patron of those who
find their lives completely uprooted and set in a new and unexpected
direction. With the job market and the marketplace what it is today,
St Anthony could be a prime candidate and example for many to
Finally, the great wonder-worker of Padua chose to
remain unknown and God made him most known. Godís ways are not ours.
What happened to ĎTonyí, as he is often called, can happen to us
today when we focus entirely on God's will.
All are called to
be an evangelizer in his own way and to holiness whether we are
using the telephone, watching TV or taking care of a family. Godís
Holy Spirit-the same eternal Spirit-that Anthony asked for and
received, is ours too.
The below link reflects Anthony's
extraordinary faith in Mary's maternal mediation. Think on her name,
virginity, assumption and purity with Anthony. Read the section how
St Anthony's life began with Mary.
branch of Francicans Nuns are the Poor Clares:
Another effective evangelizaton support for the Catholic Church is the Cursillo Movement. For more information: The National Curillo Center, P.O. Box 210226, Dallas, TX 75211-0226, Business telephone (214)339-6321.
Franciscan Writings: http://www.franciscan-sfo.org/Fwritings.htm
A fascinating link of Saint Anthony on the web site from the ministry of Dr Marcellino D'Ambrosio is listed below.
The below web site contains comprehensive resources on our church, faith, the bible, saints, writings, apologetics, evangelization, family issues, links, and many pertinent services. This superior and highly organized web site (see Table of Content) is a most fascinating site with beautiful prayers, devotions, and really too much to enumerate. A truly universal catholic site.