Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Feast of St. Anthony, June 13th

 I love how Chambers portrays St. Anthony  here -- so real and likable, and refreshingly masculine!

I venture to guess that most Catholics would name St. Anthony somewhere in their top five Catholic Saints Hit Parade.  Not only is he the soul of gentle piety, wisdom, and self sacrifice, but he is one of the saints of the Church known for his miracles -- some which were of the highest order:  he was renowned for the gift of a golden tongue, having converted multitudes by his sermons; when men would not listen, he preached to the fish, who poked their heads out of the water to hear; he is recorded as having the ability to bilocate; and among his many other gifts, he was given the highest honor of holding the Christ Child in his arms...  

But I think it may be how St. Anthony touches our own daily lives with miracles that endears him most to those who know him.  Good St. Anthony  helps us find stuff. And, who, from the youngest to the oldest, the sharpest to the most distracted doesn't need help occasionally (or all the time, if you're me!) finding lost things? In a household like ours, with so people to lose things and so many things to lose, all the stories of St. Anthony "finds" are too numerous to list, but here are a couple that come to mind first:

My Mom, who is a convert, tells the story of lost wedding rings and her first foray into the Catholic world of the intercession of the saints.  St. Anthony came through, miraculously recovering Mom's rings for her -- and so we were brought up with St. Anthony a member of the household.

I lost my wedding rings one time, too, a few years ago.  I was pregnant at the time (Anna, I think)  and my fingers had swollen, so at bedtime, I took my beloved rings off and put them on my bedside table.  In the morning, after the distraction of getting everyone fed, and dressed, and ready for the day, I remembered my rings and went back to get them -- but they were nowhere to  be found.  I didnt panic until after I'd moved the bedside table away from the wall, stripped the sheets off the bed, and gone through the drawer in my table about three times, dumping it out, and inspecting every item.  I turned over the trashcan, too, and went through every scrap.  I cross-examined all the children.  I left no stone unturned. But still no ring.

 So I panicked.  But just for a minute.  I remembered my mother's good luck a lifetime ago finding her wedding rings.  For heaven's sake -- I hadn't asked St. Anthony yet!   All was not lost.  Straight away I knelt down with the Littles and we begged our dear saint from Padua to help find Mommy's rings.  Then, since Dan was at Boys' Camp with the four big boys, I got ahold of him (miraculously, I might add) and got Dan and the boys and their friends to pray, too.  

The next morning, I looked again: checked all over the floor, then looked in my bedside table -- and there, in the bottom, right in the front of the drawer, in a little "clearing" were my rings!  And I knew they had not been there before!  There was no chance that it had been one of the Littles returning them -- as that had crossed my mind.  They were innocent as lambs, and as dumbfounded as I was.  It was definitely St. Anthony's doing!  Our dear good friend in heaven.

Thank-you, dear St. Anthony.  Thank-you for reminding us that even those things that seem little in the grand scheme of God's universe are important in Heaven, too when they touch our hearts and souls.  It's so important for us to see how God's love and care for us extends through His saints to us in little every day miracles.  These little fireside dramas of faith and trust imprint images on the hearts of children, especially, that are like little love notes from heaven.  We never forget them. 

Prayer to St. Anthony
(by St. Bonaventure)

If miracles thou vain would see;
Lo, error, death, calamity.
The leprous stain, the demon flies,
From beds of pain the sick arise.
The hungry seas forgo their prey,
The prisoner's cruel chains give way;
While palsied limbs and chattels lost
Both young and old recovered boast.

And perils perish, plenty's hoard,
Is heaped on hunger's famished board;
Let those relate who know it well,
Let Padua of her patron tell.
The hungry seas forgo their prey,
The prisoner's cruel chains give way;
While palsied limbs and chattels lost
Both young and old recovered boast.

Glory be the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
The hungry seas forgo their prey,
The prisoner's cruel chains give way;
While palsied limbs and chattels lost
Both young and old recovered boast.

V/. Pray for us, blessed Anthony,
R/. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us Pray
O God, let the commemoration of Blessed Anthony, Thy confessor, be a source of joy in Thy Church, that she may always be fortified with spiritual assistance, and may deserve to possess eternal joy. Through Christ our Lord. Amen

For the Chaplet of St. Anthony
This chaplet is composed of 13 decades of 3 blue beads each. On the first bead of each decade is said 1 Our Father, on the second the Hail Mary, and on the 
third the Glory be. At the end, recite 
The Miraculous Responsory (above). 

Unfailing Prayer to St. Anthony

"Blessed be God in His angels and in His saints."

O Holy St. Anthony, gentlest of Saints, you love for God and Charity for His creatures, made you worthy, when on earth, to possess miraculous powers. Miracles waited on your word, which you were ever ready to speak for those in trouble or anxiety. Encouraged by this thought, I implore of you to obtain for me (state request here). The answer to my prayer may require a miracle, even so, you are the Saint of Miracles.

O gentle and loving St. Anthony, whose heart was ever full of human sympathy, whisper my petition into the eaars of the Sweet Infant Jesus, who loved to be folded in your arms; and the gratitude of my heart will ever be yours. Amen.

(Then say the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be)

Seeking a Lost Article

Dear St. Anthony, you are the patron of the poor and the helper of all who seek lost articles. Help me to find the object I have lost so that I will be able to make better use of the time that I will gain for God's greater honor and glory. Grant your gracious aid to all people who seek what they have lost---especially those who seek to regain God's grace. Amen.

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