“Like many men, I am highly skilled in the art of losing things but prefer to outsource the recovery process.” ~ Craig Brown
“Have you seen an Alaskan Husky?!?” This was the panic-soaked inquiry directed at me while on a recent early Sunday Morning walk, spoken by a woman in an ocean blue BMW SUV with two young children in the backseat. “I have not…I’m sorry,” I replied. “But I’m going to continue this way towards the park,“ I assured her, “and if I do see one, I’ll corral it for you and start walking back this way in your direction.” “Thank you,” she replied to which I said “I’ll pray for you.” She quickly responded “Thanks! I need it.” As she sped away, I quickly added “and I’ll seek the intercession of Saint Anthony!”
Those of you familiar with this great Saint do not need me to finish this story, but for those of you who aren’t, the Alaskan Husky was found, and in less than 10 minutes I might add, and all order was restored to the canine community of North Georgia on that particularly sweltering and sunny Sunday Morning. Today we celebrate the Patron Saint of all things lost, the legendary Portuguese Catholic Friar of the Franciscan Order and one of only 37 Doctors of the Church, Saint Anthony of Padua https://www.stanthony.org/who-st-anthony/. He is also the Patron Saint of the illiterate and the poor in addition to his undisputed, previously aforementioned ability to assist those in finding what has been lost.
“Saint Anthony, Saint Anthony, look around, something’s lost, and must be found….”
This was the prayer taught to countless young children when I was a boy. I hope it’s still being said (and spread) today. In fact my earliest memory of Saint Anthony dates back to the early stages of my childhood. My beloved Batmobile “Corgi Car,” complete with tiny, meticulously painted figurines of Batman and Robin, was a favorite toy of mine. One day, Robin went missing, and I can state with a high degree of certainty that it had nothing to do with any nefarious shenanigans perpetrated by the Penguin. Carelessness on my part was to blame. Despite rummaging the house, the Caped Crusader’s trusty sidekick was nowhere to be found, not in my bedroom, not in the basement, not in the Batcave…not anywhere.
“Pray to Saint Anthony“ my mother said, as did my father and grandparents. So pray I did, and lo and behold, upon returning home from school the very next day, my parents were waiting and pleased to inform my that the Boy Wonder had re-assumed his proper place in the shotgun position of the Batmobile, alongside the greatest of all Superheroes. One child’s answered prayer is the Joker’s worst nightmare.
In addition to the countless tales of his tireless intercession, Saint Anthony was also a prolific evangelist. In fact to this day, his tongue remains incorrupt, a nod to his purity of speech and oratory acumen. Saint Anthony was no stranger to the awesome power of the Resurrected Jesus. During his life, he was a bearer of Christ’s healing and power by way of his preaching and encounters with unbelievers as well as the sick and the suffering. He was canonized a mere 11 months after his death because of the astounding number of miracles attributed to him, canonized even before Saint Francis of Assisi, the man for whom the Religious Order Saint Anthony entered was named after. Because of his heroic holiness and charity. Pope Leo XIII dubbed Saint Anthony “The Saint of the world.”
“The man who is filled with the Holy Spirit speaks in different languages,” he once said. “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.” Always quick to promote holiness as a way of life for all, he went on to conclude that “It is useless for a man to flaunt his knowledge of the law if he undermines its teaching by his actions.”
A humble man steeped in charity, Saint Anthony would say "The spirit of humility is sweeter than honey, and those who nourish themselves with this honey produce sweet fruit." Humility, it would appear, is a virtue they is slowly vanishing from our world today. Prolific Catholic Apologist G.K. Chesterton observed this phenomenon well ahead of many of his contemporaries, as he often did, once observing “What we suffer from today is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition and settled upon the organ of conviction, where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed. We are on the road to producing a race of men too mentally modest to believe in the multiplication table.” this dislocated humility, as Chesterton called it https://discover.hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Dislocated-Humility, brings about rivalries and discord, a far cry from the sweet fruit yielded from a humility rooted in charity and truth.
In light of yesterday’s Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity https://discover.hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Divine-Revelation-and-the-Holy-Trinity-Little-by-Little, I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Saint Anthony, wherein he said “The devil is afraid of us when we pray and make sacrifices. He is also afraid when we are humble and good. He is especially afraid when we love Jesus very much. . . . He runs away when we make the Sign of the Cross.”
May we too confess the faith with such fire and zeal that our deserved reward may be to stand in the blazing splendor of Saint Anthony of Padua and the entire Communion of Saints, to one day look upon the Triune God for all of eternity.
Saint Anthony of Padua, pray for us….