St. Anthony, Cooler Than Just Finding Your Lost Crap

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We’ve all asked him to help us find our lost keys or wallets or baby binky or any number of other misplaced items (sometimes even our sanity). Most of us even know the little ditty we pass off as a prayer: “St. Anthony, St. Anthony come round. Make what was lost, now be found!” But St. Anthony of Padua is actually way cooler than just someone who helps us find our lost items! Here are some things you may not have known about him.

He’s not Italian! At all!

St. Anthony was born Fernando Martins in Lisbon, Portugal in 1195. At the age of 15, he asked to be received into the abbey at the then-capital of Portugal, where he was eventually ordained a priest. He joined a Franciscan order in Portugal shortly after.

It wasn’t until Fernando joined the Franciscans that he changed his name to Anthony (after St. Anthony of Egypt) and wasn’t until then that he even left Portugal! He sailed to Morocco but became very sick. On his return voyage, the ship was blown off course and landed on Sicily, from where they went on to Tuscany. And that is how St. Anthony got to Italy.

He was a magnificent preacher

One time, the Dominicans were visiting the area of the Franciscans and there was a mix-up as to who would give the homily. Being known for their preaching, the Franciscans thought the Dominicans would give it, but, because they were the visitors, the Dominicans assumed the Franciscans would give it. The head of the Franciscan hermitage then told St. Anthony to preach on whatever the Holy Spirit told him to preach on and he delivered such an eloquent speech that it moved both groups and word got around to St. Francis of Assisi.

The story of why he became the patron of lost things is really cool

St. Francis had entrusted the friars’ pursuit of studies to St. Anthony (that’s how much he trusted him!). At that time, St. Anthony had a book of psalms with written notes and comments to help him teach. Because the printing press had not been invented yet, the book was extremely valuable to St. Anthony.

When a novice left the order, he stole St. Anthony’s book. Upon noticing it missing, St. Anthony prayed that the thief would return it. Well, what do you know, not only did the thief return the book but he rejoined the order, as well!

He’s a Doctor of the Church

Known as the Evangelical Doctor, Ven. Pope Pius XII declared him a Doctor of the Church in 1946 because, as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI noted, “the freshness and beauty of the Gospel emerge from [his] writings.” St. Anthony did teach occasionally at universities, but his teachings were so simple but profound that most anyone could understand his messages!

Yes, he did preach to the fish

St. Anthony tried to preach the truth of the Gospel to a group of heretics, but they did not listen to him. Instead, St. Anthony went to the fish and preached his message to him and they were all attentive! He did not preach to the fish for the fishes’ benefit but for the glory of God, as even the simple creatures of the sea understood the truth and glory of the message St. Anthony proclaimed. When the heretics saw that even the fish were attentive to St. Anthony’s words, they too decided to listen to him.

His tongue is *ALMOST* incorrupt!

While the rest of his body decayed as usual, his tongue is rather well preserved. This shows the gloriousness and truth of the message he preached and also denotes what an incredible preacher he really was.

A quote from one of his sermons really sums up his life: “The saints are like the stars. In his providence Christ conceals them in a hidden place that they may not shine before others when they might wish to do so. Yet they are always ready to exchange the quiet of contemplation  for the works of mercy as soon as they perceive in their heart the invitation of Christ.”

His nickname is “Hammer of Heretics”

Seems a little silly for a man generally depicted as holding the Baby Jesus and a white lily stalk to be known as the Hammer of Heretics. But! Many miracles attributed to him often revolve around disputes with heretics. There is, of course, the story of the fish mentioned above. There is also a time noted when a man said he would not believe in the Eucharist unless St. Anthony could get his horse to bow down to the Eucharist. The horse then refused to eat for three days until it could prostrate itself before the Blessed Sacrament in adoration, which St. Anthony brought to it.

Another miracle mentioned is that a poisoned meal was brought to St. Anthony by some heretics and he ate it without harm after he made the Sign of the Cross over it. Everything that St. Anthony did and said gave way to the glory and truth of God, so much so that heretics could not stand.

The Responsory or a better prayer to St. Anthony

If you seek for miracles,
         Death, error, all calamities,
         The demons fly, and leprosy,
         And health succeeds infirmities.
         The sea obeys and fetters break,
         And lifeless limbs thou dost restore;
         Whilst treasures lost are found again, 
         When young and old thine 
         aid  implore.     All dangers vanish at thy prayer,
         The direst need doth quickly flee.
         Let those who know thy power proclaim,
         Let Paduans say these are of thee.      The sea obeys and fetters break,
         And lifeless limbs thou dost restore;
         Whilst treasures lost are found again, 
When young and old thine 
         aid  implore.          

         To Father, Son may glory be
         And Holy Ghost eternally. The sea obeys and fetters break,
         And lifeless limbs thou dost restore; Whilst treasures lost are found again, 
         When young and old thine 
         aid  implore. V.          Pray for us, Blessed Anthony.
R.          That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray
O God, may the votive commemoration of Blessed Anthony, Thy Confessor, be a source of joy to Thy Church, that she may always be fortified with spiritual assistance, and deserve to enjoy eternal happiness. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord.   Amen 

         


        

        

        

        


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