May 10, 2020: ST. ANTONINUS (OF FLORENCE)
May 10, 2020: COMMEMORATION OF ST. ANTONINUS (OF FLORENCE), BISHOP AND CONFESSOR
We give thanks to our Risen Jesus for the sublime gifts bestowed by him on thee, O Antoninus! The age in which thou livedst, was one of great disorder, and one that prepared the way for the scandals of the following Century; and yet thou wast one of the brightest lights the Church has ever had.
Grant, O Lord, we may be assisted by the merits of holy Antoninus, thy Confessor and Bishop; that, as we glorify thee for thy wonders wrought in him, so we may with joy experience thy mercy towards us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in unity of the Holy Ghost, God, World without end. Amen.
The Order of St. Dominic, which has already presented to our Triumphant Jesus Peter the Martyr and Catharine the seraph of Sienna, sends him, today, one of the many Bishops trained and formed in its admirable school. It was in the 15th Century, — a period when sanctity was rare on the earth,—that Antoninus realised, in his own person, the virtues of the greatest Bishops of ancient times. His apostolic zeal, his deeds of charity, his mortified life, are the glory of the Church of Florence, which was confided to his care. Heaven blessed that illustrious City with temporal prosperity on account of its saintly Archbishop. Cosmas of Medici was frequently heard to say, that Florence owed more to Antoninus than to any other man. The holy prelate was also celebrated for his great learning. He defended the Papacy against the calumnies of certain seditious Bishops in the Council of Basle: and, at the General Council of Florence, he eloquently asserted the truth of the Catholic Faith, which was assailed by the abettors of the Greek Schism. How beautiful is our holy Mother the Church, that produces such children as Antoninus, and has them in readiness to uphold what is true, and withstand what is false!
She thus speaks the praises of to-day's Saint:
Antoninus was born at Florence, of respectable parents. He gave great promise, even when quite a child, of his after sanctity. Having at the age of sixteen, entered the Religious Order of Friars Preachers, he at once became an object of admiration, by the practice of the highest virtues. He declared ceaseless war against idleness. After taking a short sleep at night, he was the first at the Office of Matins; which over, he spent the remainder of the night in prayer, or reading, or writing. If at times, he felt himself oppressed with unwelcome sleep, owing to fatigue, he would lean his head, for a while, against the wall, and then, shaking off the drowsiness, he resumed his holy vigils with renewed earnestness.
Being a most rigid observer of Religious discipline, he never ate flesh-meat, save in the case of severe illness. His bed was the ground, or a naked board. He always wore a hair shirt, and sometimes an iron girdle next to his skin. He observed the strictest chastity during his whole life. Such was his prudence in giving counsel, that, he went under the name of Antoninus the Counsellor. He so excelled in humility, that, even when Prior and Provincial, he used to fulfil, with the utmost self-abjection, the lowest duties of the Monastery. He was made Archbishop of Florence by Pope Eugenius the Fourth. Great was his reluctance to accept such, a dignity; nor would he have consented, had it not been out of fear of incurring the spiritual penalties wherewith he was threatened by the Pope.
It would be difficult to describe the prudence, piety, charity, meekness and apostolic zeal, wherewith he discharged his episcopal office. He learned almost all the sciences to perfection, and, what is surprising, he accomplished this by his own extraordinary talent, without having any master to teach him. Finally, after many labours, and after having published several learned books, he fell sick. Having received the Holy Eucharist and Extreme Unction, embracing the Crucifix, he joyfully welcomed death, on the sixth of the Nones of May (May 10th), in the year 1459. He was illustrious for the miracles which he wrought during his life, as also for those which followed after his death. He was canonized by Adrian the Sixth, in the year of our Lord 1523.
Taken from: The Liturgical Year – The Paschal Time, Vol. II, Dublin, Edition 1871; and
The Divine Office for the use of the Laity, Volume II, 1806.
St. Antoninus, pray for us.