June 13, 2020: ST. ANTHONY OF PADUA
June 13, 2020: ST. ANTHONY OF PADUA, CONFESSOR
O Beautiful star of Spain, Pearl of poverty, Anthony, Father of science, Model of purity, Light of Italy, Doctor of truth, Thou shinest at Padua as a brilliant sun, by the wonders thou workest.
The Miraculous Responsory
The Miraculous Responsory, the composition whereof is attributed to Saint Bonaventure. It continues still to justify its name, in favour of those who recite it in the hour of need. In the Franciscan Breviary it is the eighth Responsory of the Office of Saint Anthony of Padua. At a very early date, this together with the Nine Tuesdays in our Saint's honour, became a very popular devotion and was fraught with immense fruits of grace.
℟. If ye seek miracles,—lo! death, error, calamities, the demon and the leprosy, flee
all away; the sick also arise healed.
*Sea and chains give way; young and old alike, ask and receive again the use of members, as well as things lost.
℣. Dangers vanish,—ceases likewise need: let those who have experienced such, relate these facts; let the Paduans repeat:
*Sea and chains give way; young and old alike, ask and receive again the use of members, as well as things lost.
be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
*Sea and chains give way; young and old alike, ask and receive again the use of members, as well as things lost.
℣. Pray for us, O blessed Anthony,
℟. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let Us Pray.
May the votive solemnity of blessed Anthony, thy Confessor, give joy to thy Church, God; that it may be ever defended by spiritual assistance, and deserve to possess eternal joys. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Efficacious Prayer To St. Anthony In All Needs.
“O Glorious St Anthony, sure refuge of the afflicted and distressed, I a poor sinner, come to thee with hope, love and confidence. I pour forth my prayer to thee, I implore thy aid, thy protection and thy blessing. O dearly beloved Saint, I implore Thee grant the favour I now so earnestly ask; (name it) provided that it be in accordance with the will of God and the welfare of my soul. Should such, however, not be the case, obtain for me such other grace as may be conducive to my salvation. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.”
Taken from: "Devotions to the Wonder-Worker, St. Anthony of Padua", p. 66, by Fr. R. Pennafort O.F.M., Imprimatur 1913
Click here, for more prayers, devotion of Nine and Thirteen Tuesdays, and other devotions to St. Anthony of Padua.
“Rejoice thee, happy Padua, rich in thy priceless treasure!” Anthony in bequeathing thee his body, has done more for thy glory, than the heroes who founded thee on so favoured a site, or the doctors who have illustrated thy famous university!
The days of Charlemagne were past and gone: yet the work of Leo III still lived on, despite a thousand difficulties. The enemy, now at large, had sown cockle in the field of the divine Householder; heresy was cropping up here and there, whilst vice was growing apace in every direction. In many an heroic combat, the Popes aided by the Monastic Order, had succeeded in casting disorder from out the Sanctuary itself: still the people, too long scandalized by venal pastors, were fast slipping away from the Church. Who could rally them once more? who wrest from Satan a reconquest of the world? At this trying moment, the Spirit of Pentecost, ever living, ever present in Holy Church, raised up the Sons of St. Dominic and of St. Francis. The brave soldiers of this new militia, organised to meet fresh necessities, threw themselves into the field, pursuing heresy into its most secret lurking holes, and thundering against vice in every shape and wheresoever found. In town or in country, they were everywhere to be seen confounding false teachers, by the strong argument of miracle as well as of doctrine; mixing with the people whom the sight of their heroic detachment easily won over to repentance. Crowds flocked to be enrolled in the Third Orders instituted by these two holy founders, to afford a secure refuge for the Christian life in the midst of the world.
The best known and most popular of all the sons of St. Francis, is Anthony whom we are celebrating this day. His life was short: at the age of thirty five, he winged his flight to heaven. But a span so limited, allowed nevertheless of a considerable portion of time being directed by our Lord, to preparing this chosen servant unto the ministry destined for him. The all important thing in God's esteem, where there is question of fitting apostolic men to become instruments of salvation to a greater number of souls,—is not the length of time which they may devote to exterior works, but rather, the degree of personal sanctification attained by them, and the thoroughness of their self abandonment to the ways of divine Providence. As to Anthony, it may almost be said, that up to the last day of his life, Eternal Wisdom seemed to take pleasure in disconcerting all his thoughts and plans. Out of his twenty years of religious life, he passed ten amongst the Canons Regular, whither the divine call had invited him at the age of fifteen, in the full bloom of his innocence; and there, wholly captivated by the splendour of the Liturgy, occupied in the sweet study of the holy Scriptures and of the Fathers, blissfully lost in the silence of the cloister,—his seraphic soul was ever being wafted to sublime heights, where (so it seemed) he was always to remain, held and hidden in the secret of God's Face, When on a sudden, behold! the Divine Spirit urges him to seek the martyr's crown: and presently, he is seen emerging from his beloved monastery, and following the Friars Minor to distant shores, where already some of their number had snatched the blood-stained palm. Not this, however, but the martyrdom of love, was to be his. Falling sick and reduced to impotence, before his zeal could effect anything on the African soil,—obedience recalled him to Spain; but, instead of that, he was cast by a tempest, on the Italian coast.
It happened that Saint Francis was just then convoking his entire family, for the third time, in General Chapter. Anthony unknown, lost in this vast assembly, beheld at its close, each of the Friars in turn, receive his appointed destination, whereas to him not a thought was given. What a sight!—the scion of the illustrious family de Bouillon and of the kings of the Asturias, completely overlooked in the throng of holy Poverty's sons! At the moment of departure, the Father Minister of the Bologna Province, remarking the isolated condition of the young religious whom no one had received in charge,—admitted him, out of charity, into his company. Accordingly having reached the Hermitage of Monte Paolo, Anthony was deputed to help in the kitchen and in sweeping the house, being supposed quite unfitted for anything else. Meanwhile, the Augustinian Canons, on the contrary, were bitterly lamenting the loss of one whose remarkable learning and sanctity, far more even than his nobility, had up to this, been the glory of their Order.
The hour at last came, chosen by Providence, to manifest Anthony to the world; and immediately, as was said of Christ Himself, the whole world went after him. (St. John, xii. 19) Around the pulpits where this humble Friar preached, there were wrought endless prodigies, in the order of nature and of grace. At Rome, he earned the surname of Ark of the Covenant; in France, that of Hammer of heretics. It would be impossible for us here, to follow him throughout his luminous course; but suffice it to say, that France as well as Italy, owes much to his zealous ministry.
St. Francis had yearned to be himself the bearer of the Gospel of peace, through all the fair realm of France, then sorely ravaged by heresy; but in his stead, he sent thither, Anthony, his well beloved son and, as it were, his living portrait. What St. Dominic had been in the first crusade against the Albigenses,—Anthony was in the second. At Toulouse, was wrought that wondrous miracle of the famished mule turning aside from the proffered grain, in order to prostrate in homage before the Sacred Host. From the Province of Berry, his burning word was heard thundering in various distant provinces; whilst Heaven lavished delicious favours on his soul, that remained ever childlike amidst the marvelous victories achieved by him, and the intoxicating applause of an admiring crowd. Under the very eyes of his host, at a lonely house in Limousin, the Infant Jesus came to him radiant in beauty; and throwing Himself into his arms covered him with sweetest caresses, pressing the humble Friar to lavish the like on Him. One feast of the Assumption, Anthony was sad, because of a phrase then to be found in the Office, seeming to throw a shade of discredit on the fact of Mary's body being assumed into heaven, together with her soul. Presently, the divine Mother herself came to console her devoted servant, in his lowly cell, assuring him of the truth of the doctrine of her glorious Assumption; and so left him, ravished with the sweet charms of her countenance and the melodious sound of her voice. Suddenly, as he was preaching at Montpellier, in a church of that city thronged with people, Anthony remembered that he had been appointed to chant the Alleluia, at the conventual Mass in his own convent, and he had quite forgotten to get his place supplied. Deeply pained at this involuntary omission, he bent his head upon his breast: whilst standing thus motionless and silent in the pulpit, as though asleep, his brethren saw him enter their choir, sing his verse, and depart; at once, his auditory beheld him recover his animation, and continue his sermon with the same eloquence as before. In this same town of Montpellier, another well known incident occurred. When engaged in teaching a course of theology to his brethren, his commentary on the Psalms disappeared; but the thief was presently constrained, even by the fiend himself, to bring back the volume, the loss whereof had caused our Saint so much regret. Such is commonly thought to be the origin of the popular devotion, whereby a special power of recovering lost things, is ascribed to Saint Anthony. However this may be, it is certain, that from the very outset, this devotion rests on the testimony of startling miracles of this kind; and in our own day, constantly repeated favours of a similar nature, still confirm the same.
The following is the abridgment of this beautiful life, as given in the Liturgy.
Anthony was born at Lisbon, in Portugal, of noble parents, who brought him up in love of God. Whilst he was still a youth, he joined the institute of the Canons Regular. But when the bodies of the five holy martyred Friars Minor, who had just suffered in Morocco for Christ's sake were brought to Coïmbra, the desire to be himself a martyr enkindled his soul, and he therefore passed over to the Franciscan Order. Presently, still urged by the same yearning, he had well nigh reached the land of the Saracens, when falling sick on the road, he was enforced to turn back; but the ship bound for Spain, was drifted towards Sicily.
From Sicily, he came to Assisi, to attend the General Chapter of his Order, and thence withdrew himself to the Hermitage of Monte Paolo near Bologna, where he gave himself up for a long while, to contemplation of the things of God, to fastings and to watchings. Being afterwards ordained Priest and sent to preach the Gospel, his wisdom and eloquence drew on him such marked admiration of men, that the Sovereign Pontiff once, on hearing him preach, called him “The Ark of the Covenant.” Chiefly against heresies did he put forth the whole force of his vigour, whence he gained the name of “Perpetual hammer of heretics.”
He was the first of his Order, who, on account of his excellent gift of teaching, publicly lectured at Bologna on the interpretation of Holy Scripture, and directed the studies of his brethren. Then, having travelled through many provinces, he came one year before his death, to Padua where he left some remarkable monuments of the sanctity of his life. At length, having undergone much toil for the glory of God, full of merits and conspicuous for miracles, he fell asleep in the Lord, upon the Ides of June, in the year of salvation, one thousand two hundred and thirty one. The Sovereign Pontiff, Gregory the ninth enrolled his name among those of Holy Confessors.
Life of St. Anthony of Padua
St, Antony, though a native of Lisbon in Portugal, received his surname from his long residence at Padua, which city is possessed of the treasure of his relics. He was born in 1195, and christened by the name of Ferdinand, which he changed for that of Antony when he entered the Order of St. Francis, out of devotion to the great patriarch of monks, who was the titular saint of the little chapel of his Order in which he took the habit. His father was Martin de Bullones, an officer in the army of Alphonsus I, surnamed el Consultador, who, having defeated five kings of the Moors in the battle of Orique, in 1139, was crowned king of Portugal, and died in 1185. This prince's father, Henry of Burgundy, grandson of Robert, king of France, had begun the conquest of that country; but never took the title of king. The mother of our saint was Mary of Tevera, one of the most accomplished of women. Both his parents were equally distinguished by their nobility and virtue. They placed their son very young in the community of the canons of the cathedral of Lisbon, where his rising genius was carefully cultivated, and from his tender years he always advanced both in knowledge and devotion. At fifteen years of age he entered among the regular canons of St. Austin, near Lisbon; but not bearing the interruption and distraction which the visits of his friends there gave him, he desired, two years after, to be sent to the convent of the Holy Cross of the same Order at Coimbra, a hundred miles from the former city. The close retirement and the austerity in which he there lived astonished his brethren whilst he pursued his studies, and read assiduously the holy scriptures and fathers. By his regular method and application, and by his sound and piercing judgment, he made a quick progress, and together with a profound knowledge of theology, acquired a perfect habit of nervous and convincing eloquence. In the meantime he inflamed his devotion by assiduous prayer and holy meditation, and nourished daily in his soul the strongest sentiments and affections of piety, without which means the heart is left spiritually dry, the usual consequence of studies whether sacred or profane, unless prayer imparts to them its unction. But the saint was called by God to serve him with greater fervour, and to be the ornament and support of another illustrious rising Order of religious men.
He had lived at Coïmbra near eight years, when Don Pedro, infant of Portugal, brought over from Morocco the relics of the five Franciscans, who had been lately there crowned with martyrdom. Ferdinand was strongly affected at the sight, and conceived an ardent desire to lay down his life for Christ. Shortly after, certain Franciscan friars came to his monastery of the Holy Cross to beg an alms for their community. Ferdinand discovered to them his inclination to embrace their institute, and was by them encouraged to put it in execution. No sooner was this known among the canons, but they endeavoured to dissuade him from such a resolution, and he suffered much from their railleries and bitter reproaches. But he rejoiced in humiliations, and he began by them to learn to overcome himself, and to root out of his heart all lurking poison of pride. Whilst he examined his vocation, and begged the direction of the Holy Ghost, he found his resolution every day gain new strength from the esteem he conceived for an Order which inspired an eminent spirit of martyrdom, and still enjoyed the direction and living example of its holy founder. Its poverty and austerities had also charms for him. Having therefore obtained the consent of his prior, he received this new habit in 1221, in the little Franciscan convent, dedicated to the great St. Antony, patriarch of the monks, near Coïmbra. After some time spent in solitude, prayer, and penitential austerities, burning with a desire of martyrdom, he obtained leave to go into Africa to preach the gospel to the Moors. He was scarcely arrived there, when God, satisfied with the sacrifice of his heart, visited him with a severe fit of illness, which obliged him to return to Spain for the re-establishment of his health. But by contrary winds, the vessel on which he was embarked, was driven to Sicily, and touched at Messina; where he was informed that St. Francis was then holding a general chapter at Assisium. Sick and weak as he was, the desire of seeing the holy founder of his Order carried him to Assisium. When he had seen St. Francis he desired to cultivate the happiness which he enjoyed in the company of the saint; and in order to stay nearer his person, offered himself to the provincials and guardians of Italy. St. Francis approved his inclination to renounce his friends and country; but not one of the superiors there assembled would be troubled with him, so unpromising and sickly was his aspect; for he took care to conceal his learning and talents, and presented himself only to serve in the kitchen. At last a guardian in the province of Romagna named Gratiani, took pity on him, and sent him to the hermitage of Mount-Paul, a little solitary convent near Bologna. Antony thought of nothing but of burying himself here in obscurity unknown to the world, joining the sweets of heavenly contemplation with the austerities of a penitential life, and the humiliations of such a state. He never let fall one word which might show his learning, much less anything of the sublime communications of his soul with God; but listened to everybody, and only spoke when obliged, till an accident made him known to the world. An assembly of the neighbouring Dominican and Franciscan friars was held at Forli, in which the Dominicans, as strangers, were desired to make an exhortation to the company. They all excused themselves, every one saying that he was not prepared. Then Antony's guardian ordered him to speak, and to say whatever the Holy Ghost should put in his month. The saint begged to be excused, alleging that he had been only used to wash the dishes in the kitchen, and to sweep the house. But the superior insisting upon his compliance, he spoke with such eloquence, erudition, and unction as astonished the whole company. He was at that time about twenty-six years old.
St. Francis was informed of the discovery of this hidden treasure in his Order, and sent him to Vercelli, there to apply himself to the study of theology, and after a short time to teach the sacred sciences; yet recommending to him to make the assiduous exercise of contemplation and prayer his principal employment, lest his studies should otherwise extinguish in him the spirit of devotion and piety. St Francis's letter was couched in the following terms: “To my most dear brother Antony, friar Francis wishes health in Jesus Christ. It seemeth good to me, that you should read sacred theology to the friars; yet so, that you do not prejudice yourself by too great earnestness in studies; and be careful that they do not extinguish in yourself or in them the spirit of holy prayer.” St. Antony taught divinity some years with great applause at Bologna, Toulouse, Montpellier, and Padua, and was appointed guardian at Limoges. In all these employments he never made use of the general dispensation allowed to professors, of an exemption from any of the regular duties of his community, and he found time to preach assiduously to the people. He at length forsook the schools to apply himself wholly to the functions of a missionary preacher; for he thought the conversion of souls from vice, and the reformation of manners, called for his whole attention and zeal. He seemed formed both by nature and grace for this most important office. He had a polite address, an easy carriage, and a very pleasing countenance. His voice was strong, clear, and agreeable; he was endowed with a happy memory, and was a complete master of all the arts of persuasion. To his other advantages he added that of the most graceful action and accent, by which he knew how to get into the very souls of his hearers by seizing on their senses, having learned that man has as much of a sensible as of a rational creature. He was perfectly versed in the holy scriptures, had an excellent talent of applying them to the purpose on all occasions, and displayed in a clear light, and with inexpressible energy the genuine sense, and the spirit and marrow of the sacred text. But what made his eloquence most prevailing, and rendered it like a torrent of fire which bore down all before it, was the unction with which he spoke. For his heart being filled with the warmest and most feeling sentiments of every virtue, he poured these forth with an energy and zeal that seemed irresistible. His words were so many darts which pierced the hearts of his hearers. For he had long treasured up by the exercises of humility, silence, mortification, contemplation, and prayer what he afterwards communicated to his hearers; and his soul was itself all flame before he endeavoured to kindle the fire of divine love in others. Full of a sovereign contempt of the world and himself, and burning with a desire to die for Jesus Christ, and to see his pure love reign in all hearts, he was above the reach of all temptations which could warp his integrity, or make him weaken or disguise the maxims of the gospel, which he announced with equal dignity and zeal to the great ones and the small. The learned admired the loftiness of his thoughts, and the strong images with which he painted the most sublime mysteries, and added an unspeakable dignity to the most obvious and common truths of religion and morality; yet a natural simplicity rendered all his discourses no less intelligible and easy to the most vulgar understandings. Charity and prudence took off the edge of harshness from his reprehensions, and his very reproofs were not bitter or austere, but amiable and insinuating. Whilst he beat down presumptuous sinners by the terrors of the divine judgments, he at the same time took care to raise and encourage their sinking souls by confidence in the divine goodness and mercy. He opposed the fashionable vices and growing heresies of those times with equal vigour and success. The most obstinate heretics and the most hardened sinners threw themselves at his feet, declaring themselves conquered. Pope Gregory IX hearing him preach at Rome in 1227, in his surprise, figuratively called him, The Ark of the Covenant, or rich spiritual treasure. The sanctity and severity of his life gave also great weight to his words. Such was the gravity of his countenance and the edifying modesty of his deportment, that he seemed to preach by every action. Having once invited a brother to go out with him to preach, he returned to his convent without making any sermon to the people. His companion asked him why he had not preached? “We have done it,” said the saint, “by our modest looks, and by the gravity of our behaviour.” The frequent miracles which were performed by him much enhanced the reputation of his eminent sanctity wherever he came. The crowds were every where so great at his sermons that he was often obliged to preach in market-places or fields. He travelled through cities, towns, and villages with an unwearied zeal, and preached in France, Spain, and Italy. When he was one day going to begin his sermon to a most numerous assembly in the fields in France, the sky was on a sudden covered with thick clouds, and violent claps of thunder presaged a dreadful storm. The people began to disperse, and run to the neighbouring city. But the saint encouraged them to stay, and by his prayers obtained that the audience, as if they had been covered with an invisible canopy, felt nothing of the dreadful shower of rain and hail, whilst the neighbouring fields and highways were covered with a deluge.
The saint was no less admirable in the confessional and in the private direction of souls than in the pulpit. Wherever he came, dissensions and animosities were extinguished, usurers restored their unjust gains, sinners melted into tears at his discourses, and by their sobs often interrupted his sermons, and every one sought his particular advice for the direction of his own conscience and conduct. In Lombardy, for the protection of the oppressed people, he put his life in the hands of one of the most furious of tyrants. Ezzelino, a native of the marquisate of Treviso, but of German extraction, having put himself at the head of a party of the Gibellins or Imperialists, made himself master of Verona, Padua, and several other cities in Lombardy, and exercised in them the moat horrible tyranny during forty years. He contemned the anathemas of Gregory IX, Innocent IV, and Alexander IV. Hearing that the citizens of Padua had revolted from him, he put to death in one day twelve thousand persons of that country. The city of Verona, which was the place of his residence, had lost most of its inhabitants, and was filled with his guards, whose terrible armour added fierceness to their savage countenances. The saint, who feared no danger in the cause of God and his neighbour went boldly to Verona; he found the streets solitary and mournful, and advancing to the palace, desired an audience of the prince. Being introduced into his chamber, he saw him seated on a throne, surrounded by his troop of murderers, who stood armed, ready to execute his bloody orders the instant they were issued. Anthony, no way dismayed, told the tyrant, that his murders, sacrileges, and plunders called to heaven for vengeance upon his head, and that those whom he had slain or oppressed were witnesses before God against him. The saint said many things to the same purpose, and the guards waited every moment to hear the tyrant command him to be cut to pieces. But to their great astonishment, he descended from his throne pale and trembling, and putting his girdle round his neck for a halter, cast himself at the feet of the humble servant of God, and with many tears begged him to intercede with God for the pardon of his sins. The saint lifted him up, and gave him suitable advice to do penance. Some time afterwards he sent a great present to St. Antony, which the holy man refused to accept, saying, the only agreeable present the prince could make him would be to restore to the poor what he had unjustly taken from them. Ezzelino seemed for some time to of change his conduct, but after the death of the saint, relapsed into his former disorders. At length being taken prisoner by the confederate princes of Lombardy in 1259, he died distracted in close confinement.
St. Antony, when invested with several dignities in his Order, was watchful to maintain the primitive spirit and regularity in the houses under his inspection. He saw it almost in its birth exposed to imminent danger, and saved it by his zeal and prudence. St. Francis dying in 1226, brother Elias, a man of a worldly spirit, was chosen general; who, abusing his authority, began to introduce several relaxations of the rule, which tended to the ruin of its fundamental constitutions and spirit. He built a church too magnificent for the poverty which the rule required and professed, applied money to his own private use, bought himself a horse, kept servants, ate in his own chamber, and had better fare than the community prepared for him. Most of the provincials and guardians, out of human respects, were gained to his way of thinking; and the rest, who saw that the tendency of such an innovation was to open a door to relaxations which must necessarily extinguish the spirit and glory of the order, had not courage to speak against it. Only St. Antony and an Englishman named Adam, boldly opposed and condemned these abuses; but were loaded with injuries and ill treatment, and only by flight escaped perpetual imprisonment in their cells, which the general with several provincials decreed against them as turbulent and seditious men. They addressed themselves to Pope Gregory IX by whom they were graciously received and heard. His holiness summoned Elias to appear before him at Rome, and having examined into the abuses by him introduced, deposed him from the generalship. Antony was at that time provincial of Romagna; but took this occasion to extort by importunities license from the pope to resign that post, and also to leave the court where his holiness earnestly desired to detain him. He retired first to Mount Alverno; thence returned to his convent at Padua, which he had pitched upon for his abode some time before he was provincial of Romagna, and where he had formerly taught divinity and preached. After his return he again preached the Lent there with such fruit, that the whole city seemed changed by his sermons. Then it was that he put the last hand to the Latin sermons which we have, though not as he preached them; for he diversified them according to circumstances, and spoke as the ardour of his soul directed him. They are no more than general heads or common places, destitute of the ornaments and flowers which he added in speaking.
When Lent was over, St. Antony being much spent with labour and his penitential life, finding also his health and strength declining very fast under an inward decay, he desired to give himself some interval between business and eternity. He therefore retired out of town, to a solitary place called Campietro, or Field of Peter, there to attend solely to himself and God, and by fervent prayer to dispose his soul for the enjoyment of God; for he knew that his earthly pilgrimage was drawing to an end, and that he was then called to receive the reward of his labours. He took with him into his solitude two companions, men of great virtue. His distemper increasing very much upon him he desired to he carried back to his convent in Padua; but the crowds of people pressing to kiss the hem of his habit were so great and so troublesome, that he stopped in the suburbs, and was laid in the chamber of the director of the nuns of Arcela, where having received the rites of the Church with many tears, he recited the seven penitential psalms, and a hymn in honour of the Blessed Virgin, till he gave up his happy soul to him who had created it for his own great glory, on the 13th of June, 1231, being only thirty-six years old, of which he had lived ten in the Order of St. Francis. At the first news of his departure the children ran about the streets crying out: “The saint is dead!” Innumerable miracles testified his sanctity, and he was immediately canonized by Pope Gregory IX in 1232 whose bull was dated at Spoletto. That pope had been personally acquainted with the saint, and was a great admirer of his virtues. Thirty-two years after his death, a stately church was built in Padua for his Order, and his remains were translated into it. The flesh was all consumed except the tongue, which was found incorrupt, red, and as fresh as it was whilst he was living. St. Bonaventure, who was then general of the Order, and present at this ceremony, took it into his hands, and bathing it with his tears, and kissing it with great devotion said: “O blessed tongue, that didst always praise God, and hast been the cause that an infinite number learned to praise him: now it appears how precious thou art before Him who framed thee to be employed in so excellent and high a function.” The tongue is kept in the same church in a most costly case. This is at present a great and famous house of conventual Franciscan friars, which often furnishes the university, which is certainly to be ranked among the best in Europe, with able professors. The sepulchral monument of the saint in the church is exceeding rich and magnificent, and the basso-relievo with which it is adorned, a master-piece of art. The costly lamps which hang before it are the several presents of many cities. The Portuguese likewise honour him with singular veneration… Pope Gregory IX in the bull of his canonization says: “We therefore commanded the said bishop, (of Padua,) brother Jordan, prior of St. Bennet's, and brother John, prior of St. Austin's, a monastery of the Dominicans in Padua, to make diligent scrutiny into the miracles wrought at his sepulchre, and into the merits of his life. Having seen the authentic proofs of the miracles of the aforesaid venerable man, besides what we know ourselves of his holy life and conversation, of which we have had experience, we, by the advice of our brethren, together with all the prelates with us, have enrolled him in the number of the saints.” He had said before in the same bull: “St. Antony, residing now in heaven, is honoured on earth by many miracles daily seen at his tomb, of which we are certified by authentic writings.”
Whilst we admire the graces and extraordinary gifts with which God was pleased to glorify his servant, we must not forget that he was raised so high, only because, by divine grace, through the paths of self-denial and humility, he had learned perfectly to die to himself, and to be nothing in his own eyes. Pride makes our hearts an abomination to God, and puts him at the greatest distance from us. This is the deep wound of our souls, the main-spring of all our passions, the deadly poison of virtue, the fortress of the devil, and the source of all disorders. If we perfectly root out this evil, then will divine grace begin to establish its reign, and display its treasures in our souls.
Taken from: The Liturgical Year - Time after Pentecost, Vol. III, Dublin, Edition 1890; and
The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints, Vol. VI, 1866.
St. Anthony of Padua, pray for us.