St. Anthony the Wonderworker

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    St. Anthony the Wonderworker

    St. Anthony and the Child JesusGod is "wonderful in His Saints," but St. Anthony is the "Saint of wonders." The marvelous power of miracles conferred upon him by God has won for Saint Anthony throughout the entire world the name of Wonder-Worker. The Church in Her ancient responsory says of him, "If then you ask for miracles, go to Saint Anthony." Saint Antoninus, the Dominican Archbishop of Florence, calls him "Wonder Worker beyond compare." And in the holy Mass said on the Feastday of the Saint we read: "In life he wrought signs, in death, miracles." So numerous were the miracles wrought on the day of his burial that the funeral procession became a triumphal ovation, while the wonders obtained through his intercession thereafter brought about his canonization in less than a year by Pope Gregory IX. In the letter of canonization, this Sovereign Pontiff conferred upon Anthony the title, "Operator miraculorum carissime," that is, "Dearest Wonder-Worker."

    This was in the thirteenth century, and from that time on uninterruptedly to our own day, the history of the Saint abounds in extraordinary examples of favors bestowed upon those who have sought his intercession. The sorrowful and afflicted are never weary of imploring his aid, and Saint Anthony never wearies in obtaining their requests. His miracles are innumerable and almost infinitely varied: cripples have been cured, invalids healed, the dead brought back to life, temptations heroically overcome, demons put to flight and, especially, lost things restored. He has advanced the temporal, and still more importantly, the spiritual interests of his devout clients to such an extent that the mere enumeration of the marvels and blessings obtained through him would fill volumes.

    The daily favors he bestows upon his faithful clients may be added to those already known, confirming the ancient and constant belief that Saint Anthony is indeed a wonderful helper in every necessity; a Saint chosen by God as the instrument of His Almighty power and love; a friend in need and a consoler in affliction; "a Wonder-Worker beyond compare."

    "Ask the Wonder-Worker with confidence," says Saint Bonaventure, and he will obtain what you seek."

    Saint Anthony, the "Saint of the Whole World"

    Saint Anthony of Padua is without question one of the most popular of saints; popular enthusiasm has made him universally recognized. He is called the "Saint of the Whole World" because the faithful of the whole world love him. For almost eight hundred years, millions in every clime and land have been attracted to this great Franciscan Wonder-Worker. All classes, the rich and the lowly, are drawn to him. Artists and scholars, sculptors and authors without number, have dedicated their talents to him. Everywhere churches and chapels have risen in his honor, and shrines and altars invite his trustful friends. Hardly a Catholic church was without his statue, a Catholic chapel without his image, or a Catholic home without his picture. With the names of Mary and Joseph, the name of Anthony is invoked in almost every Catholic household with pious fervor and boundless confidence. "Thus," says Cherance, "there arises from all parts a universal concert of homage and praise in which each succeeding generation has a share; and Heaven itself adds its harmonious note by the multitudinous and constant flow of graces and miracles with which it has crowned the invocation of Saint Anthony in every age." No doubt it was this universal acclaim for the Wonder-Worker of Padua that prompted his great client, Pope Leo XIII, to declare: "Saint Anthony is not only the Saint of Padua, but in truth the Saint of the whole world."


    This enthusiastic devotion to St. Anthony has endured for seven centuries and more. Consequently, it seems quite natural to conclude that the "Saint of the Whole World" also has a special mission for the souls of our own terrible age of apostasy.


    A Sketch of the Life of St. Anthony



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    Saint Anthony was born in Lisbon, Portugal, on August 15, 1195. In Baptism he received the name Ferdinand. His father was Martin de Bouillon, of a family of renowned Crusaders. His mother was Teresa de Tavera, of an ancient and noble Portuguese line.


    After splendid training at home, Ferdinand was sent at the age of ten to the cathedral school conducted under the care of the Clergy. When fifteen, he consecrated himself to the religious life in the Convent of the Canons Regular of Saint Augustine at Lisbon. He was transferred thence to Holy Cross Monastery at Coimbra, where he achieved a great name for both sanctity and learning.

    It was there at Holy Cross that the young Canon Regular received his vocation to the Franciscan Order. When he saw the remains of the first five Franciscan martyrs (killed by Islamic militants in Morocco) which were brought to Coimbra for interment, Ferdinand was inflamed with an ardent desire for a similar martyrdom, and sought permission to join the sons of Saint Francis. In July of 1220 the new Franciscan received, with the habit of the Order, the name of Anthony, that name by which he is known and loved throughout the world. Four months later, at his own urgent request, Anthony was sent to Morocco, that he too might share in the honors of martyrdom.

    But God had decreed otherwise, and by means of sickness and shipwreck brought the martyr in desire to the land he was to glorify by his holy and miraculous life. For ten years Anthony traversed Italy and the southern part of France, going wherever obedience called him, to preach the Gospel of Christ with untiring zeal. He so successfully opposed the then prevailing heresies that he became known to all as the "Hammer of Heretics." Because of his knowledge of the Sacred Scriptures he was greeted by Pope Gregory IX as the "Living Ark of the Testament."

    Anthony's fame was at its zenith when, in 1228, he was sent to Padua. Here he spent the last few years of his life, in the city with which his name has been associated for seven centuries. Death came to the Saint on Friday, June 13, 1231, in his thirty-sixth year, in the little hospital adjoining the convent of the Poor Clares of Arcella, outside the city gates of Padua. Fearing a dispute between popular factions for possession of the treasured body of the Saint, the Friars tried to keep the news of his death from the people, but the children ran through the streets of the city, crying aloud: "The Saint is dead! Our Father, Saint Anthony, is dead!" He was canonized by Pope Gregory IX on May 30, 1232, less than a year after his holy death.

    In the year 1263 the tomb of the Saint was opened in order that his blessed remains might be transferred to the new sanctuary built in his honor. The marvel was then discovered that, though his flesh had fallen to dust, his tongue remained fresh and ruddy like that of a living person. It was on this occasion that Saint Bonaventure, then Minister General of the Franciscan Order, taking the tongue of the Saint into his hands, uttered the words which now constitute the antiphon preceding the Miraculous Responsory: "O blessed tongue that never ceased to praise God and always taught others to bless Him, now we plainly see how precious thou art in His sight!"


    St. Anthony's Bread

    Saint Anthony's Bread for the poor is a devotion which has spread throughout the Catholic world, obtaining marvelous favors for the clients of the Saint, and bringing relief to the poor, so beloved of Our Divine Lord. The ultimate, practical effect of this devotion to Saint Anthony is to proclaim to a hard-hearted and unbelieving world that charity is the wide avenue to the favors of Heaven. Saint Anthony loves the poor, just as much now as he did in life. Hence he asks his clients to put into tangible form the inheritance of love which he himself received from the Little Poor Man of Assisi. It is the experience of all who appeal to the great Wonder-Worker that their petitions are more likely to be granted if they are coupled with a promise to help the needy. This sure way of enlisting the kindness and sympathy of the Saint, by charity to the poor, is called St. Anthony's Bread


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    To participate in this devotion, accompany your petition to the Saint with a promise to him that, if at the expiration of a given time he shall have secured its fulfillment, a certain sum of money will be donated in his honor to buy "bread for the needy." The alms may be given to any worthy charity (if in doubt, seek the counsel of the Church), but among the poor, it is best to remember those students who, like St. Anthony, aspire to the holy priesthood. To contribute to their support in this manner is at once an act of charity and an act of devotion.

    By this continual alternation of benefactors and benefits, a chain of charity is woven, the ends of which are held in the hands of the Wonder-Worker of Padua, to be presented as an acceptable offering to Him Who is the source of all true charity.

    A branch of Saint Anthony's Bread has been established at St. Francis Seminary, in Western Washington, for the purpose of aiding needy young men who are preparing for the traditional Catholic priesthood in the spirit of St. Francis--of poverty, simplicity, humility, and ardent zeal for souls--those apostolic virtues which were so resplendent in the life of Saint Anthony, in stark contrast to the pride, disobedience, worldliness, and intellectual pride of so many would-be priests who do far more harm to souls than good. Mindful of his appellation as the "Hammer of Heretics," these young clerics and seminarians are dedicated to the preservation of Catholic orthodoxy in all things.


    Tuesday : St. Anthony's Day

    Tuesday is dedicated to Saint Anthony because of the many and astounding miracles which occurred on the Tuesday on which his body was laid to rest. So numerous were these prodigies, as has been told before, that the somber funeral was transformed into a triumphal procession. It is said that no one invoked the aid of the Saint without obtaining relief. All returned to their homes comforted, praising God and saying: "This is the day the Lord hath made to Saint Anthony; let us be glad and rejoice therein."

    Since that time the devout clients of the Wonder- Worker have dedicated every Tuesday to Saint Anthony as the day on which God was pleased to show forth the power of the Saint. This pious custom gradually spread throughout the Catholic world. In Franciscan churches on each Tuesday, devotions were held in his honor, and faithful clients come to pay homage to him. Saint Anthony himself has chosen Tuesday as his own. He has obtained throughout the centuries countless favors, spiritual and temporal, for those who have honored him on that day.

    The Church has set Her approval upon Tuesday as Saint Anthony's day by generous indulgences. A plenary indulgence is granted on every Tuesday of the year to all who receive the Sacraments and on that day visit a Catholic church where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, and there pray for the intentions of the Holy Father. (Leo XIII, July 3, 1894) A plenary indulgence is granted on each day of thirteen consecutive Tuesdays (or Sundays), once a year, to all who perform an act of piety in honor of St. Anthony, receive the Sacraments, visit a church or public oratory and pray there for the intentions of the Holy Father. (Leo XIII, Mar. 1, 1898)

    Prayer for the Restoration of Things Lost or Stolen

    O blessed Saint Anthony! The grace of God has made thee a powerful advocate in all necessities and the patron for the restoration of things lost or stolen. To thee I turn today with childlike love and heartfelt confidence. Oh, how many thousands hast thou miraculously aided in the recovery of lost goods! Thou wast the counselor of the erring, the comforter of the afflicted, the healer of the sick, the raiser of the dead, the deliverer of the captive, the refuge of the afflicted. To thee do I hasten, O blessed Saint Anthony! Assist me in my present affliction. I recommend what I have lost to thy care, in the secure hope that thou wilt restore it to me, if it be to the greater glory of God and to the spiritual benefit of my soul. Obtain also for me an active faith, peace of mind, disgust for the vain pleasures of the world, and an ardent desire for the imperishable goods of eternity. Amen.


    (Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father...)
    From the snares of the Devil; deliver us, Saint Anthony!
    Sacred Heart of Jesus Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
    From the Encyclical Haurietis Aquas
    of His Holiness, Pope Pius XII

    Comprehensive account of St. Anthony's Life



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    Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

    From the Encyclical Haurietis Aquas
    of His Holiness, Pope Pius XII

    Is there a devotion more excellent than that to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus,
    one which is more in accord with the real nature of the Catholic Faith, or which better meets the needs of the Church and the human race today? What act of religion is nobler, more suitable, sweeter and more conducive to salvation, since this devotion is wholly directed to the love of God Himself? Finally, what is more powerful than the love of Christ, which devotion to the Most Sacred Heart daily increases and fosters? This love can truly bring the faithful to live the law of the Gospel.


    If this law is rejected, is it possible to have genuine peace among men? For as the words of the Holy Ghost clearly teach, "The work of justice shall be peace." Therefore, following the example of Our immediate predecessor, We choose to address again all Our beloved sons in Christ in the words of admonition which Leo XIII of immortal memory spoke to all the faithful at the end of the last century.

    We likewise address these words to all who have a genuine concern for their own salvation and that of civil society. "Behold another most auspicious and Divine standard presented to our view surrounded by flames. In it all hopes must be placed, in it man's salvation must be sought and looked for.

    It is also Our most ardent desire that all who glory in the name of Christian and who zealously strive to establish the Kingdom of Christ on earth, consider devotion to the Heart of Jesus as the standard and the source of unity, salvation and peace. Nevertheless, let no one think that this devotion detracts anything from other devotions with which Christian people, under the leadership of the Church, honor the Divine Redeemer.

    On the contrary, ardent devotion to the Heart of Jesus will without doubt encourage and promote devotion to the Most Holy Cross and love for the Most August Sacrament of the Altar. For We can definitely state a fact which the revelations made by Jesus Christ to Saint Gertrude and Saint Margaret marvelously confirm: that no one ever fittingly loves Christ hanging on the Cross but he to whom the mystical secrets of His Sacred Heart have been unfolded. That graces for the Christian family and for the whole human race may flow more abundantly from devotion to the Sacred Heart, let the faithful strive to join it closely with devotion to the Immaculate Heart of the Mother of God. By the will of God, the Most Blessed Virgin Mary was inseparably joined with Christ in accomplishing the work of man's redemption, so that our salvation flows from the love of Jesus Christ and His sufferings, intimately united with the love and sorrows of His Mother. It is, then, highly fitting that after due homage has been paid to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Christian people who have obtained divine life from Christ through Mary, manifest similar piety and the love of their grateful souls for the most loving heart of our heavenly Mother.


    Salve Regina
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2017
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    A Homily by St. Augustine the Bishop

    The Lord would have us understand how that men do lose their power of savouring others with righteousness when they are willing to place their eternal welfare in jeopardy for the sake of any temporal advantage, like as attainment of ease or luxury, or escape from suffering or toil. For that which is eternal, unlike things of this world, can neither be bestowed by men, nor by them taken away. Hence, when he asketh: If the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? he would have us understand the question to be: If ye, by whom mankind is preserved from corruption, be willing to lose the kingdom of heaven so as to escape trials or persecutions in this world, who is there to preserve you from corruption, seeing ye are they that God hath chosen to preserve all others from corruption?


    Those that should be the salt of the earth, but have lost their savour, are thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. But no one that suffereth persecution is truly said to be trodden under foot of men. Rather, that one is truly trodden under foot of men who through fear of persecution hath lost the savour of righteousness. For no one can be trodden upon, unless he be beneath him which treadeth upon him. And certainly no one who hath his heart in heaven, no matter how grievously he doth suffer in his body on earth, is rightly said to be beneath anyone who misuseth him.

    Ye are the light of the world. And we are to understand the word World in the same sense as the word Earth when he spoke above of the salt of the earth, that is, not that earth whereupon we walk with our bodily feet, but the men which dwell upon the earth; in other words, sinners, for the sweetening and correction of whose corruption, the Lord hath sent his Apostles, as it were, as so much salt. And so by the world we are to understand, not the heaven and the earth, but the men who are in the world and love the world, for the enlightening of whom the Apostles have been sent. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid: that is, what is founded upon the heights of righteousness, whereof the mountain upon which the Lord gave this discourse was itself a figure, is magnificent in the eyes of all men.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2017
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