Homily for the Memorial of St. Anthony of Padua, Doctor of the Church
This morning, we celebrate the Memorial of St. Anthony of Padua. Throughout his life, Anthony had such an incredible faith in God and that determined how he lived his life. He sought to truly be a disciple of the Lord and committed his life to loving those around him, especially the poor and the sick.
St. Anthony was originally an Augustinian priest, serving in his native Portugal, which would also explain why he was such a great preacher. But after an encounter with some Franciscans and hearing about the martyrdom of some of them in Morocco as they sought to evangelize the Moors, Anthony was drawn to their community. He was attracted to the simplicity of life embraced by the Franciscans, their love for poverty, and their missionary zeal, and it really changed his whole perspective on life. He desired nothing more than to go to the remote corners of the world and to proclaim the Good News, bringing others to a realization of God’s love for them and an intimate encounter with Jesus.
St. Anthony had such a deep relationship with the Lord. He’s often depicted in religious art holding the baby Jesus. Tradition holds that he was seen praying in a chapel once conversing with the infant Jesus, hence where that image comes from. But his relationship with the Lord determined everything that he did. It was his foundation. It was his source of strength. It changed his life.
Jesus wants to change our lives. He wants to be our foundation, our source of strength. He desires for us to love Him just as much as He loves us. This morning, after we receive Jesus in the Eucharist and we return to our pew for a silent moment of prayer, imagine yourself holding the infant Jesus in your arms and speaking to Him. What would you tell Him? What would he say to you? Ask the Savior of the world to be your foundation, your strength, your peace. May we invite him into our hearts in a special way today, so that, just like St. Anthony, we can be inspired to bring others to that same encounter with the Lord.
St. Anthony of Padua, pray for us.
Photo: Buste de Saint-Antoine de Padoue portant l’Enfant Jésus en l’église Saint-Julien d’Osmery. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.