Reflection on St Anthony of Padua
St. Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) packed a lot into his 36 years. He joined the Franciscan Order, which was founded by St. Francis in 1209.
Through a life of preaching and prayer, St. Anthony expressed and witnessed to his faith in God. Many people turn to St. Anthony when something is missing or someone is lost.
As we celebrate his feast day, we pray for the many families who have experienced the disappearance of their children, without trace, explanation or contact. It is the greatest loss.
We can all recall many lost aspects of our own lives:
The positive outlook of our lives, now lost, through negative pessimism.
The love in our lives, now lost, through indifference and cynicism.
The lost ideals that we have squandered.
The generous enthusiasm that is lost through mediocrity.
The zest and passion for life that is lost by greed and selfishness.
The gift of faith that is lost, because we solely rely on ourselves.
The time lost due to festering resentments that ruin family relationships.
St. Anthony is part of the vast family that is the Communion of Saints. He will find the essentials that we all have lost. Perhaps, in our own lives, we are not aware of the loss yet. This is why we all need the ‘amazing grace’ of God’s love in this Year of Mercy.
‘I once was lost, but now am found’.
These words from the hymn ‘Amazing Grace’, written by John Newton in 1748, are a prayer in thanks to God for being saved and rescued, following his slave trade ship that was wrecked off the Coast of Donegal.
In all our lives there are times that the ‘amazing grace’ of God’s love and mercy surround our lives. Anthony’s feast is on Monday, 13th June this year.
This reminds me of the expression from a James Plunkett (1920-2003) story. A man jumps onto a platform of a city bus in the 1960’s, and surveys the dull, damp world about him and sighs to the conductor – ‘Ah, a typical ould Monday!‘ But there is no day that is ‘typical’.
Every day is new, full of fresh promise and endless possibilities……
Fr John Cullen PP, Kiltoom, Co Roscommon
(The relics of St Anthony of Padua will visit the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Sligo on Sunday 12th June from 12noon until 9.30pm)