St. Anthony of Padua is one of the most well known saints in the Catholic Church. He ranks up there with the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Francis and St Michael the Archangel. St. Anthony was a Franciscan and joined the order when he was about 26 years old. Prior to his entry to the Franciscans, he was an Augustinian.
St. Anthony of Padua was a gifted preacher and theologian. He used his words wisely and conveyed the teachings of Christ in such a way that it moved the hearts of listeners. He was called the “Hammer of the Heretics” due to his ability to refute heresies and explicate the teachings of the Church.
In 1946, Pope Pius XII named St. Anthony a Doctor of the Church and rightfully so. St. Anthony loved to evangelize and is a model for all Catholics, especially in this Year of Faith. We should imitate his zeal to preach the good news of Jesus Christ to all of creation just like St. Anthony who even preached to fish when he was ignored by heretics.
St. Anthony also performed many miracles in Jesus’ name. He restored limbs, healed the sick, restored sight. After his death, many miracles were reported which led to his quick canonization. He is the patron saint of lost items and his initials “S.A.G.” are often placed on mail to ensure safe delivery. This custom comes from a woman who sent letters to her husband but never got any replies. Frustrated and feeling hopeless, she placed the letter before a statue of St. Anthony and prayed for the letter to be delivered to her husband. She returned to the church only to find the letter still there. The sacristan was present and learned from her why the letter was there. He insisted that he could not remove it. However, the lady was able to remove the letter with ease. To her surprise, the letter on the statue was not her original letter, but a reply from her husband.
Let us pray to St. Anthony that he may show us Christ. May he teach us how to give witness to Christ in our time which is so full of sin of doubt. May he bring about many miracles in Jesus’ name.
O Holy St. Anthony, gentlest of Saints, your love for God and Charity for His creatures, made you worthy, when on earth, to possess miraculous powers. Encouraged by this thought, I implore you to obtain for me (request). O gentle and loving St. Anthony, whose heart was ever full of human sympathy, whisper my petition into the ears of the sweet Infant Jesus, who loved to be folded in your arms; and the gratitude of my heart will ever be yours. Amen.