Sun 13 Jun 2010
On this day…
1525 German Reformer Martin Luther, 42, married former nun Katherine von Bora, 26. Their 21-year marriage bore six children. Kate outlived her husband (who died in 1546) by six years.
1742 English founder of Methodism John Wesley wrote in his journal: ‘Oh, let none think his labor is lost because the fruit does not immediately appear.’
1774 Rhode Island becomes 1st colony to prohibit importation of slaves
1798 Mission San Luis Rey de Francia founded in California
1816 Birth of Edward F. Rimbault, the English church organist who composed the hymn tune to which is sung ‘O Happy Day, That Fixed My Choice.’
1837 1st Mormon missionaries to the British Isles leave Kirtland, Ohio
1876 The Presbyterian Church in England merged with the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland, in creating a more uniform representation of the Reformed faith in the British Isles.
1897 Birth of Reuben Larson, missionary pioneer who in 1931 (along with Clarence W. Jones) co-founded the World Radio Missionary Fellowship. Since 1969, WRMF has been headquartered in Opa Locka, Florida.
1981 39 Unification church couples wed in Germany
1988 US Supreme Court refuses to hear Yonkers argument they aren’t racist
On this day in 1893, Anglican novelist and playwright Dorothy Leigh Sayers is born in Oxford, England.
St. Anthony of Padua, confessor, 1231;
St. Damhnade of Ireland, virgin.
Agricius, bishop (of Sens), confessor [GTZ: Sens]
Anthony (of Padua), priest, confessor, Doctor of the Church [common; GTZ: Franciscans]
Damhnade, virgin [BLS: Fermanagh]
Felicola, virgin, martyr [GTZ: Cologne, Trier, Worms, France]
Landoald, bishop, confessor [GTZ: Bruges]
Leo (III), pope [PCP (Paris)]
Onuphrius, hermit, confessor [GTZ: Constance, Mainz]
Ragnobert, martyr [GTZ: Lyon]
Thomas Woodhouse, martyr [BLS]
Valerian, bishop [WTS (Bruges)]
Valericus, bishop [WTS (Bruges)]
G. K. Chesterton
GILBERT KEITH CHESTERTON
APOLOGIST and WRITER, 1936
Please see post of yesterday.
ST. ANTHONY OF PADUA
SUNDAY, JUNE 13, 2010
St. Anthony of Padua is a Doctor of the Church and likely the most well known Franciscan saint, after St. Francis of Assisi.
Born to a noble family in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1195, he rejected his family’s wealth and became a Dominican. Moved by the Francisican martyrs of that time, killed for preaching the Gospel, he left his order, joined the Friars Minor and left Portugal to evangelize.
He was such a gifted speaker that he attracted large crowds. Wherever he went, throughout Italy and France, he preached the Gospel. He spoke in multiple tongues and is said to have performed miracles.
He died at the young age of 36 and was canonized in record time — 11 months later on May 30, 1232. When his body was exhumed, his tongue and mandible were found incorrupt. They are still on display at the shrine of St. Anthony, located in Padua, Italy.
ST. ANTHONY OF PADUA
Few of the medieval saints adopted into the Romish calendar have attained to such lasting celebrity as St. Anthony, or Antonio, of Padua. All over Italy his memory is held in the highest veneration; but at Padua in particular, where his festival is enthusiastically kept, he is spoken of as Il Santo, or the saint, as if no other was of any importance. Besides larger memoirs of St. Anthony, there are current in the north of Italy small chap-books or tracts describing his character and his miracles. From one of these, purchased within the present year from a stall in Padua, we offer the following as a specimen of the existing folk-lore of Venetian Lombardy. St. Anthony was born at Lisbon on the 15th of August 1195. At twenty-five years of age he entered a convent of Franciscans, and as a preaching friar most zealous in checking heresy, he gained great fame in Italy, which became the scene of his labours. In this great work the power of miracle came to his aid. On one occasion, at Rimini, there was a person who held heretical opinions, and in order to convince him of his error, Anthony caused the fishes in the water to lift up their heads and listen to his discourse.
This miracle, which of course converted the heretic, is represented in a variety of cheap prints, to be seen on almost every stall in Italy, and is the subject of a wood-cut in the chap-book from which we quote, here faithfully represented. On another occasion, to reclaim a heretic, he caused the man’s mule, after three days’ abstinence from food, to kneel down and venerate the host, instead of rushing to a bundle of hay that was set before it. This miracle was equally efficacious.
Then we are told of St. Anthony causing a new-born babe to speak, and tell who was its father; also, of a wonderful miracle he wrought in saving the life of a poor woman’s child. The woman had gone to hear St. Anthony preach, leaving her child alone in the house, and during her absence it fell into a pot on the fire; but, strangely enough, instead of finding it scalded to death, the mother found it standing up whole in the boiling cauldron. What with zealous labours and fastings, St. Anthony cut short his days, and died in the odour of sanctity on the 13th of June 1231. Padua, now claiming him as patron saint and protector, set about erecting a grand temple to his memory. This large and handsome church was completed in 1307. It is a gigantic building, in the pointed Lombardo-Venetian style, with several towers and minarets of an Eastern character. The chief object of attraction in the interior is the chapel specially devoted to Il Santo.
It consists of the northern transept, gorgeously decorated with sculptures, bronzes, and gilding. The altar is of white marble, inlaid, resting on the tomb of St. Anthony, which is a sarcophagus of verd antique. Around it, in candelabra and in suspended lamps, lights burn night and day; and at nearly all hours a host of devotees may be seen kneeling in front of the shrine, or standing behind with hands devoutly and imploringly touching the sarcophagus, as if trying to draw succour and consolation from the marble of the tomb. The visitor to this splendid shrine is not less struck with the more than usual quantity of votive offerings suspended on the walls and end of the altar. These consist mainly of small framed sketches in oil or water colours, representing some circumstance that calls for particular thankfulness.
St. Anthony of Padua, as appears from these pictures, is a saint ever ready to rescue persons from destructive accidents, such as the over-turning of wagons or carriages, the falling from windows or roofs of houses, the upsetting of boats, and such like; on any of these occurrences a person has only to call vehemently and with faith on St. Anthony in order to be rescued. The hundreds of small pictures we speak of represent these appalling scenes, with a figure of’ St. Anthony in the sky interposing to save life and limb. On each are inscribed the letters P. G. R., with the date of the accident;—the letters being an abbreviation of the words Per Grazzia Ricevuto—for grace or favour received. On visiting the shrine, we remarked that many are quite recent; one of them depicting an accident by a railway train. The other chief object of interest in the church is a chapel behind the high altar appropriated as a reliquary. Here, within a splendidly deco-rated cupboard, as it might be called, are treasured up certain relics of the now long deceased saint. The principal relic is the tongue of Il Santo, which. is contained within an elegant case of silver gilt, as here represented.
This with other relics is exhibited once a year, at the great festival on the 13th of June, when Padua holds its grandest holiday.
It is to be remarked that the article entitled ‘St. Anthony and the Pigs,’ inserted under January 17, ought properly to have been placed here, as the patronship of animals belongs truly to St. Anthony of Padua, most probably in consequence of his sermon to the fishes.
13 Jun 1231
Antony of Padua, Preacher
Antony was born in Lisbon in 1195, and spent the first twenty-five years of his life in Portugal. Desiring to become a missionary, he joined the Franciscans and was sent to Morocco to preach to the Muslims. His health failed, and he returned almost immediately and was sent to Italy, where he seemed headed for an uneventful obscurity. However, a conference of Dominicans and Franciscans was scheduled, at which each group thought that the other was about to provide the preacher, and so no one was prepared. For some reason, Antony was thrust forward and told to say something, and he astonished his hearers with the grace and power of his exhortation. He was told that he must speak more often, and he devoted the last nine years of his life to preaching. He had a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures, and his sermons reflect that knowledge. He was noted for his refutations of heresies, and for his denunciations of clergy who did not live dedicated lives and of wealthy and powerful persons who oppressed the common people.
It is said that Antony in his private prayers was accustomed to direct his devotion to Jesus as an infant, and to meditate on the Divine Humility that stooped to accept, not merely the limitations of being human, but the limitations of being a helpless baby, utterly dependent on others. For this reason, artists often portray Antony in a Franciscan robe, carrying a lily and the child Jesus.
Background Note: In many countries, it is widely believed that Antony, now in heaven, makes a special point of praying on behalf of his fellow Christians who have lost or misplaced items and wish to find them. He also prays on behalf of women who wish to marry. I have a book (My Heart Lies South, by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino, Thomas Y Crowell Co., New York, 1953) by a woman from California who married a Mexican and moved to Mexico. She tells (p 240) of a friend of hers there who repeatedly asked Antony to pray for her that she might find a suitable man to marry. After a considerable time with no results, she became discouraged and in a fit of temper threw her statue of Antony out the window. It fell to the sidewalk below, hit a pedestrian on the head, and knocked him out cold. Other pedestrians at once came to his aid, carried him into the nearest house (her parents’ house, of course), and laid him on the couch before sending someone for the doctor. He awoke to find the girl fanning him and putting cold cloths on his brow. Soon they were betrothed, and then they got married and lived happily ever after. Take that, you skeptics!
PRAYER (traditional language)
O God, who by thy Holy Spirit didst give to thy servant Antony A love of the Holy Scriptures, and the gift of expounding them with learning and eloquence, that thereby thy people might be established in sound doctrine and encouraged in the way of righteousness, grant to us always an abundance of such preachers, to the glory of thy Name and the benefit of thy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
PRAYER (contemporary language)
O God, who by your Holy Spirit gave your servant Antony a love Of the Holy Scriptures, and the gift of expounding them with learning and eloquence, so that your people might be established in sound doctrine and encouraged in the way of righteousness, grant us always an abundance of such preachers, to the glory of your Name and the benefit of your Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
St. Anthony of Padua
The gospel call to leave everything and follow Christ was the rule of Anthony’s life. Over and over again God called him to something new in his plan. Every time Anthony responded with renewed zeal and self-sacrificing to serve his Lord Jesus more completely.
His journey as the servant of God began as a very young man when he decided to join the Augustinians, giving up a future of wealth and power to be a servant of God. Later, when the bodies of the first Franciscan martyrs went through the Portuguese city where he was stationed, he was again filled with an intense longing to be one of those closest to Jesus himself: those who die for the Good News.
So Anthony entered the Franciscan Order and set out to preach to the Moors. But an illness prevented him from achieving that goal. He went to Italy and was stationed in a small hermitage where he spent most of his time praying, reading the Scriptures and doing menial tasks.
The call of God came again at an ordination where no one was prepared to speak. The humble and obedient Anthony hesitantly accepted the task. The years of searching for Jesus in prayer, of reading sacred Scripture and of serving him in poverty, chastity and obedience had prepared Anthony to allow the Spirit to use his talents. Anthony’s sermon was astounding to those who expected an unprepared speech and knew not the Spirit’s power to give people words.
Recognized as a great man of prayer and a great Scripture and theology scholar, Anthony became the first friar to teach theology to the other friars. Soon he was called from that post to preach to the heretics, to use his profound knowledge of Scripture and theology to convert and reassure those who had been misled.