St Anthony is a saint who is waiting like a cloud in the blue sky to shower his blessings on his devotees. Born in Portugal St Anthony known as Fernando became a priest by the grace of God. His first duty after joining the seminary was to take care of the visitors to the seminary. He treated the guests with the same intensity and passion that Abraham showed when the angels visited him. This is something we can emulate in our lives too.
Fernando took the name Anthony after joining the Franciscan order just like Abram chosen by God for greater responsibilities took the name of Abraham. In baptism we are christened and called to fulfill our responsibility to proclaim the word of God. The meaning of Anthony is praise worthy and we still honor and praise St Anthony because he glorified God in his life. If we glorify God in our lives, our lives too will be praise worthy.
St Anthony preached the word of God in Morocco far from his country. We the devotees of St Anthony may find it difficult and impossible to travel around the world and proclaim the word of God. While we cannot all proclaim the word of God we can certainly live the word of God and be an inspiration to others.
St Anthony preached the word of God even to the fish and even though his body decomposed after his death, his tongue which preached the word of God unceasingly is still appears uncorrupt and fresh. Anthony who became a patron saint for lost things was one of the most quickly canonized saints in the history of the Church. Anthony was canonized by Pope Gregory IX on 30 May 1232, at Spoleto, Italy, less than one year after his death and in 1946 Venerable Pope Pius XII proclaimed Anthony a Doctor of the Church.
St Anthony was able to work miracles and proclaim the word of God because he always held Infant Jesus close to him. Even we will be able to work miracles in our lives if we hold the Infant Jesus close to us.
Fr Joseph Kochupurayil CST