He always chose the Lord over himself
Reflections on the readings for the Memorial of St. Anthony of Padua (June 13, 2020): 1 Kings 19:19-21; PS 16:1-2,5,7-8,9-10; MT 5:33-37
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Today we celebrate St. Anthony of Padua whom we associate with his patronage of those who have lost something. He was, himself, a man who had to lose his own plans many times through his life and find something new by entrusting himself to God’s will. Born in Lisbon in 1195 to a wealthy family, he was educated by the Augustinians. Several years after he was ordained, he met some Franciscans who greatly impressed him. When the bodies of members of that order who had been martyred in Morocco were taken to Portugal, Anthony was inspired to follow their footsteps as a Franciscan missionary. He did become a friar, but fell ill after his arrival in northern Africa and had to return to Europe. After his recovery, he was sent to a hermitage where he readily performed menial tasks, until his powerful preaching was revealed at a service when he was asked to speak because no one else was prepared. At the direction of St. Francis of Assisi, Anthony soon taught theology to members of the order. In time, he had to give this up because his preaching gifts were needed and he spoke to vast crowds in France, Spain and Italy. It was on his way back to Padua that he became ill and died at age 35. He was canonized the next year.
If St. Anthony wondered why his own ideas about how he should live his life never worked out the way he expected, he never let it hold him back. He always responded to these changes with confidence in God. “Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge; I say to the Lord, ‘My Lord are You.’ O Lord, my allotted portion and my cup, You it is who hold fast my lot” (Psalm 16:1-2, 5). We can learn from this gentle, humble saint to put our life in the hands of the Lord and cooperate with His graces. God sees more in us, including more possibilities, than we could ever imagine ourselves. We have only to do whatever He asks of us, willingly and cheerfully.