St. Anthony of Padua, dedicated to Almighty God, he led others to Christ, our Lord and Savior through preaching, teaching, and example
Reflections on the readings for the Memorial of St. Anthony of Padua (June 13, 2022): 1 KGS 21:1-16; PS 5:2-3.4-6,6-7; MT 5:38:42
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St. Anthony of Padua was known for his personal gentleness and his desire to model himself on Christ in all things.
St. Anthony of Padua was born to a wealthy family in Lisbon, Portugal, in the year 1195. He was well educated at a cathedral school and, at age 15, entered the Augustinian order where he studied theology. He also grew in humility and dedication to obeying God’s will in all things. Several years later, Anthony met members of the new Franciscan order of Friars Minor who were on their way to be missionaries in Morocco. When several were martyred, he was inspired to follow in their footsteps and received permission to become a friar. However, ill health prevented him from becoming a missionary. Instead, he spent a great deal of time praying and reading Scripture. At a large meeting of Franciscans and Dominicans, it was discovered that no one had prepared a sermon and Anthony was chosen to speak. Here, his great knowledge and eloquence were discovered. After this, St. Francis of Assisi selected Anthony to teach theology to his fellow friars. He continued teaching and preaching throughout Italy and France. Because of his great popularity, he frequently had to preach out-of-doors, because churches could not hold all who wanted to hear him. Anthony always maintained a deep fervor for encouraging lay people, as well as priests and consecrated men and women, to embrace their belief in Christ and to do whatever He asked. In this, St. Anthony offered a great example of fidelity and devotion. He died at age 36 in Padua and was canonized less than a year later. In 1946 he was declared a Doctor of the Church.
In the Gospel reading for today, we hear, “Jesus said to His disciples: ‘You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well’” (Matthew 5:38-39). St. Anthony of Padua was known for his personal gentleness and his desire to model himself on Christ in all things. We can do the same by allowing God to direct our lives and cooperating with His grace wherever He may lead us.