"If it was, as we have said, a high honor to Joseph to be chosen as the spouse of Mary and accepted by her, what must we say of the dignity conferred on him in being chosen by the Son of God Himself to be His father?" — Edward Healy Thompson, p. 201 AN EXCERPT FROM Life & Glories of St. Joseph
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St. Anthony of Padua
DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Feast: June 13
Information: Feast Day: June 13
1195, Lisbon, Portugal Died: 13 June 1231, Padua
30 May 1232, Spoleto, Italy by Pope Gregory IX Major Shrine: Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua in Padua, Italy Patron of: animals; barrenness; Brazil; elderly people; faith in the Blessed Sacrament; fishermen; Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land; harvests; horses; Lisbon; lost articles; lower animals; mail; mariners; American Indians; oppressed people; Padua, Italy; poor people; Portugal; pregnant women; sailors; seekers of lost articles; shipwrecks; starvation; sterility; swineherds; Tigua Indians; travel hostesses; travellers; watermen
St. Anthony of Padua is one of the most famous disciples of St. Francis of Assisi. He was a famous preacher and worker of miracles in his own day, and throughout the eight centuries since his death he has so generously come to the assistance of the faithful who invoke him, that he is known throughout the world. St. Anthony's Youth & Conversion
St. Anthony was born in the year 1195 A. D. at Lisbon (Portugal) where his father was a captain in the royal army. Already at the age of fifteen years, he had entered the Congregation of Canons Regular of St. Augustine and devoted himself with great earnestness both to study and to the practice of piety in the Monastery at Coimbra (Portugal).
About that time some of the first members of the Order of Friars Minor, which St. Francis has founded in 1206 A. D. came to Coimbra. They begged from the Canons Regular a small and very poor place, from which by their evangelical poverty and simplicity they edified everyone in the region. Then in 1219 A. D. some of these friars, moved by divine inspiration, went as missionaries to preach the Gospel of Christ to the inhabitants of Morocco. There they were brutally martyred for the Faith. Some Christian merchants succeeded in recovering their remains; and so brought their relics in triumph back to Coimbra.
The relics of St. Bernard and companions, the first martyrs of the Franciscan Order, seized St. Anthony with an intense desire to suffer martyrdom in a like manner. So moved by their heroic example he repeatedly begged and petitioned his superiors to be given leave to join the Franciscan Order. In the quiet little Franciscan convent at Coimbra he received a friendly reception, and in the same year his earnest wish to be sent to the missions in Africa was fulfilled.
St. Anthony's Arrival in Italy
But God had decreed otherwise. And so, St. Anthony scarcely set foot on African soil when he was seized with a grievous illness. Even after recovering from it, he was so weak that, resigning himself to the will of God, he boarded a boat back to Portugal. Unexpectedly a storm came upon them and drove the ship to the east where it found refuge on coast of Sicily. St. Anthony was greeted and given shelter by the Franciscans of that island, and thus came to be sent to Assisi, where the general chapter of the Order was held in May, 1221 A. D..
Since he still looked weak and sickly, and gave no evidence of his scholarship, no one paid any attention to the stranger until Father Gratian, the Provincial of friars living in the region of Romagna (Italy), had compassion on him and sent him to the quiet little convent near Forli (also in Italy). There St. Anthony remained nine months as chaplain to the hermits, occupied in the lowliest duties of the kitchen and convent, and to his heart's content he practiced interior as well as exterior mortification.
St. Anthony, Preacher and Teacher
But the hidden jewel was soon to appear in all its brilliance. For the occasion of a ceremony of ordination some of the hermits along with St. Anthony were sent to the town of Forli. Before the ceremony was to begin, however, it was announced that the priest who was to give the sermon had fallen sick. The local superior, to avert the embarrassment of the moment, quickly asked the friars in attendance to volunteer. Each excused himself, saying that he was not prepared, until finally, St. Anthony was asked to give it. When he too, excused himself in a most humble manner, his superior ordered him by virtue of the vow of obedience to give the sermon. St. Anthony began to speak in a very reserved manner; but soon holy animation seized him, and he spoke with such eloquence, learning and unction that everybody was fairly amazed.
When St. Francis was informed of the event, he gave St. Anthony the mission to preach throughout Italy. At the request of the brethren, St. Anthony was later commissioned also to teach theology, "but in such a manner," St. Francis distinctly wrote, " that the spirit of prayer be not extinguished either in yourself or in the other brethren." St. Anthony himself placed greater value in the salvation of souls than on learning. For that reason he never ceased to exercise his office as preacher despite his work of teaching.
The number of those who came to hear him was sometimes so great that no church was large enough to accommodate and so he had to preach in the open air. Frequently St. Anthony wrought veritable miracles of conversion. Deadly enemies were reconciled. Thieves and usurers made restitution. Calumniators and detractors recanted and apologized. He was so energetic in defending the truths of the Catholic Faith that many heretics returned to the Church. This occasioned the epitaph given him by Pope Gregory IX "the ark of the covenant."
In all his labors he never forgot the admonition of his spiritual father, St. Francis, that the spirit of prayer must not be extinguished. If he spent the day in teaching and heard the confession of sinners till late in the evening, then many hours of the night were spent in intimate union with God.
Once a man, at whose home St. Anthony was spending the night, came upon the saint and found him holding in his arms the Child Jesus, unspeakably beautiful and surrounded with heavenly light. For this reason St. Anthony is often depicted holding the Child Jesus.
St. Anthony's Death
In 1227 A. D., St. Anthony was elected Minister Provincial of the friars living in northern Italy. Thus he resumed the work of preaching. Due to his taxing labors and his austere penance, he soon felt his strength so spent that he prepared himself for death. After receiving the last sacraments he kept looking upward with a smile on his countenance. When he was asked what he saw there, he answered: "I see my Lord." He breathed forth his soul on June 13, 1231 A. D., being only thirty six year old. Soon the children in the streets of the city of Padua were crying: "The saint is dead, Anthony is dead."
Pope Gregory IX enrolled him among the saints in the very next year. At Padua, a magnificent basilica was built in his honor, his holy relics were entombed there in 1263 A. D. From the time of his death up to the present day, countless miracles have occurred through St. Anthony's intercession, so that he is known as the Wonder-Worker. In 1946 A. D. St. Anthony was declared a Doctor of the Church.
(Taken from the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate)
I slow myself down for a moment, and try to realise that God is present. To me. Here and now. He is in present in what I do, in the people that I meet, and the situations I find myself in daily. How can I make this reality real for myself?
Lord, grant me the grace to be free from the excesses of this life. Let me not get caught up with the desire for wealth. Keep my heart and mind free to love and serve you.
At this moment Lord I turn my thoughts to you. I will leave aside my chores and preoccupations. I will take rest and refreshment in your presence Lord.
The Word of God
Memorial of Saint Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church
Reading 1 1 Kgs 21:1-16
Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard in Jezreel next to the palace of Ahab, king of Samaria. Ahab said to Naboth, "Give me your vineyard to be my vegetable garden, since it is close by, next to my house. I will give you a better vineyard in exchange, or, if you prefer, I will give you its value in money." Naboth answered him, "The LORD forbid that I should give you my ancestral heritage." Ahab went home disturbed and angry at the answer Naboth the Jezreelite had made to him: "I will not give you my ancestral heritage." Lying down on his bed, he turned away from food and would not eat.
His wife Jezebel came to him and said to him, "Why are you so angry that you will not eat?" He answered her, "Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite and said to him, 'Sell me your vineyard, or, if you prefer, I will give you a vineyard in exchange.' But he refused to let me have his vineyard." His wife Jezebel said to him, "A fine ruler over Israel you are indeed! Get up. Eat and be cheerful. I will obtain the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite for you."
So she wrote letters in Ahab's name and, having sealed them with his seal, sent them to the elders and to the nobles who lived in the same city with Naboth. This is what she wrote in the letters: "Proclaim a fast and set Naboth at the head of the people. Next, get two scoundrels to face him and accuse him of having cursed God and king. Then take him out and stone him to death." His fellow citizens—the elders and nobles who dwelt in his city— did as Jezebel had ordered them in writing, through the letters she had sent them. They proclaimed a fast and placed Naboth at the head of the people. Two scoundrels came in and confronted him with the accusation, "Naboth has cursed God and king." And they led him out of the city and stoned him to death. Then they sent the information to Jezebel that Naboth had been stoned to death.
When Jezebel learned that Naboth had been stoned to death, she said to Ahab, "Go on, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite that he refused to sell you, because Naboth is not alive, but dead." On hearing that Naboth was dead, Ahab started off on his way down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 5:2-3ab, 4b-6a, 6b-7 R. (2b) Lord, listen to my groaning. Hearken to my words, O LORD, attend to my sighing. Heed my call for help, my king and my God!
R. Lord, listen to my groaning. At dawn I bring my plea expectantly before you. For you, O God, delight not in wickedness; no evil man remains with you; the arrogant may not stand in your sight.
R. Lord, listen to my groaning. You hate all evildoers. You destroy all who speak falsehood; The bloodthirsty and the deceitful the LORD abhors.
R. Lord, listen to my groaning.
Alleluia Ps 119:105 R. Alleluia, alleluia. A lamp to my feet is your word, a light to my path. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 5:38-42
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. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles. Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ For many good Christians this is one of the most difficult and paradoxical passage of the whole Gospel. On the one hand we know that retribution will not get us anywhere, except to an ever deeper spiral of violence. Yet, how can we stop evil if we do as Jesus tells us and 'not resist the evildoer'? Is it possible to turn the other cheek when we are attacked?
▪ Jesus is telling us that evil is overcome, and the evildoer's life changes, when we resist evil not with the same arms of the evildoer but by believing in the power of love and of goodness. It is the logic of the Resurrection - where the definitive victory was achieved when Jesus loved his friends to the end, to the point of giving up his life though he was blameless.
▪ I ask the Father to give me the spirit of Jesus, the readiness to walk the extra mile and turn the other cheek.
Conversation requires talking and listening. As I talk to Jesus may I also learn to be still and listen. I picture the gentleness in His eyes and the smile full of love as he gazes on me. I can be totally honest with Jesus as I tell Him of my worries and my cares. I will open up my heart to Him as I tell Him of my fears and my doubts. I will ask Him to help me to place myself fully in His care, to abandon myself to Him, knowing that He always wants what is best for me.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.
Saint Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Memorial)
Offer no resistance to one who is evil. (Matthew 5:39)
We've all heard expressions like "What goes around comes around" and "The punishment should fit the crime." But compare these statements to today's Gospel reading, and they end up sounding like the ancient law of retribution: an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. They imply that justice is served when wrongdoers get back what they dished out.
When thought of in the abstract, this sounds completely reasonable, doesn't it? It's nothing personal; you're just trying to be fair and maintain order.
But most wrongdoing is personal. It's no longer just an "event" out there. You are on the receiving end of an injustice, and you are hurt and frustrated. Especially if you have suffered a serious offense, it can be difficult to remain impartial and unemotional. Something in you wants to get even. And so the cycle of vengeance continues—a cycle that we see not only on the world stage but in family life as well.
What would it take for us to break this cycle? Although Jesus' words about not resisting evil are an exaggeration, they do prompt us to ask, "How far am I willing to go?" Jesus wants the mark of his people to be mercy. He wants us to try to put an end to hatred, vengeance, and enmity—simply by making changes in our own hearts.
Of course, this doesn't mean we should become doormats and let people take advantage of us. Neither does it mean that we don't need judges and law enforcement officers to do their jobs. But at the end of the day, a social or political system can't bring the kind of healing that a person can. As Pope Francis constantly reminds us, we need to encounter one another in order to experience the power of God's mercy and love.
What simple step can you take to help break the cycle of hurt and retaliation? Maybe just a small act of generosity or a simple "I forgive you" is all you need—even if you don't feel all that merciful at the time. It may not be easy, but it has the potential to open up someone else's heart to God's grace and forgiveness.
"Jesus, help me to be as merciful toward people as you have been with me."
my2cents: It's a matter of the heart, and the Lord is calling it to mind. The 5minutos said: "It was said: Do no evil. I say: Do good. It was said: Eye for an eye. Everyone would be blind. I am the Light. Whoever strikes your cheek, offer the other and return with a smile. It was said: You should abhor your enemies. I say: Pray and do good to those who want evil. It was said: Be good people. I say: Be Saints. It was said: Don't make them cry. I say: Make them laugh. It was said: Don't spill blood. I say: Give them your blood. It was said: Let's be good but not dumb. I say: Dumb no, crazy yes. It was said: Virtue is in the middle. I say 'the virtue is in the extreme. It was said: We've reached the end, this is the limit. I say: Love has no limits. It was said: Love but don't go overboard. I say: Love breaking and going beyond limits. It was said: Charity begins with oneself. I say: Charity begins to whom most needs it. It was said: Whoever does it pays for it. I say: God is the greater payer. He Himself receives payment. It was said: I forgive but I don't forget. I say: God rejoices and grows in forgiving. It was said: Nobody steps on me, puts a foot on me. I say: Put yourself at the feet of others. It was said: So much you have, so much you are worth. I say: Fools! Lk.12:20. Only the fool confuses value with price. It was said: Share the bread. I say Make yourself into bread, every one of you!"
Lord, listen to my groaning.
Yesterday, I took that young man from daily Mass and the only RCIA student left, to a retreat at the sand dunes. We made our way to an oasis in the desert, a group of trees among the vast hills of sands. We opened the bible, prayed the divine mercy chaplet, and I warned them we may get visitors and may have to leave to be set apart. Halfway through, a group of riders come on their 4 seater side by side ATVs. They arrive hootin and hollering and we stopped our session, and the older gentleman and wife come towards me and shake hands and he asks (jokingly) for our fold up chairs saying "why didn't we think of that". Then their eyes focused on my ride, decked out with stickers I had custom made that say "He Died For Me, I'll Live For Him". And they turned to me and said "I like that, that's good". The sides of the yellow and black ride say "Son Worshipper" and the rear says "Jesus is my Commander" (i drive a CanAm Commander). When they finally left, I joked "they asked for my chair, I'm a Christian but I didn't say I was a good one!" and I kept on "I was going to say "Let me Pray about it!" LOL. "Let me just finish what I'm doing, reading the bible and then you can use it!", and I had all sorts of jokes and we cracked up, but, think about it, my first reaction wasn't "sure go ahead", it was like "I'll rent it to you guys" which made them laugh, but think about it. Where is the act of charity, of offering and going the extra mile?
When the Lord asks you for something, now the nitty gritty hits the floor. When He asks what do you say? For a glass of water. "Go Get it YOURSELF" we say. For some money. "Get a dang job!" we say. For some compassion, and we already failed previously. Going the extra mile for the Lord and with the Lord is what is at hand here. Suffering in grace is the saving grace we are to achieve by being susceptible to Him, disposed to Him. At one point in our retreat, we split out of our little group to find something in nature that God spoke to us through. At another point we split to focus on a scripture, Isaiah 55:11 which said that His Word would not come back empty. At that point, being in the desert, alone, I hit my knees, praying, and the Lord spoke to my heart as I spoke to Him. He made it known I was on my way to being a white martyr, and I said "it's because I love you Lord' and He said "I know you do". And the tears swelled up and burned my eyes and a dove flew close and in the silence of the desert it started cooing, singing. That made me kind of laugh, it was pretty cool. I took back a leaf full of white looking dandelion type seeds it was putting out. It was like it was snowing in the trees the whole afternoon. I said "The Lord puts this tree in the desert, giving fruits, seeds constantly, then who am i not to be putting out seeds of God's love in my life? Who am i to say when I should stop? If a tree gives fruit and spawns life in the desert, then God can do so much more in our lives!"
Love knows no limits. Love Knows what mercy is. Love reaches for mercy and mercy reaches to love.
Let this love break all the limits you have set on one another. Turn the cheek. Go the extra mile. And do it with a smile. Because you do it To Him and For HIM!