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Sunday, June 12, 2016

St Anthony of Padua

“I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven." Mt 5:20

So many aspects of St Anthony's life are remarkable and intriguing. Born to wealth in Portugal, he joined the Canons Regular, a group dedicated to theological scholarship and learning. Happy enough as a Canon, he was the guest master for his community when five young Francisca friars on their way to Morocco as missionaries stopped to rest. Less than a year later word came that the friars had been martyred. Anthony was so moved that he asked to join the Franciscans and take up the mission of the martyred friars.Though his request was granted, his health made it impossible to leave for Morocco.

Deciding to go to Italy, the home of the Franciscans, his ship was forced into port at Sicily. Still not well, Anthony made his way to Tuscany and was assigned to a rural hermitage and asked to help in the kitchen. Well educated, even scholarly, Anthony found himself in the most humble of circumstances but there is no evidence that he complained or worried about his choice to join the Friars Minor.  As often happens, however, Anthony was asked to preach on a day no one else was prepared and his homily both surprised and delighted his listeners. His career as one of the most famous of Franciscan preachers had begun.

Today, be alert to whatever grace comes and embrace it.

What most impresses you about the lives of the Saints?

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