Happy feast day to my favorite Franciscan! :D
St. Anthony has always been a special father figure to me. As I’ve mentioned before, I grew up in a parish under his patronage. I always loved looking at the statue of him holding the Christ Child. He always looked so kind and gentle. I always wanted to be held in his arms as well, and spiritually, I think I always have been. I think he’s one of the reasons I’m Catholic now… one of those who never gave up on me.
Traditionally, St. Anthony is the Saint you turn to when you’ve lost something and need to find it. Over many years, I lost my way–The Way–big time. And I think St. Anthony helped me find it again, even though I never asked him to; I didn’t realize, or admit, that I was lost at the time. I’m sure he did it for God, for my parents, and for love of me.
Of all the things he was, and is–Doctor of the Church, great preacher and teacher, opponent of heresy–I think of him mostly as a pastor, one of Christ’s chosen shepherds, charged with seeking and saving souls.
He has also helped me with Confession. In my parish church, his statue is just outside our pastor’s confessional. When I first started going to Confession regularly, I would always look to his statue and ask him to help me calm down and make a good Confession. I still do sometimes! Talking to St. Anthony never fails to comfort me.
I recommend turning to him often!
Here’s last year’s St. Anthony’s Day post, which includes a photo of the statue outside my childhood parish.
(picture from SQPN’s St. Anthony of Padua gallery)