“The saints are like the stars. In His providence Christ conceals them in a hidden place that they may not shine before others when they might wish to do so. Yet they are always ready to exchange the quiet of contemplation for the works of mercy as soon as they perceive in their heart the invitation of Christ.” St. Anthony of Padua
This past Sunday, I went to mass at the Italian parish in my city. I go there more often these days. Mass is in Italian, the music is beautiful, the traditions are encouraging, and the homily is quite helpful. At the end of mass, the priest blessed St. Anthony’s bread for the people, and they all went up after mass to take some. It was great. The simplicity of mass in this parish astounds me. I still speak Italian fluently despite not continuing with all the traditions. But, I have found a home in the parish.
I have been to Padua several times and I make a point to visit the Basilica in that city dedicated to him even though he was Portuguese. When he was alive, he impressed the people when he was pressured into speaking; eventually he traveled extensively to speak to many people. He is not simply the patron of lost articles. He was much more than someone we ask when we lose our keys. Often, we are pressed into doing things we are reluctant to do so but the Lord knows this, and he sees down the road more than we do. He knows what is best for us even if it is difficult. St. Anthony of Padua is a great example of this.
“Faith and love are like the blind man’s guides. They lead you along a path unknown to you, to the place where God is hidden.” St. John of the Cross
I sometimes feel anxious about the future for many reasons. I had to go to some physiotherapy recently for a minor ailment. I hesitate all the time before I go and see a new health worker. I have never been a fan, but it turned out quite well. I felt much better after, and I decided to go back again. It is a small example, but it is always part of our hesitation to trust. I would say that following Christ is no easy task. He does not give us the easy road, but he asks us to trust. This last week was also the feast day of Pope St. Leo III. He had many interactions with the great Charlemagne. We could reduce his papacy to some sort of political intrigue, but it is not right to be cynical or suspect motives so quickly. The Church has declared him a saint and we can be confident in this. Another saint this week was interesting. St. Onuphrius. He was a desert hermit. I cannot imagine living in such isolation and depending solely on Christ. However, I can learn from his simple life that we all need to be totally dependent on God. There are so many examples and reminders for us to continue to trust our Lord.
“Go courageously to God, along the way He has traced out for you, steadfastly embracing the means He offers you.” St. Margaret Mary Alacoque.
I am in awe of the greatness of such saints. They live a life of such beauty and serenity that I search for always. I have found that staying close to Christ through daily mass, the rosary and spiritual reading can only bring me closer to God in a way that I might not necessarily understand. However, I can be sure that by living with Christ in this world, I will know Him in the next.
“Heaven itself does not contain more. God, that unique treasure is here! Really, yes really: my God is my everything.” Blessed Maria Candida of the Eucharist