Today is the feast of Saint Anthony of Padua. During his lifetime he was known for his masterful preaching, knowledge of scripture, and love of the poor. Now, of course, he’s best known as a finder of lost items. I suppose it fits with his reputation for humility that a Doctor of the Church is most often invoked by people frantically looking for their keys.
The association comes from the story that when Saint Anthony was teaching at a seminary, one of the novices decided to quit, and to take with him a very valuable book of Psalms.
When every book had to be copied out by hand, each one was irreplaceable, but this one was especially important as Anthony used it to teach his students. Rather than attempt to contact the novice’s family, or the authorities, Saint Anthony decided to just pray that the book would be returned to him. And it was! Along with one very penitential novice who requested to rejoin the community.
I love that Anthony chose to use the Psalms to instruct his students. They are such a fount of beauty and inspiration.
In today’s Responsorial Psalm, Psalm 16, we reply, “You are my inheritance, O Lord.” Though we worry about our possessions, lost or otherwise, we are reminded by the Psalms that no matter what our material concerns or station in life, we are daughters of the King and heiresses to the only inheritance that truly matters . . . eternal life. This was gained for us by Jesus’ sacrifice and offered to us by Him in His merciful love.
As Saint Anthony preached: “When Christ extended his hand upon the Cross, and willed that, so extended, it should be opened by the nail, he poured out the treasure of mercy through that opening and filled every living creature with blessing.” (Read the sermons of Saint Anthony here.)