Near the end of his life, Anthony of Padua composed a collection of sermons or “sermon notes.” Having been an outstanding theology teacher and preacher for much of his life, Anthony wanted to help his Franciscan confreres in their preaching ministry. He wrote these so-called “sermon notes” for the benefit of his brothers.
In this E-spiration, I want to share with you some passages or notes of St. Anthony’s sermons.
Sunlight Reveals Dirt
Let me begin with this short passage from one of Anthony’s sermons:
“When it is dark, we do not see how dusty and dirty our house is. Only when the place is flooded with sunlight do we realize its awful condition. So we need the light of God’s grace to show us the real state of our soul and to induce us to clean up our hearts!”
Reflection: Anthony’s words inspire us to pause and reflect on how closely we do—or do not—measure up to Christ, who is our shining model in all things. But Jesus’ light is not simply a light that exposes our darkness and shortcomings or puts us in touch with our guilt. Jesus’ light is also a warm flood of comforting sunlight and forgiveness that replaces our darkness and wraps us in God’s healing love.
A Tiny Child Is ‘Lord of the Universe’
In another sermon passage, Anthony reflects on the mystery of Christ’s birth in a humble stable at Bethlehem. Anthony expresses amazement, for example, at “the Lord of the universe wrapped in swaddling clothes” and at “the King of Angels lying in a stable.” He also salutes “the one whose name is boundless and yet is laid in a narrow manger.”
Reflection: St. Anthony’s words seem to echo the following passage of St. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, in which Paul urges us to embrace the attitude of Christ:
Though “he was in the form of God, [he] did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness. And found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:6-8).
Seek the Face of God
In another sermon passage of St. Anthony, we find these words: “Nothing apart from God can satisfy the human heart, which is truly in search of God.”
Reflection: As an Augustinian monk in Portugal for many years, Anthony would have surely pondered the famous quote of St. Augustine: “You have created us for yourself, O God, and our hearts are restless until they rest in thee.” May Anthony intercede for us so that each of us may truly seek the face of God and find our own contemplative gift—and, indeed, full union with our loving God.
Because this E-spiration is focused on St. Anthony and his words, we offer you the opportunity to buy an autographed copy of St. Anthony of Padua: Saint of the People edited by Friar Jack Wintz. Purchase the book and receive a copy personally signed by Friar Jack. Order the book here.
Friar Jim: What a beautiful inspiration on the face of Jesus! Once, after reading in the Bible where Jesus cured the blind man, I thought how lucky he was to regain his sight and see the face of Jesus. It put such a longing in my heart to see Jesus’ face, too! I went on retreat shortly after that and, in the gift shop, found the face of Jesus that is on the Shroud of Turin. Looking at it more closely, I found it to change into Jesus’ face! The artist took the bone structure from the shroud to draw the likeness of Jesus. It is indeed a beautiful face! Doris
A: Doris: Just think: When you receive the Eucharist, you actually have the whole of Jesus. We are blessed!
Friar Jim: Again, thank you for your special words for us about God’s love. I have long admired you and your ministry, not to mention your rumpled good looks! Gloria
A: Gloria: Those rumpled good looks only indicate that my life has been an adventure in the Lord!
Friar Jim: All your reflections have been so beautiful, and they offer us much to meditate on. I am a widow in my 80s, trying to serve God, wondering often if I’m even coming close to accomplishing anything worthwhile due to my declining health and physical energy. The great love Jesus has for us has become more and more evident to me as the years go by, and please forgive me for this observation, but I have shed a few tears in sympathy for those people who have been refused the most holy Eucharist. I simply don’t know if I would be able to cope in that situation! As you stated, Jesus shared meals with sinners so often, and at times I have felt that his sorrow is much deeper than mine because of this. Not to be able to receive our Lord would simply be more than I could bear. Again, thank you for your wonderful words of wisdom. Ames
A: Ames: I appreciate your thoughts for those unable to receive Eucharist. But always remember the Lord is always with them and nothing will keep him away from his children who need him.