Wednesday, June 13, 2012

You bet your ass

Today it is the Feast of St. Anthony and so I went to church. There is no way I can miss Mass on the Feast of St. Anthony because him being the patron saint of lost objects, and me being the world's most disorganized person, he is always doing me so many favors.

I am always losing things and he is always finding them for me!

We could not quite get our act together for the singing so we had a Low Mass and not a High Mass. But it was beautiful and quiet and reverent and surely St. Anthony was there among us. I can say that for sure because he as long as he was there when I lost my checkbook, and the sapphire from my engagement ring, and all my missing tax papers, I am sure he was there for this Mass.

There is a story about St. Anthony that I heard yesterday on Catholic Radio. I had never heard this story before. I have told the story about the fishes, here told eloquently by Gustav Mahler and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau ...

...but not this story.

This one man was a merchant and while I get the idea he was a good man, he did not believe the truths of what St. Anthony was telling him. So St. Anthony made a deal with him.

The merchant had a donkey and St. Anthony told him to make the donkey go without food for three days, so the donkey would be absolutely starving. At that point, the man was supposed to bring the donkey back to St. Anthony, who would be ready with the Blessed Sacrament.

There would be the Blessed Sacrament on one hand, and on the other hand, all kinds of hay, which the donkey loved. St. Anthony told the man that the donkey would not eat but would instead adore the Blessed Sacrament. And if that happened, the man would have to become a Catholic. This was in the 13th century. St. Anthony was born at the end of the 12th century.

The merchant said, "OK, sure."

And lo.

The hungry, hungry donkey was brought back and, instead of eating the hay, went over to the Blessed Sacrament and dropped to its donkey knees.

In Ellicott City, Md., there is a statue of the event. Isn't this beautiful? I want to go to Maryland and see it.

And here is a stained glass rendition.

I have already given away all the surprises but you may read about it here.

My missal has the best description of St. Anthony. It says that he was always able to convert nonbelievers "through the supernatural forces which seemed to be always at his command."

Because Leonard Pennario was baptized at St. Anthony's I sometimes think that is where he got his supernatural powers at the piano.

And so we honor St. Anthony today.

St. Anthony, pray for us!

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