MANILA, July 6, 2014—You had a dream but didn’t quite reach it? Relax, advised a priest, you’re in the league of Saint Anthony of Padua.
On the saint’s first Tuesday devotion at the San Antonio de Padua Parish Church in Singalong recently, Fr. Eric Santos explained why people often do not get what they wish for, however noble their intentions may be.
This happens, explained Santos, because God has something better in store for them.
Recalling the life of St. Anthony who, despite his brilliance, “failed” in not becoming the missionary he wanted, Santos noted that instead of sulking in the corner, he entrusted himself all the more to God’s wisdom.
A gifted speaker, St. Anthony redirected his talents and energy to not just preaching the Good News of Christ at home, to the people of Padua, and elsewhere, but to actually living it, Santos stressed.
According to the priest, in his desire to combat religious errors, of which Europe was then infested, the saint would go out of his way to bring heretics back to the Catholic fold at the risk of his life.
A pious legend tells that when heretics refused to listen to what he had to say, St. Anthony went to a pond where the fish were more eager for God’s word.
Like his mentor St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony became known for his radical simplicity and his love for all creatures.
Santos expressed horror over artistic portrayals of the saint as wearing golden clothes with intricate designs.
Depictions of that kind are more pious than accurate, he explained.
The real St. Anthony would have been embarrassed to wear the lavish outfit, the priest said, contented as he was in his brown sackcloth.
The mass and the novena that preceded it were attended by many of the local devotees.
A relic of the saint was taken out for public veneration.
Bags of special bread, called “St. Anthony’s bread”, were blessed by Santos and given away to the faithful. (Raymond A. Sebastián)