minima maxima sunt

The Small things are the Great things; as in a grain of mustard seed.

San Antonio

El Greco (Doménikos Theotokópoulos), Saint Anthony of Padua, c. 1586, oil on canvas.

On of the most popular saints in the church is St. Anthony of Padua. Born in Portugal in 1195, he is most known as the patron of lost articles and safe travel. Anthony entered into the religious life with the community of Canons Regular and later joined the Franciscans who were recently formed and still under the leadership of their founder, Francis of Assisi. Anthony was educated in theology and was a gifted speaker, and would be named a doctor of the church. Francis recognizing a similar heart toward poverty, humility and prayer in Anthony, asked him to teach the Franciscans. Anthony became the first theology teacher of the Franciscan Order.

In art and iconography, Anthony is often shown holding an infant Jesus. Early art often depicted him with the scriptures and the child standing on the pages. To me it seems like a progression of ideas from the Scripture as Word to the Christ Child as the Word. Also lilies are found in pictures of St. Anthony representing purity and the Virgin Mary. He is usually dressed in the brown habit of the Franciscans.

As with many of the feast days of Saints, they land on the day of their martyrdom or death. Anthony died on June the 13th, 1231, at the age of 36.

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“Earthly riches are like the reed. Its roots are sunk in the swamp, and its exterior is fair to behold; but inside it is hollow. If a man leans on such a reed, it will snap off and pierce his soul.” (St. Anthony of Padua, Doctor of the Church)

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