During this Jubilee Year of Mercy, how do we become merciful like our heavenly father and also how do we open our hearts to receive God’s mercy in our lives?
The saints of the Church can be our guide! They lived during complex times that challenged them in many ways. They overcame daily struggles with faith. During the next few months, we will highlight saints of mercy who blazed trails showing us the path to heaven with merciful hearts. They demonstrated works of mercy, which often requires hard work – as the name implies. They depended on God’s love and grace to make this possible. We hope you will enjoy reading their stories of mercy and reflecting on how you can follow their footsteps into the arms of Jesus Christ.
St. Anthony of Padua, Feast Day is June 13
This saints reminds us of the Spiritual Work of Mercy to “instruct the ignorant.” Another way to understand this act of mercy is to say “teach the faith to others.”
St. Anthony of Padua was born on June 13, 1195 in Lisbon, Portugal. At a very early age Anthony knew his destiny was to follow Christ.
He was educated at a local cathedral school in Lisbon and left when he was 15 years old to enter the Augustinian Abbey of Saint Vincent where he studied Latin and theology.
After his ordination, a group of Franciscan friars settled at a small hermitage near the abbey called St. Anthony of Egypt. Anthony was attracted to their simple lifestyle, and joined their order. Just prior to his joining, a group of Franciscans had been beheaded in Morocco, the first of their order to be killed for their faith.
Anthony went to Morocco to follow in their footsteps as a missionary to teach the faith, but became ill while there. He attempted to return to Portugal to regain his health, but his ship was blown off-course and he landed in Italy where he became friends with St. Francis of Assisi. He was assigned to teach young men studying for ordination as Franciscans. He was known among the friars for his ability to powerfully preach the word of God. He wrote ‘Sermons for Feast Days,’ a rich tapestry of Catholic teaching that earned him the title ‘doctor of the church’ by Pope Pius XII in 1946. St. Anthony was admired for his ability to teach about Jesus Christ, the Bible and the saints. He lived a simple, austere life in service to others.
How can you follow St. Anthony’s example to teach others the faith?
Starting with your own family and friends, tell others about your relationship with Jesus Christ and his merciful and loving ways. Witness the Gospel through your loving actions and the people around you will learn about the faith we profess.
Also, Catechist formation within the Diocese of Orlando is an excellent way to share your faith with others. Catechists commit to personal development as a mature disciple, have a working knowledge of the Catholic faith, are sensitive to different learners and their social economic environments and understand various methods of teaching.
For more information, please contact Tomas Evans in the Diocese of Orlando Secretariat of Laity, Family and Life at 407-246-4912 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.