St. Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) is well known as a finder of lost things, but he was also famous in his own time as a great preacher. Because of his tireless and effective work in preaching the truth of the Gospel in a time when people were being led astray by false teachings, he is sometimes called the “Hammer of Heretics.” He also wrote down a series of “sermons”. These are not so much sermons in their own right but rather explanations and concordances of readings for each Sunday – a sort of medieval homily helper – to give assistance to other Franciscan preachers. They reveal a great depth of knowledge and love of the Scriptures, drawing on both the Old and the New Testaments and using imagery from the natural world.
In preparation for his feast day today, we have been sharing with you a “Novena of Quotes” from his sermons on Facebook and Twitter. Here we give you all the quotes together, some of them in their fuller, richer context. (The text used in our social media graphics appears in bold.)
To use any of the shareable graphics we created for these quotes, you can easily find them by visiting our Facebook
1. The breadth of charity widens the narrow heart of the sinner.
2. O Father, in your Truth (that is to say, in your Son, humbled, needy and homeless) you have humbled me. He was humbled in the womb of the Virgin, needy in the manger of the sheep, and homeless on the wood of the Cross. Nothing so humbles the proud sinner as the humility of Jesus Christ’s humanity.
3. Alas, alas! He who is the liberty of captives is made a prisoner. He who is the Glory of the angels is mocked. The God of all is scourged. The spotless mirror of the eternal Light is spat upon. The Life of mortals is killed. What is there left for us poor wretches to do but go and die with him? Draw us forth from the mire, Lord Jesus, with the hook of your Cross; so that we may run, not to your sweetness, but to the bitterness of your Passion.
4. The wisdom of God is reflected in the face of the soul: she will see God as he is, and she will know as she is known.
5. So the religious soul finds in the heart of Jesus a secure refuge against the wiles and attacks of Satan, and a delightful retreat. But we must not rest merely at the entrance to the hole in the rock, we must penetrate its depths. At the mouth of the deep hollow, at the mouth of the wound in his side we shall, indeed, find the precious blood which has redeemed us. This blood pleads for us and demands mercy for us. But the religious soul must not stay at the entrance. When she has heard, and understood, the voice of the divine blood, she must hasten to the very source from which it springs, into the very innermost sanctuary of the heart of Jesus. There she will find light, peace, and ineffable consolations.
6. Look upon the rainbow: that is, consider the beauty, holiness and dignity of blessed Mary; and bless with heart and mouth and deed her Son, who made her thus. In the brightness of her holiness she is very beautiful, beyond all daughters of God. She has encompassed the heaven about (that is, she has enclosed the divinity) within the circle of her glory, her glorious humanity.
7. Do you want to have God always in your mind? Be just as he made you to be. Do not go seeking another “you”. Do not make yourself otherwise than he made you. Then you will always have God in mind.
8. The Lord breathes the breath of life, contrition of heart, into the face of the soul when he impresses upon it his own image and likeness, which has been soiled by sin, and renews it.
9. The life of the body is the soul, the life of the soul is Christ.
10. How great is the kindness of God! How great is the dignity of the penitent! He who lives in eternity dwells in the heart of the humble and in the soul of the penitent! It is the mark of a truly contrite heart that it humbles itself in everything, reckoning itself no more than a dead dog and a mere flea.
All quotes are taken from Paul Spilsbury’s translation of The Sermons of Saint Anthony of Padua
, which are available online as a pdf