Given that our soup run was the day after St Anthony’s feast day (13th June), I expected his intercessory marvels, being one of our heavenly patrons.
But I did not anticipate the degree he would answer our monthly prayer of finding our homeless friends and guests.
This proclaimed “Wonder Worker” more than doubled the number of persons we would normally help! Deo Gratias!
While we marveled at how the afternoon unfolded, meeting guests within a few minutes of leaving the car, we also found our resources and energy taxed heavily, leaving Winchester well after 7pm with a near empty car, which arrived full of fresh food, drink, and plenty of handouts of canned food, pasta/noodle packs, toiletries, clothing, etc.
So why is a 13th century Portuguese saint so important to our work?
- St Anthony is one of the most prominent advocates of the poor and needy.
- He delights in helping with the most mundane things. As a result he is most helpful in our day to day worldly affairs. He is well-known for finding lost things, but his power extends to every countless need, from the postal miracle from which we have the devotion of marking envelopes with “SAG” (St Anthony Guide) or in Latin “RSA” (Reservet Sanctus Anthonius), to the opening of a locked door which soon spread into the devotion termed St Anthony’s bread, and the brief for those tempted to suicide (I will detail these devotions in a later post). I can personally vouch that his intercessory powers can spare one a fixed penalty notice!
- St Anthony loves a challenge. Though it is laudable to just put money into a St Anthony’s bread box, the saint prefers you to hang onto your cash and test him. By presenting your most difficult problems to him in the form of a written note inserted in the box, and a promise to pay up when it’s granted, you give the thaumaturgus (wonder worker) a chance to prove his worth and glorify God.
- St Anthony invokes action and generosity. Often St Anthony’s intercession is not secured without first some commitment on our behalf. God wishes us to ask audaciously, but also to give audaciously. The blackening or blurring of the mobile camera’s lens (maybe with his friar’s garb) would not have been procured (I believe) without me first offering a suitable financial sum for his beloved poor.
Dear reader, I challenge you all to try the St Anthony test. Throw your worst at him. You will not be disappointed. And if he doesn’t deliver, it wouldn’t have cost you a penny.