24 September 2008

Anthony and the Word

The Psalm refrain at this morning’s Mass, “Your word, O Lord, is a lamp for my feet” (Psalm 119:105) contains a treasury of gems relating to Christ Jesus. Let us spend a bit of time, then, breaking it apart.

What is this word? Saint John the Evangelist tells us that Jesus is the word of the Lord: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

Not only is Jesus the Word, he is also the lamp, the light itself. He says, “I am the light of the world” (John 9:5).

Moreover, Jesus is also the path upon which our feet walk, for he says, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6).

The words of the Psalmist are a great foreshadowing of Christ Jesus.

Is this not a great marvel? This morning at Mass with the first, second and third graders I connected this refrain to the life of Saint Anthony of Padua.

Perhaps the most common portrayal of the Evangelic Doctor depicts him holding the Christ-child in his arms. Our heavenly patron is portrayed twice in this way in our church.

The story goes that he was staying in the home of a man named Tiso, who gave Anthony a room away from other people so that he might pray in solitude and quiet.

Tiso, being a good host, frequently walked by the Saints room to make sure he was comfortable and all was well.

One time he saw a light shining out from under the door and, on coming closer to investigate, he heard voices.

Peering into the room, Tiso saw the man of God kneeling before his desk, with a book lying open upon it and upon the book was a luminous child, more beautiful than any he had ever seen, whispering into the ear of Anthony.

May each of us, too, listen to and meditate upon the Divine Word. Let us bask in the beauty of his light and walk on his path.

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