Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Feast of Saint Anthony

Saint Anthony, come down!
Something has to be found!

The Patron Saint of lost things, seafarers, defender and devotee of the Queen of Heaven.

He was called "the hammer of heretics" for his apparent ability to convert people to catholicism with only his words. I find it interesting that many of his words concerned Mary, Mother of God, Theotokos, Queen of Heaven, The Morning Star. I will go as far as to say his devotion to Mary and his preaching on her behalf, enabled the transition of those who held a Goddess-centered, or Goddess-equal belief and practice beforehand to the new religion of the day. 

Here is an excerpt from a site on Marian devotion:
From the outset his life was markedly Marian, being born in Lisbon on the feast of the Assumption, August 15th, 1195 A. D., and baptized in the Church of St. Mary in Lisbon. At the age of 15 he completed his studies at the Cathedral School of St. Mary. Appropriately his earthly life, ever pure and humble, was brought to a close in a similar Marian tone, for when death drew nigh he longed to be taken to the St. Mary, Mother of God Friary in Padua. After receiving Extreme Unction he intoned his favorite hymn, "O gloriosa Domina..." (O glorious Lady).
In 431 A. D. the Catholic Church at the Council of Ephesus proclaimed that since Jesus Christ is the second Person of the most Holy Trinity, that is, a divine Person, Mary can rightly be called "Mother of God" (Theotokos). St. Anthony maintains that as Jesus was "designated Son of God in power according to the spirit of holiness..." (Rm. 1:4), so Mary "is designated as Mother of God in power according to the spirit of holiness." For him Mary was designated, predestined from all eternity, to receive this singular grace.

Notice he was born on the date celebrated as the Assumption, the Feast of Diana in Italy, the Feast of Hekate in Greece... The ides of August were celebrated in honor of the Queen of Heaven long before the advent of Christianity. Theotokos is the title of Diana. Recognize the name Ephesus? That's because the famous Sanctuary and statue of Diana were there. Giving Mary the title held by Diana in the city of Her sanctuary wasn't a random happenstance.

Here is the full hymn mentioned in the first quoted paragraph (it's often broken into two). I love this one, and I think many of you would happily sing along with me (at least most of it!) since it's full of more Pagan imagery than many of the ditties we sing around the fire at the drum circle these days:

The God whom earth, and sea, and sky
adore, and laud, and magnify,
who o'er their threefold fabric reigns,
the Virgin's spotless womb contains.

The God whose will by moon, and sun,
and all things in due course is done,
is borne upon a Maiden's breast,
by fullest heavenly grace possessed.

How blest that Mother, in whose shrine
the great Artificer Divine,
whose hand contains the earth and sky,
vouchsafed, as in His ark, to lie. 

Blest, in the message Gabriel brought;
blest, by the work the Spirit wrought;
from whom the great Desire of earth
took human flesh and human birth.

All honor, laud, and glory be,
o Jesu Virgin-born, to Thee,
whom with the Father we adore,
and Holy Ghost for evermore. Amen.

O Heaven's glorious mistress,
enthron'd above the starry sky!
thou feedest with thy sacred breast
thy own Creator, Lord most high.

What man had lost in hapless Eve,
thy sacred womb to man restores,
thou to the wretched here beneath
hast open'd Heaven's eternal doors.

Hail, O refulgent Hall of light!
Hail Gate august of Heaven's high King!
through thee redeem'd to endless life,
thy praise let all the nations sing.

To the Father and the Spirit
and to thy Son all glory be,
who with a wonderous garment
of graces encircled thee. Amen. 

A typical offering to Saint Anthony, especially when he comes through for you, is to donate bread to the hungry- your weight, or the weight of the blessed person in wheat. You can also donate the equivalent money to a charity dedicated to feeding the hungry.

Saint Anthony, Patrono della mia famiglia, patron of seafarers, of the lost, of those in need, devoted to the Queen of Heaven, please accept my offer of thanks for all you have done for us. Grazie!

Next time we'll talk about his "miracle of the fishes" and more about why workers of magic and the ways,  by whatever title they use, can and do work with Saints.

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