So I have this devotion to St. Anthony that is mostly about finding things. Typical Catholic.
This spring the relics of St. Anthony toured the Diocese of Charleston, and of course I had to go. My specific prayer request was about figuring out (“finding”) my new small-v vocation, now that my last homeschooler is in school. I’ve been feeling the waters in a lot of different directions, but nothing was quite coming together. A lot of things were definitely NOT coming together.
So yesterday afternoon after four days forced offline, and a period of prayer and fasting as well (though not as much prayer as I’d like to be able to say I accomplished — just small and targeted prayers), in the space of an hour I got an e-mail accepting a book proposal for a book I can write this summer, and one for a teaching job that starts in the fall. Perfect combination: I can write this summer while being with the family, and then have work in the fall about the time the manuscript is done.
(No announcements yet — details and contracts still need to be hammered out.)
This morning I got up, and you should know that my usual routine is to make a hot beverage and open the Scriptures, either picking up from where I left off in the Bible (Ezekiel at the moment), or from the day’s Mass readings, or Morning Prayer with iBreviary. One or another, it just depends. I had to shake off some scrupulosity and give myself the freedom to just go with whatever was going to work that day.
So today while the hot water was supposedly warming up, I was sitting in front of the PC goofing off, Missal in my lap to go sit outside and pray the readings once the drink was ready. (You can talk to people online first thing in the morning, no problem, but everyone knows that Jesus wants you to have your hot drink in hand before you converse with Him. Yeah right. Cue Coffee with Jesus.) Eventually I figured out the kettle wasn’t plugged in, eventually I remembered I was supposed to be praying instead of reading online, and thus eventually I made it out to the porch.
Hitch: My bookmark in the Missal wasn’t on the right day, and I was too lazy to go back inside and look up what day we’re on.
But hey, there are saints days in the back, so I figured, I’ll go see if anyone’s having a feast today.
Hitch: That requires knowing what day it is.
But I did some hard thinking (rather than go inside and check the date, hmmn) and remembered that yesterday was the 12th, I think, so that made today most likely the 13th. I flip to June 13th and who should the saint be but . . . St. Anthony of Padua. My guy.
But interestingly, my edition of the Daily Roman Missal doesn’t talk about St. Anthony finding your parking space for you. What it talks about is this: Here’s a saint who was a phenomenal evangelist. He preached from the Scriptures so thoroughly, with such a reliance on the Gospels, that he got called the “Evangelical Doctor.”
Whoa. St. Anthony I barely knew you.
And yes, I’d read the biography before, but it went in one ear and out the other — great Franciscan saint, middle ages, preaching or miracles or something, blah blah blah. Mostly you could count on him to find things, and also one year one of the kids in my class did a great St. Anthony costume for religious ed. That was truly all I remembered.
I mean, come on, find my hotel for me, that’s all I need.
But also, I asked for his intercession on the question of my vocation. And on the vigil of the feast day (which was already the feast day in Padua), I got invited to:
- Write a book on evangelization.
- Teach in a school where evangelization and Scripture study are the top priorities.
Sooo . . . yes. Ask and you shall receive. Mind whom you ask for help, though.
Some short biographies for those who want to parse out yet more parallels:
- St. Anthony of Padua, by Franciscan Media
- The Impact of God – The Evangelical Mission of St. Anthony of Padua
- St. Anthony of Padua at Catholic Culture
St. Anthony at the Cathedral of Strasbourg.