He is known as the “wonder worker,” and with very good reason. What is so amazing about St. Anthony of Padua? Read the story of the miracle of the re-attached foot. Then look for our beautiful stain-glass window in the church depicting this miracle.
A young man of Padua, called Leonardo, went to St. Anthony to make his confession. Among his other sins, he confessed that he had once kicked his mother so hard that she had suffered a nasty fall. Anthony muttered under his breath, “The foot that strikes father or mother deserved to be cut off.” Of course, he did not intend his words to be taken literally. The young man, not understanding the meaning of his words, returned home, took a hatchet and chopped off his foot. The news soon reached the ears of the poor Anthony. He followed the youth’s grieving parents to their house and made his way to the young man’s bedroom. He prayed, holding the severed foot close to the leg, made the sign of the cross, and instantly the foot became attached to the leg. The young man jumped up, giving praise to the Lord and thanksgiving to Anthony, who had healed his leg in this truly miraculous way.
With this miracle St. Anthony invites us to meditate on the Sacrament of Penance. And I suspect that the first lesson is really for the confessor, who must be rather careful about what he says to the penitent. Confession, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, is a real luxury that only we Catholics posses. It is a powerful encounter with Christ who wants to forgive our sins. In the Gospels, we learn that during his earthly ministry Jesus forgave sins, and did this with his personal presence, with his voice, his hands.
Naturally we are not angels, and therefore we cannot meet Christ face to face and ask him to forgive us our sins, however, we can do this physically in the confessional through a priest acting “in persona Christi,” that is, “in the person of Christ.” Saint Anthony was a great apostle of Confession. After his sermons, hundreds of people wanted to make their confessions and change their lives, and so he used to spend hours listening to them.
Prayer to St. Anthony
Holy St. Anthony, gentlest of Saints, your love for God and Charity for His creatures made you worthy when on earth, to possess miraculous powers.
Miracles waited on your word, which you were ever ready to speak for those in trouble or anxiety. Encouraged by this thought, I implore you to obtain for me (REQUEST). The answer to my prayer may require a miracle. Even so, you are the Saint of Miracles.
Gentle and loving St. Anthony, whose heart was ever full of human sympathy, whisper my petition into the ears of the Sweet Infant Jesus, who loved to be folded in your arms and the gratitude of my heart will ever be yours. Amen.