Triune God, we thank you for drawing us to yourself through the gift of your grace and the example of the saints, especially Anthony of Padua. Lead us to follow him in never fearing that you might ask for a conversion beyond what we can offer you, our ever-gracious God. Amen.
Was Anthony’s faith when he died in 1231 the same as when he became a Friar Minor in 1220? In many ways yes, but in other important ways no. In those intervening years, he had experienced God’s grace in new ways and encountered new challenges to faith.
Some people speak of their faith as though it is a diamond to be safeguarded in a bank vault. Other people speak of their faith as the result of incorporating the joys and sorrows of life into a seamless response to God’s inexhaustible grace.
Is my faith primarily an object or a relationship with God? How I answer that question determines the role of religious conversion in my life. As a disciple of Jesus, my faith has content—I believe some things and because of that don’t believe other things. But clarity about content arises from the growth of my relationship with Jesus. Without that growth, the content can easily become a hollow shell.
Every ministry led Anthony into some deeper conversion and openness to God’s grace. We follow Anthony not by replicating the details of his ministry but by allowing our faith to grow as much as his did.
Am I allowing my faith to grow as God wants it to grow?
In Anthony’s Own Words
“We beg you, Lord Jesus, bind us with the love of you and our neighbor so that we can love you deeply with our whole heart, and not be separated from you.”