The image of Anthony holding the Divine Infant is a symbol and model for each of us. The image inspires us to go through life clinging to the wonderful mystery of the humble, self-emptying Christ, who accompanies us as a servant of our humanity and of the world’s healing. This is the kind of love that radiates from the Christ child so often pictured in St. Anthony’s arms. Would it not be a good idea for all of us to go through life carrying an imaginary God-child in our arms—and holding him up to the world? The child, however, is not really imaginary or fictitious. Two thousand years ago, thanks to the Virgin Mary’s “Yes,” the Son of God left behind his divine condition and came to dwell as a human child among us. Our faith tells us that he does accompany us each day like a humble servant—like a vulnerable child. Like St. Anthony, we do well lovingly to carry this image with us on our journey through life.
—from the book Saint Anthony of Padua: His Life, Legends, and Devotions edited by Jack Wintz, OFM