"If thou seekest miracles..." So starts the responsary for St. Anthony of Padua, invoked by Catholics for 700 years as the saint who could see that lost things were found. I like the traditional prayer -- composed by a contemporary of the good friar -- far better than the bouncy rhyming versions that seem more popular in this century:
Tony, Tony,This morning, when I sat down to work on the book, I went to pull out the current version of the outline for the book, which I've scribbled notes all over and which I did NOT have a copy of. (Yes, I know. There are two kinds of users, those who've lost data, and those who will. Back-up.) No, I didn't re-file it. No, I didn't accidently clip it to any of the research notes I'd been working on on Friday. (Can you hear me getting more frantic?) After I found myself searching the recycling bin, I got a grip and decided that it would either resurface or not, but that I could better spend this time writing rather than rummaging. If it didn't resurface, the jottings were all in my brain, I shouldn't worry. (Right.)
and must be found!
I settled down to write, and did have a productive day. But as I headed out to a doctor's appointment late this afternoon, abandoning the debris of the day on my desk, I thought of my mother, who would have said, "pray to St. Anthony." (She, too, did not favor the rhymes.) Part of me thought it silly to pray to find the outline, by no measure -- even in my own life -- is it a tragedy or rises to the level of necessitating divine intervention. Still, when last I met with Patient Spiritual Director, we had a conversation about praying for one's own needs, as well as the needs of others. Any grace that might come my way as a result, was not depriving anyone else. Perhaps I could practice what was preached. So I briefly turned my thoughts to St. Anthony and asked that he might intercede with the Lord God in retrieving the outline from whatever dimension it might have fallen into, and headed out the door to see my doctor.
An hour later, I'm back in my study, shifting gears from writing to course prep. As I pick up the folder with my notes for the current chapter, what do I find neatly placed underneath it? The outline. I swear I picked that folder up multiple times. All I can think is that it must have been stuck to the bottom of the folder...but I offered a brief thanks to Anthony nonetheless!
And today is Tuesday - which is the traditional day to petition St. Anthony in Padua (not that I knew that before I sat down to write this....).
Why is St. Anthony the patron of lost items? It would seem a disgruntled novice left the monastery, taking with him St. Anthony's psalter. Not only was the book itself valuable, but it contained St. Anthony's handwritten notes for his conferences and sermons (sound familiar). After fervent prayer for the psalter's return, the contrite novice brought it back.
And while I'm at it -- why Tuesday? It's the day they brought his body back to Padua, where he had wanted to be.
Responsary of St. Anthony
If, then, thou seekest miracles,
Death, error, all calamities,
The leprosy and demons flee,
The sick, by him made whole, arise.
Ant: The sea withdraws and fetters break,
And withered limbs he doth restore,
While treasures lost are found again,
When young or old his help implore.
All dangers vanish from our path,
Our direst needs do quickly flee:
Let those who know repeat the theme:
Let Paduans praise St. Anthony. (repeat antiphon)
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. (repeat antiphon)
V. Pray for us, O blessed Anthony,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.