Memorial of Saint Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church

Imagine what a different place the world would be if every Catholic, for one day, strove with all their might to live their faith to the fullest. Just one day.

We are the salt of the earth; we are charged with preserving the world against corruption (2 Peter 1:3-7) just as salt preserves food from spoil. We are also what gives the world—bland in sin—its flavor. Ever met someone who was alive in Christ and was dull, or who failed to bring color into the world around them? Look at our saints; has history ever produced such a savory bunch? If we aren’t working to help the world live in Christ, if we aren’t living our faith in such a way that the world notices there is a difference, then what good is it to be Christian in the first place?

You are the light of the world because Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12); we are the Body of Christ. We watch the news each night and think the world is a dark place; why is it so? Because we so often fail to shine. Mother Theresa was one Christian—one—and illuminated a whole nation. John Paul II shone in the midst of Communist Europe, exposing the darkness to light, and the walls came down; look at the effect our saint today, St. Anthony of Padua, had on the world, just by his powerful preaching. The Church is the City of God (Revelation 21:9-27) to which all the world looks for light; we are the embers drifting from that open flame whenever the Spirit stirs it. Wherever we touch down, we must burn brightly.

When we meet critics of the Faith, or meet those who have left the Faith, what is the chief criticism, or reason? Oftentimes an encounter with a bad example of the faith, someone who burned them not by someone shining too brightly, but not brightly enough, or not at all. On the other hand those who join the Church often do so not because they are convinced intellectually but because of the example of others: they see the Light and are drawn to it. This is because when we live out our Faith, we are living as the Body of Christ, and the world sees Him alive and working in their midst, Jesus who is “the light and life of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:4-5) God is in the world; He is here among us, never ceasing to labor, and just as He invites us into life with Him, just as He promises to fulfill our every need, He calls us to work with Him to redeem that world He loves so much.

June 13th, 2017