Life of St.Antony
St. Antony was a simple and humble friar who preached the good news lovingly and with fearless courage. The youth whom his fellow friars thought was uneducated became one of the great preachers and theologians of his day. He was a man of great penance and apostolic zeal. But he was primarily a saint of the people. His effectiveness in calling people back to the faith through his preaching was just as important as his peace making and calls for justice.
St. Antony is typically portrayed holding the child Jesus—or a lily—or a book—or all three—in his arms. The lily is meant to remind us of St. Antony’s purity and our own need to pray for the grace of purity in times of temptation.
There are many versions of the legend of St. Antony cradling the Christ child. In most, St. Antony had travelled to a local Private Monastery to spend time in prayer. One night, while deep in prayer, Jesus appeared to him as a child. The room filled with light and laughter as St. Antony held the Christ child in his arms. As the story is told, the owner of the Monastery, upon seeing the light, came to investigate only to behold St. Antony and the Christ child. When the vision ended, St. Antony realized the owner was kneeling at the door and begged him not to share the story until after Antony’s death.
One of the reasons for being a popular saint is likely that his life was what every Christian’s life is meant to be — a steady courage to face the ups and downs of life, the call to love and forgive, to be concerned for the needs of others, to deal with crisis, both great and small, and to have our feet solidly on the ground of total trusting love and dependence upon God. His intercessory powers before our God are awesome.