May Day 6
As we continue our 31 day month of May search for 31 ‘plague protectors’ we nominate Saint Anthony the Great (also called Anthony of the Desert) as the official patron against COVID 19. Turns out he’s a 2fer (two for the price of one) Saint. The Life of Anthony, as told to us by another great saint, Athanasius, fits the bill of total coverage.
At a young age this wealthy, 3rd century Saint heard the call to “sell what you have, give it to the poor, and come follow Me”.
Seeing the world literally ‘going to hell in a handbasket’, Anthony sought to isolate himself from it and headed for the desert to live a life of seclusion.
Rather then finding himself alone, he discovered his life was full of the presence of God and soon enough others desired to emulate him under his guidance. It was thus that he became the ‘Father of Monasticism’.
Loosely organized at first, Anthony plotted out individual dwellings for his followers that were ‘socially distanced’ from each other.
As the word of Anthony’s virtue and holiness spread people began to seek him out for his blessing and prayers and then the healings began and continue today, centuries after his death.
In the 11th century a scourge of erysipelas swept through France killing much of the population. Saint Anthony’s intercession was implored with public prayers and processions of his relics. The spread of the infection ceased almost immediately and many who were victims of the scourge were miraculously healed. It was then that the faithful determined Anthony’s ‘specialty’ to be patron against infectious diseases.
To this day pilgrims continue to flock to the Church of Saint Julian in Arles, France, where Anthony’s relics are preserved in a golden glass casket.
It’s probably a stretch to associate Saint Anthony the Great with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the infectious disease expert on President Trump’s coronavirus task force, (only because, being Italian, Fauci’s namesake is more likely Anthony of Padua) but we never tire of repeating – “There are no coincidences; all is Providence!”.
So today we implore Saint Anthony of the Desert to intercede to God on our behalf to halt the spread of COVID 19.
And don’t forget to say your rosary and the two new Marian prayers Pope Francis has requested to end the pandemic. Popes have called upon the faithful in the past to pray the rosary to end catastrophes – with miraculous results!
The Life of Saint Anthony by Saint Athanasius http://www.lectio-divina.org/images/patristics/Life%20of%20St%20Anthony%20by%20St%20Athanasius%201.pdf
How to Pray the Rosary https://www.rosarycenter.org/homepage-2/rosary/how-to-pray-the-rosary/
Pope Francis’ Prayers to Mary http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/letters/2020/documents/papa-francesco_20200425_lettera-mesedimaggio.html