Novena to Saint Anthony of Padua

To make a Novena

1. The custom is to make a devotion on nine consecutive Tuesdays. It is certainly a good practice to go to Con-fession and Holy Communion on these days.

2. If impossible to visit a Church, try to recite the following prayers before a picture or image of Saint Anthony in the hope that on the last Tuesday, at least, you may be able to receive Holy Communion.

Note — In the Apostolic letter “Antoniana Solemnia”, written on the occasion of the seven hundredth anniversary of the death of Saint Anthony, the late Supreme Pontiff, Pope Pius XI, outlined the life and principal virtues of Saint Anthony, the Wonder Saint of Padua. The words of the Holy Father carry a conviction that mere human documents do not possess. We, therefore, quote from the letter of the Pontiff to give the full weight of authority to the character of the Saint in honor of whom this novena is written.

First Day – Vocation

Pope Pius XI, the late Pontiff, says in “Antoniana Solemnia”: “Born of noble parents, endowed with a brilliant intellect and an abundance of earthly goods, Saint Anthony could look forward to a career rich in pleasures and preferments. in the first bloom of youth, he abandoned all right of inheritance, prospect of future worldly greatness, the allurements of ambition, with a joyful and generous heart, ridding himself, as it were of an unpleasant burden. First, he humbly asked to be received among the Canons Regular of Saint Augustine; then desirous of still greater perfection with great zeal, he entered the newly founded Seraphic (Franciscan) Order.”

The example of Saint Anthony in forsaking his home and friends to become a priest was no ordinary procedure in those days. He was of a good family and he might well have chosen other than the newly established Franciscan Community whose members were wedded to the principle of poverty in its most detailed form. But Saint Anthony followed the gospel precept of Christ addressed to the rich young man, “If you would have treasure in Heaven, go sell what you have and give it to the poor and then come, follow Me.”

Reflection

Vocations are the crying need of the world today. The Churches that are in ruins, the parishes neglected: they all raise their silent voices in a plea for more boys to be priests. Young girls who would dedicate their lives to God are also needed in great number. The Parish without a convent of sisters can never be considered a complete parish. Consecrated women are needed to give their lives back to God. There are signs that vocations are increasing for the various sister-hoods in these Islands. However, there „is still much work to be done. It is estimated that there are but five hundred Filipina Madres; whereas America, so often wrongly called Protestant, has more than one hundred and seventeen thousand Catholic American Sisters. Thus there ought to be fifty thousand Filipina women in the convent.

Have you a vocation? Have you ever thought of dedicating your life to God? Say to Saint Anthony this

Prayer

Glorious Saint Anthony, who from your earliest years were consecrated to the service of God, and practiced the greatest austerities, who burning with zeal for justice, caused yourself to be conveyed to the coast of Africa that you might preach the Gospel to the Saracens, obtain for us the grace to apply ourselves continually to the service of God, to our personal mortification and the salvation of our brethren, that we may thus become true disciples and imitators of Jesus Christ.

Saint Anthony, patron of so many homes and municipalities of this land, obtain for us a share in those virtues that marked thy life. By thy powerful intercession, may we be pure, lovers of poverty, zealous imitators of Christ Crucified. Intercede with the Trinity for the favor which we ask in this novena (mention request) if it be to the greater honor and glory of God and the good of our own souls. Amen.

Here recite three Ave Marias for the favor which you request in this novena.

Second Day – Preaching

Preaching at its best is a form of teaching. Christ is the model of every preacher. Pope Pius XI says of Saint Anthony:

“In preaching he sought not the popular applause, nor the favor of the rich and distinguished, nor yet the vain and pretty flattery of men. He preached not for temporal gain but for the Divine Truth which he acquired in his daily study of the Sacred Scriptures and which he zealously imparted to the people.”

Saint Anthony shone as a teacher supreme. He had been a good student, had studied his profession as a teacher of the most important branch of all learning, knowledge of God and Souls.

The most important,—and most widely read book, is the New Testament. Saint Anthony knew this work thoroughly and could have reproduced it from memory had it ever been lost. He made the Scriptures his constant companion, read and meditated upon them. He thereby spoke the same words, gave expression to the same thoughts that Christ has left us as our heritage.

Just as teaching is a noble profession, just as the teacher moulds the mind of the young, in their quest for knowledge, so is most important for the teacher to know the Bible, the Book of Books, the words and deeds of Christ, the Son of God. The Church has given special indulgences to her children who daily read the Old and New Testaments, the treasury of the Word of God. Saint Anthony availed himself of the opportunity to make part of himself the very expression and ideas of Christ our Saviour.

Reflection

Do you read the Scriptures, especially the four gospels, the record of Christ?s life, His very words? What do you say to those who lie, saying that the Catholic Church is an enemy of the Scripture? Are you familiar with the facts of the Bible and do you memorize, from time to time, various texts of the Scriptures so as to make yourself more familiar with this divinely inspired book? Of course, you ought to read only the Catholic Bible, the official version, with an “imprimatur.”

If you are a teacher, or preparing to be one, you ought to know this work that far surpasses all other books. If you have in your charge young people, do you open to them the beauties of this Book of Books? If you aspire to be a writer, an orator, a public man or woman, do you realize that it is greatly advantageous to be acquainted with the words and expressions and incidents of the Bible? Say

Prayer before Study by Saint Anthony

O Light of the world, Infinite God, Father of Eternity, Giver of wisdom and knowledge, and ineffable Dispenser of every spiritual grace, Who knowest all things before they are made, Who makest the darkness and the light, stretch forth Thy hand and place Thy spirit, O Lord, in that I may understand and retain what I learn and meditate on. Do Thou lovingly, mercifully, and gently inspire me with Thy grace. Do Thou teach, guide, and strengthen the thoughts of my mind and let Thy discipline instruct me to the end, and the counsel of the Most High help me, through Thy infinite wisdom and mercy. Amen.

Here recite three Ave Marias for the favor which you request in this novena.

Third Day – Chastity

The Holy Father in his letter “Antoniana Solemnia” has said: “Among the gifts of sanctity which adorned his soul, perfect chastity shines the brightest. Saint Anthony acquired this virtue, not without temptations and the sting of the flesh, which as we all know arise from a nature fallen through original sin. By keeping in check and overcoming the passions of lust, he preserved immaculate the snow-white flower of chastity. It was permitted to him to enjoy as a just reward for overcoming the allurements of the senses, the presence of Him „Who feeds among the lilies? and to delight in His sweet embrace. It is related that when one day, our Saint was in his cell, either praying or reading the Scriptures, suddenly the Infant Jesus, surrounded with a most brilliant light, descended from His heavenly throne and smiling gently, not only allowed Himself to be seen by Anthony but also embraced him with His little arms, giving and receiving caresses. Wherefore today, images of the Paduan aptly and significantly propose for popular devotion, this holy Franciscan youth holding a spotless lily, the symbol of his innocence — and affectionately embracing the Divine Christ.”

Reflection

Purity is without doubt, the crown of virtues. In the Philippines, it is cherished with Catholic instinct. Young men and young women about to marry demand and expect this adornment in their future wives or husbands. Married men and women who are model wives and husbands promise and remain faithful to each other.

It is the boast of the Philippines that its young women are pure flowers. It is recognized, however, that in these days, it is more difficult to keep unsullied this lily. Cinemas, bad dances, temptations of various kinds all make it more difficult to keep unsullied this adornment.

What of yourself? Do you try to take the necessary precautions to avoid sin against the virtue of purity? Are you unwilling to engage in conversations that are indecent? Do you shun occasions of sin, immodest dress that is a terrific source of temptation to others? Do you avoid, as you would a plague, bad cinemas? Do you refuse liberties so far as suggestive dances are concerned? Do you try to drive away impure thoughts, knowing that all are troubled with these imaginations and it is only when we wilfully consent that sin is committed? When you are troubled, say a prayer to the Blessed Virgin, the Immaculate Mother of Christ. Take confidence that even saints have been troubled with tempta-tions against purity and say this

Prayer to the Infant Jesus in the Arms of Saint Anthony

O sweet Jesus, Thou best and only hope of afflicted souls, I prostrate at Thy Feet, and beseech Thee, through the immeasurable love and grace with which Thou didst visit Thy blessed servant, Saint Anthony, when Thou didst comfort and embrace him, to come to me at his intercession and let me taste how sweet Thy presence is in the souls that trust in Thee. Amen.

Here recite three Ave Marias for the favor which you request in this novena.

Fourth Day – Humility

Humility often cloaks a noble character. Lowliness of self-esteem is frequently the mark of a great soul. Our Holy Father says of Saint Anthony:

“He first practised humility which is the foundation of all virtues. Although he was the object of admiration to all, he did not strive after higher offices and dignities, but was content with the humbler walks of life and solitude. But his desire for humility did not arise from laziness of body or weakness of intellect. On many occasions, Saint Anthony acted bravely and courageously whenever circumstances demanded it. It is evident that Christian humility does not destroy the vigor and nobility of the soul but rather vastly strengthens it.”

Saint Anthony has been called an outstanding preacher and intellectual giant. He was not only a wonder worker, he was a man of culture, with gifts that mark him as an extraordinary character, in the natural sense of the word.

The story is told that after his ordination to the priesthood, Saint Anthony sought out the more humble tasks that fell to the lot of the members of his community. He spent his days doing the menial work of washing dishes and helping in the kitchen. Here was the son of a wealthy family doing the labor that is so often despised. When about his work Saint Anthony was one day called upon to deliver an important sermon. He had been given little time to prepare, and yet, he launched into an eloquent and brilliant address that immediately stamped him as an orator of unusual ability. He had remained hidden but when ordered to mount the pulpit, his delivery was not only a treat to the eyes and ear, it appealed to the heart of the large throng that listened to him. From that day, his reputation as a preacher par excellence was established.

Reflection

There are countless ways of practicing humility. So many people like to boast of their ability and family and talents. While it is good to use the gift of God given to us, it is often an evidence of pride and too great self-esteem to make others feel their inferiority, to despise others when we ourselves ought to thank God for what He has given to us, “For what have we that we have not received,” said Saint Paul. And Christ has left us the warning: “He that shall exalt himself shall be humbled.” In your relations with others, do you despise them? Do you try to keep your pride in check? Do you try to refrain your boasting?

Prayer

Glorious Saint Anthony, who hid your rare talents with the greatest care and patiently suffered the contempt of men, obtain for us grace to despise the esteem of men and the honors of the world, and always increase in merit before God. Amen.

Here recite three Ave Marias for the favor which you request in this novena.

Fifth Day – Prayer

“More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of” is not merely the pious aspiration of a poet; it is a real daily fact. And our Divine Lord could well tell His disciples and the world at large, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you.” Prayer is the conversation of the soul with its Maker. The prayer of a saint is the sweetest music before God. It is as incense rising to the throne of God.

“Saint Anthony,” Pope Pius XI says, “despised riches, separated himself from all the conveniences of life, denying himself that he might the more efficaciously be free to serve God. Doubting his own strength, he so persevered day and night in prayer that it really can be said that the whole course of his life was a perpetual prayer. He knew well that we always need divine aid, “Not that we are sufficient to think anything of ourselves as of ourselves, but our sufficiency comes from God.” (II Cor. III, 5). For just as the earth if it should be deprived of the light and heat of the sun would remain dark and unproductive, so, too, the soul of man unless, through the intercession of prayer, enlightened and nourished by grace from on high, could not resist the baser emotions of nature nor increase in faith and charity, nor finally attain the sanctity which leads to life everlasting.” For according to the divine counsel, “We ought always to pray and not to faint.”

On one occasion, it is said, a young man told Saint Anthony that he had kicked his mother. Saint Anthony with a rightful appreciation of the horror of such an act remarked: “The foot that kicks one?s own mother deserves to be cut off.” Immediately the young man returned home, and with an axe, cut off his foot. Saint Anthony, hearing of the incident, went to the home of the young man and, reciting a prayer, restored the amputated member.

On another occasion, it is said, some enemies who wished to kill the saint prepared some food for him which was poisoned. The saint, knowing of the fact, made a sign of the cross ever the poisoned food and then proceeded to eat it with relish.

Reflection

It is recognized that all are not expected to pray as the Carmelites do. All are not expected to be in the chapel at every opportunity. All are not supposed to be praying when other duties demand their attention. There is a time for work and a time for prayer in the sense that duties must be performed and when free, we may pray. But as Saint Anthony?s life was a perpetual prayer, so too may it be with others. Our labors, class work. professional work may all be prayers if they be dedicated to God, if the mind and heart be frequently raised to God in the course of the work or task in hand.

Do you raise your heart to God in the morning upon rising? Do you offer to God your whole day, its thoughts and words and actions? This may be done even while dressing, but, it were better done on your knees. Do you from time to time think of God and try to realize that He ever watches you, do you recite special prayers? Say to Saint Anthony:

Prayer

O marvelous Saint, who didst always worthily receive Jesus in His Sacrament, I bless, praise and venerate thee, thanking God Who has sanctified thee by His graces and His Most Holy Sacrament. I implore Him to pardon me for having so often profaned by sin my tongue, sanctified and consecrated so many times by contact with the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in my communions. O great Saint Anthony, obtain for me the grace to preserve my tongue pure and spotless from sin, that I may henceforth merit to receive Jesus Christ worthily in the Sacrament of His love. Amen.

Here recite three Ave Marias for the favor which you request in this novena.

Sixth Day – Blessed Sacrament

Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament is the center of Catholic worship. Take the Mass away from the Catholic Church and religion will crumble, will disappear. Take the Blessed Sacrament out of our lives and all is empty.

Christ left us a great treasure when He condescended to remain forever as our guest in countless Churches and tabernacles. Veiled as He is, hidden as He is behind the tabernacle door, He is our best Friend, our changeless Friend Who understands our every mood, our fickleness and our constant wavering. He is our Consoler in times of trial and trouble. He is the Food of Angels and the heavenly Manna of our souls. He is the Strength of those who try to lead good holy lives.

Great issues have been decided before the Blessed Sacrament as was illustrated in the first world war when General Foch, Commander-in-Chief of all the allied troops, spent hours before the Tabernacle during the most trying periods of that international carnage.

The power of the prayer of Saint Anthony is illustrated in the story told in which some men of those times joked to the Saint that dumb animals would not be convinced by his prayer. It was proposed to bring a hungry horse to a certain spot and then Saint Anthony was to bring the Blessed Sacrament; the question was: “Would the dumb beast recognize the presence of God in the Blessed Sacrament?”

The owner starved the animal for days, giving him nothing to eat. On the day appointed, all parties arrived at the proposed spot, with the starving horse and two big baskets of food. Saint Anthony was called and he brought the Blessed Sacrament. As the Saint came within sight, the food was presented to the horse. All were astonished when the beast dropped on his knees and in his own way gave glory to God hidden under the appearance of a host.

Reflection

When you have the opportunity, do you visit the Blessed Sacrament, if only for a brief moment? Do you try to assist at Mass and receive Holy Communion as often as possible, knowing that thereby you please God, bring graces down upon your own soul and prepare a rich reward for yourself in heaven? Do you encourage your companions to visit the Blessed Sacrament? Do you do your best to make the Church or Chapel where you live a worthy home for the King of Kings? Do you offer your services to clean and prepare the altar where Christ lives? Do you make a sacrifice to adorn the dwelling place of Christ, placing flowers in the home of your Crucified Lord and Master? Do you do your best to be reverent before the Blessed Sacrament, genuflecting correctly on the right knee? Say to Saint Anthony this

Prayer

O marvelous Saint, whose blessed tongue did always bless the Lord, and cause others to bless Him when they saw the fishes themselves obey thee and raise their heads from the water to listen to thy word, when they saw a stupid beast prostrate itself to adore Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament, I bless, praise and venerate thee, I thank God for having worked such prodigies to confirm my faith. Through thy sanctity and thy teaching I implore thee to obtain the grace to hear with fruit, the word of God, and to be devout to the Holy Sacrament of the altar. Amen.

Here recite three Ave Marias for the favor which you request in this novena.

Seventh Day – Zeal

“If Saint Anthony shone with a galaxy of the highest virtues,” said Pope Pius XI, “none were greater than that of his zeal for souls. This was founded upon his own spiritual life, which was ever the source of his success. In the first years of his religious life, Saint Anthony requested the privilege of preaching the gospel in Africa. Returning on account of poor health, he reached Italy which was traversed and enlightened by the new apostle and herald of Divine love and truth. Among the enemies of the Church at that time he contended so actively and fruitfully that he justly won the title

“Hammer of the Heretics”. Saint Anthony displayed a most fatherly interest in all the unenlightened seeking the light of the Gospel; the straying souls searching for the right road, the prodigal children desiring the pardon and embrace of their heavenly Father.”

When Saint Anthony decided to leave his native land to go to Africa, he was impelled by the desire to be a martyr, to spill his blood for the Faith. Only a few years previous to his arrival in the dark continent, priests had given their lives for the Faith. Besides this desire for martyrdom, Saint Anthony had suffered the agony of completely severing his relations with his own parents and brothers and sisters. Only one who has made this holocaust can know what it costs to give up all for Christ. Saint Anthony did it cheerfully, did it bravely, and the hardest trial was that he could not remain in his chosen field but was forced to return to conditions much like his own native Portugal. He had made the offering of his life but evidently God had greater work ahead for him.

Reflection

What of your zeal for the salvation of others? Have you companions who do not understand their faith or who do not practice it? Have you any non-Catholic friends who may wish to be Catholics but who do not know how to go about it? Have you any companions who were baptized as protestants and who receive Holy Communion without first being baptized again as Catholics?

With public schools, it is almost impossible to instruct all who ought to know their faith. Thousands upon thousands are thirsting for knowledge of the truth. Do you offer your services to teach Catechism? Do you try to make your religion interesting and attractive to others? Do you know your religion so that you can answer the more common objections and attacks that may be raised against it? Say to Saint Anthony this

Prayer

Glorious Saint Anthony, who by your sanctity and your eloquence triumphed over the hardest heart, obtain for us the grace faithfully to follow the Divine call that we may obtain the blessedness promised to those who faithfully keep the Divine Word. Amen.

Here recite three Ave Marias for the favor which you request in this novena.

Eighth Day – Wonder Worker

Pope Pius XI has said of Saint Anthony: “Nor did this apostolic preacher lack those wonderful signs and omens by which God, in the more severe storms, sustains His Church and places the divine seal of approbation upon the doctrine and works of His messengers. By them, the saint was often permitted not only to convince heretics and to overthrow their objections but also to pacify and placate the hatred and rivalries among the citizens.” Another Pope said of Saint Anthony: “In order to manifest His power, and His mercy, and to furnish us with a help to salvation, God Himself often glorifies even on earth many of those children whom He crowns in heaven. To this end, He multiplies wonders and miracles at their tombs. By this means, many who have once lost the Faith, abandon the ways of perdition and walk again in the ways of salvation, and are illumined by the Light of Truth, and hasten to Christ Who is the Way and the Truth and the Life.”

Saint Anthony performed so many wonders that his very title is that of the Wonder Worker. The special tradition of his being the restorer of lost articles dates back to the time when he was a Franciscan Friar. One of the young men aspiring to the priesthood decided to leave the seminary; he did this, and in going out stole a very precious book of Saint Anthony. The story continues that when the youth was about to cross a certain bridge, at the same time, Saint Anthony was praying for the recovery of his valuable book. The young man was suddenly struck with his guilt and decided to return immediately the stolen article. He returned the volume to Saint Anthony who, saint that he was, immediately pardoned the young man.

Reflection

Miracles are easy for the Catholic to explain. Granting that there is a God, He has full powers over the world. He can simply so regulate the world that the ordinary course of events may he suspended or be altered for a time without causing serious difficulties.

Do you ask Saint Anthony to assist you in times of need? Do you call upon his intercession and protection when circumstances arise that demand special help? Do you prove yourself a real devotee of the Saint of Padua by praying to him, especially imploring his power as a wonder worker? It is by asking favors that you show confidence in his power, thereby honoring him and bringing graces upon your own soul. Say to Saint Anthony this

Prayer

O glorious Saint Anthony, since God has given thee the power of miracles, a power thou hast exercised for centuries, and since He has given thee in particular the power of finding that which has been lost, I come to thee with the confidence of a child as to the best of fathers. By thy intercession obtain for me above all to find the grace of God, if I have had the misfortune to lose it. May I find also my former fervor in the service of God and in the practice of virtue; and as a pledge of these graces so important for my eternal salvation, may I find also the things I have lost. Thus thou shalt make me experience the presence of thy goodness and thou wilt increase my confidence and my love for thee. Amen.

Here recite three Ave Marias for the favor which you request in this novena.

Ninth Day – Model For All Walks Of Life

Pope Pius XI has said: “Let all God-fearing people contemplate this light of sanctity in which the Catholic Church glories. Let them form their lives after his deeds and virtues. Let Young people learn, especially those taking part in Catholic Action — to forego the allurements of the age and to raise a chaste and devout mind to the things good and noble.”

Saint Anthony is a model for persons of all walks of life. As a student, he worked industriously to prepare himself for his career; as a young man, he kept unsullied his purity; as a public man, he showed forth humility and charity and kindness. And when he realized that he was to leave this earth for a better home, he gladly faced Eternity, knowing that God was waiting to receive him and that God would reward him for his heroic life. As death approached, he, as every Catholic ought to do, received the last sacraments, cleansed his soul again by confession, strengthened himself by receiving Extreme unction and with the Holy Viaticum his last food, his soul silently slipped away from its mortal frame and passed on to the citadel of Heaven, throne of God, to receive the reward for his tireless labors for Christ and for the souls.

Reflection

The death of Saint Anthony ought to be the model for all of us. As he lived, so he died. And the same is generally the story with all of us. What of your life? Are you prepared to die even now? Do you think of the uncertainty of life, of the fact that death may come as a thief in the night, without any warning? Do sudden death, serious accident, catastrophe, make you think of the moment when you, too, must give an account of your stewardship?—Not that we should fear death; for the person with a good conscience is not afraid to face death, even though it may be naturally hard for the soul to tear away from the body and enter another life, uncertain and perhaps terrifying. But, do you try to keep prepared? Do you try to help others in their most important moments just before death claims its victim? Do you call the priest to give the last sacraments? Say to Saint Anthony the following prayer for a happy death.

Prayer

Great Saint Anthony of Padua, sweet hope of all who implore thee, I prostrate myself humbly at thy feet to obtain by thy powerful intercession the greatest of all blessings, the grace of dying well. Do not allow, I entreat thee, by the pierced Heart of Jesus, that I be suddenly seized by death in the deplorable state of mortal sin; by thy intercession obtain for me that at the last moment I may experience the most profound sorrow for the sins of my whole life, that I may be penetrated with love for Jesus, and full of confidence in the power of His Blood which was shed for me; that the last movements of my hands may be to carry the crucifix to my lips and my last words the holy names of Jesus and Mary. In short, that expiring in the embraces of my sweet Redeemer. I may have the happiness to see Him, to love Him and to possess Him with thee for all eternity. Obtain this grace also for my parents, my friends, my benefactors and all who are dear to me in our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom be honor and glory with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen.

Here recite three Ave Marias for the favor which you request in this novena.


NIHIL OBSTAT:
P. Georgius Puder. S.V.D,.Censor
Manilae, die 8 Aprilis 1939
IMPRIMATUR:
Cesar Maria Guerrero Eppus. Auxiliaris
Manilae. die 12 Aprilis 1939