Wednesday, June 15, 2011
About the "loss" of the relic...
This blog was launched on June 13, the feast of our patron, St. Anthony. That same day, an event drew widespread attention to the saint. It turns out a 780-year old relic of St. Anthony was stolen from a church bearing his name in Southern California. According to reports, “the relic is housed in a 16-inch reliquary case with angel-shaped handles made of gold and silver on either side.” The parish priest called the relic invaluable. At the same time, wire service reports predictably enough evoked the supposed irony: A relic of a saint known for helping find that which is lost is now lost itself. It is indeed something painful for the church, the parishioners and really all of us who love the saint. But let's be clear: St. Anthony is not "lost." And the disappearance of the relic--almost certainly temporary--may well be just another part of the saint's mysterious work. Whoever took the object needs prayer and the help of this saint of the lost. And it sets up a situation for another one of his little miracles--and for recognizing further who this saint is and what special corner of God's Kingdom he inhabits. One of our esteemed fellow bloggers, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, ran a piece on the disappearance, and immediately started collecting the miracle reports. One person reported that St. Anthony Church in Long Beach is his "home church," where he became a Catholic in 1986. He adds that just the other day, his daughter dropped her Miraculous Medal at Disneyland, only to have it "reappear" at her feet at a restaurant a few hours later--this, after his wife had been praying continuously to St. Anthony. Another mentions that it was at St. Anthony Parish in Calgary, Canada where "I found my Catholic faith after it was lost for over a decade." It's not just a theft then. Something else is afoot. Because this saint--like all of God's saints--has a knack for facilitating great good out of distress. Pray, then, if you would, for the return of the relic--and that whatever deep loss lies behind the theft, might lead to some rediscovery that is deeper still.