Saturday, February 9, 2013

750 Year Anniversary Of The Feast Of St. Anthony's Tongue

The 15th. of February, 2013, will be the ‘Feast of St. Anthony’s Tongue’. This expression may sound a bit strange to modern ears, but it recalls a truly extraordinary event which took place in 1263 – thirty-two years after the Saint’s death.

St. Anthony’s remains were transferred from the Church of Sancta Maria Mater Domini, where he had originally been interred, to the adjacent and newly constructed Basilica of St. Anthony. Present at this ceremony was St. Bonaventure in his capacity as the Minister General of the Friars Minor. St. Anthony’s coffin was opened, and it was found to contain only bones and ashes with one exception: the Saint’s vocal apparatus was found to be intact, and in particular his tongue was still red and soft. At the sight of this miracle, St. Bonaventure exclaimed in awe “Oh blessed tongue, that ever praised the Lord, and led others to praise Him! Now it is clear how great are your merits before God!”

As a preacher and writer, Anthony had continuously praised the Lord with his tongue or with his pen. The first biography of St. Anthony written soon after his death, refers to the Saint’s tongue as “the writing reed of the Holy Spirit,” because it was with his tongue that he converted so many people through the operation of the Holy Spirit: “His powerful words and salutary doctrine so rooted themselves in the hearts of his listeners that large crowds of believers adhered faithfully to the Lord.”

This year marks exactly 750 years that have elapsed since that first recognition. Over the centuries, this precious relic has suffered some of the ravages of time, but it is still on display in the Chapel of Relics in the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua, Italy.

Source: St. Anthony's Messenger

Click here if you would like prayers in honor of St. Anthony's blessed tongue on this momentous Feast day~