Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Todays saint

Saint Antonius of Florence

He was known as the "Father of the poor" . By all accounts He was a humble and holy man . A man who did not  seeks honors in this world but honor yet still  found him . He was appointed Archbishop of Florence in 1446 not because He sought it out and desired the title or prestige but because He was forced into the position by then Pope  Eugene IV.

   "It is also reported that Antoninus resisted so much being appointed that the pope had to threaten him with excommunication if he would not accept the responsibility and the honor which was so contrary to his humility. "

And here is where we can learn much from this great saint . Even though He was raised to such a prominent and important position , He did not allow that act or the new title/position  destroy him . He did not see this new title as a oppurtunity to relax and enjoy the fruits of his labours . Though He did not wish for the postion in humble obediance He accepted and not one to do just enough to get by , He excelled at this unwanted post . Using it to help build the church to a better standing  in holiness and devotion to our Lord.

He was loved like a modern day celebrity , always hearing his praises wherever he may go . Imagine it ,  the Pope himself wishes for your help in matters .It would be all to easy to start believing your own press. Especially for him because He truly was a living saint . They were not lying , but they only were stating the truth .

 He was on watch for his soul and always aware of the great battle that we are in .His eyes ,like the servant of Elisha ,was opened to see the great war for the souls of men , for our very own soul  . Knowing his self and how easy we are to fall , He battled and maintained the ground He was standing upon .The solid ground of Christ , a foundation that will not put its builder to shame .  Always remaining humble and mirroring his master and " washing the feet of others " becoming a servant to all .

St. Antoninus wrote that the task of a bishop is threefold: " he must lead a holy life; he must exercise the authority which he is entrusted with; he must be useful to the Church". He did this by being a servant always . A servant to the Church and representing her  before the world . A servant to his flock , especially the poor , many times he would sell his very own furniture or clothing and do without so that others may have the ability to stay warm , to eat etc . And a servant to his soul , He was always to be found in prayer and  doing all with the strength and talents that his Lord have given him to run the race before him .

On the vigil of the feast of the Ascension, 1459, St Antoninus died among his Dominican brothers who had come to pray the office for these last days around his death bed.

The saint's last words were: "Servire Deo regnare est", "to serve God is to reign."  

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