Saint Anthony of Padua was born in Lisbon in 1195. He entered into the Canons Regular of Saint Augustine at a very young age and became a priest. However, one day he heard the tale of a martyr in Morocco from some Friars Minor, sent by Saint Francis of Assisi to announce the Gospel to the sultans.
Fascinated by the spirit of the new order founded by Saint Francis, Fernando left his own order and joined the Friars Minor, taking the name of Anthony. Thanks to his great eloquence, his superiors sent him to Italy to preach. He ended up in the city of Padua, where he preached the Lenten sermons that upset the entire town.
It is here where he died in 1227. After his death the miracles obtained through his intersession were so numerous that he was canonized the following year.
Often Satan tormented Saint Anthony with diabolic illusions when he retired in prayer to his small hermitage of Brive. Often times fellow petitioners, that wanted to imitate his love for the poor and lonely, would join him. When the supply of food ended Saint Anthony would send them to look for help in the nearby village. One night on the way back from the village, some of his friends saw a band of pimps that were destroying a camp of one of their benefactors. They went right away to warn the Saint.
Saint Anthony replied to them: “Do not be afraid. It is only a decoy from the demon that wants to distract you from prayer.” The next day, in fact, the camp of the benefactor was found completely intact just as Saint Anthony assured them.
A case of diabolical obsession, that yielded to the power of St Anthony of Padua, was recorded in Portugal during the reign of King Denis.
Under the guise of a heavenly visitant, the devil frequently appeared to a woman of Lisbon and urged her to throw herself into the river Tagus in order to obtain the remission of her sins and eternal happiness.
The tormented woman at length decided to drown herself. Passing a Franciscan chapel on her way to the river, she entered, and kneeling before the altar of St. Anthony, implored the Saint to help her save her soul. Overcome by fatigue, she fell asleep.
During her slumber St Anthony appeared to her, revealed the deceit of the “father of lies” and released her from the obsession. On awaking, the woman found a letter which the Saint had given her during the vision. It contained the prayer now known as the “Brief of St Anthony.” The original of Saint Anthonys Brief was preserved with the crown jewels by the King of Portugal. Pope Sixtus V caused the efficacious lines to be inscribed on an obelisk, which he had erected in the quadrangle in front of Saint Peter’s.
SAINT ANTHONY’S BRIEF
Behold the Cross of the Lord!
Fly, ye powers of darkness!
The Lion of the tribe of Juda,
the root of David, has conquered.
It is a devout practice to wear this blessing known as Saint Anthonys Brief on one’s person, or to put it up in the home, and often repeat it.
Passion of Christ comfort me! Comfort me for the day is long and weary, comfort me as I fight my up the path of life safe to the haven of Thy Sacred Heart. Comfort me in pain and sorrow and tribulation, comfort me when temptation rages around me and every hope seems lost. And when that last dread hour has sounded and my eyes are closing on this world of sin, Passion of Christ! comfort me then, and lead me gently to Thy Wounded Feet above. Amen