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The Irresistible Argument of Miracles: Saint Anthony, A Mule and the Eucharist 

  

Stained glass of the mule kneeling before Saint Anthony holding the Holy EucharistSaint Anthony (1195-1231) worked hard to convert those who did not believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist because he genuinely felt sorry for them. He saw that they were depriving themselves of the most precious gift of the Eucharist, and he believed that no one could long survive without this spiritual nourishment.

Often, he was called to defend the dogmas of our faith to heretics, especially the Albigensians, who were multiplying in the South of France and the North of Italy.

However, theological arguments alone were not enough to convince those minds closed by pride and ignorance. Our Saint presented them with the irresistible argument of miracles.

During his travels through a city called Rimini, Saint Anthony engaged in conversation with a particularly stubborn heretic. This man obstinately refused to admit the mystery of transubstantiation, for he perceived no change in the sacramental species after the words of consecration.

In vain, Anthony presented proofs drawn from both Scripture and Tradition. When his efforts failed before the stubborn obstinacy of his doubter, he decided to alter his strategy.

“You possess,” he told the man, “a mule that you ride often. I will present a consecrated host to it; if it falls on its knee before the Blessed Sacrament, will you recognize the real Presence of the Savior under His Eucharistic appearance?”

“Certainly,” responded the unbeliever, who felt confident that the outcome of such a proposition would be to the apostle’s detriment.

The two men agreed to meet again in the market square three days later. They then went their separate ways, each to prepare for the spiritual showdown in his own way.

The heretic, in order to insure victory, deprived his beast from all food for the three days. Our saint employed gentler methods, preparing for his assured victory by doubling his accustomed time in prayer.

At the set day and time, Anthony left the Church, carrying a ciborium in his hands. The skeptic arrived leading the famished animal by the bridle.

A considerable crowd had gathered on the square, curious to attend such a remarkable sight. With a smile on his lips, the doubter, believing victory already to be his, set a sack of oats before the animal.

As all watched in breathless anticipation, the hungry animal turned away from the proffered food and turned toward the Sacred Host held high by the Miracle Worker. With a graceful motion uncharacteristic of his breed, the beast of burden bowed low to the ground, giving due reverence to his Creator. It did not straighten or stand up again until it had received permission from the Saint to do so.

It is easy to imagine the effect the miracle produced. A cheer rose up from the assembled crowd, many making the sign of the Cross to seal their belief in what they had just witnessed.

The heretic honored his word and converted. Several others who had shared his stubborn unbelief also embraced this most marvelous proof of Our Savior’s True Presence among his creatures.

 

“I will be with you always, even to the end of the world.” (Matt. 28:20)

Painting of the mule kneeling before Saint Anthony holding the Holy Eucharist, with a large crowd around, most kneeling.

 


 

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for January 25, 2020

We put off our conversion again and again, but who says we w...

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January 25

 

We put off our conversion
again and again, but
who says we will still have the time and strength for it then?

St. John Vianney


My Mother, I will stand with you on OCTOBER 10, 2020

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

Conversion of St. Paul

He took part in the murder of St. Stephen, deacon and first...

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Conversion of St. Paul


Saul, later Paul, was a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin. Being born at Tarsus in Cilicia, he was by privilege a Roman Citizen. As a young man he studied the Law of Moses in Jerusalem under Gamaliel, a learned and noble Pharisee, and became a scrupulous observer of the law.

Later, sincerely persuaded that the followers of Jesus opposed God’s true law, he became a zealous persecutor of the first Christians. He took part in the murder of St. Stephen, deacon and first martyr of the Catholic Church.

In the fury of his zeal, he next applied to the high priest for a commission to travel to Damascus, then a Christian center, to arrest all followers of Jesus.

He was nearing the end of his trip on the road to Damascus with a contingent of armed men, when, about noon, they were surrounded by a brilliant light. Saul was struck to the ground, and though all saw the light he alone heard a clear voice, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?” Saul answered, “Who are You, Lord?” and the voice rejoined, “Jesus of Nazareth Whom you persecute. It is hard for you to kick against the goad.”

Then Christ Our Lord instructed him to arise and proceed to Damascus where he would learn what was expected of him. On arising Saul found that he was blind, and was led into the town to the house of a man called Judas.

In Damascus, Christ appeared to Ananias, a virtuous man, and bid him go to Saul. Ananias trembled at the name of the well-known persecutor but obeyed. Finding Saul, the holy man laid his hands upon him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your journey, sent me that you may receive your sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.” Immediately something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes and he could see.

Saul arose, was baptized, and ate. He stayed for a while with the disciples of Damascus and began to preach in the synagogues that Christ Jesus was the Son of God to the astonishment of all who knew his previous persuasion.

Saul, who became Paul, was the great apostle of the Gentiles, preaching far and wide to the pagan world. He was martyred in Rome about the year 67.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him h...

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Mary and the Muslim

Don Octavio del Monaco was a wealthy citizen of 17th century Naples. Like many of his class, Don Octavius had several Muslim slaves in his household. These children of Islam were amazed at the kindness of their “master.” He fed and clothed them better than they received in their native land. In return, his slaves attended to their tasks with diligence, as Don Octavius did not over work them, but assigned them duties in keeping with their dignity as children of God.

If these Muslim slaves had any reason for complaint, it was the gentle persistence with which their master and his wife exhorted them to give up their false religion and become Catholics. Don Octavius even went so far as to invite the slaves to join his family in the chapel to worship the one true God with them!

Our story today is about one young slave in particular. His name was Abel, like the slain son of Adam and Eve. He felt drawn in a peculiar way to a lamp that burned in front of a shrine to Holy Mary. Abel would purchase the oil needed to keep the lamp lit from his own meager stipend. As he continued to practice this humble devotion, he would say, “I hope that this Lady will grant me some great favor.”

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he must become a Christian. At first the Turk resisted. But she placed her hand upon his shoulder, and said to him: “Now no longer resist, Abel, but be baptized and called Joseph,” conferring on him a name that was very dear to her Immaculate Heart indeed.

On August the 10th, 1648, there was much rejoicing in Heaven, for on that day “Joseph” and eleven other Muslims converted to the Christian faith and were baptized. Their conversion was brought about by the kindness shown by Don Octavius and the special intercession of the Mother of God.

Our story does not end here. Even once this son of hers was safely baptized, Mother Mary delighted in visiting him. Once, after having appeared to him, she was about to depart. But the Moor seized her mantle, saying, “Oh, Lady, when I find myself afflicted, I pray you to let me see you.” In fact, she one day promised him this and when Joseph found himself afflicted he invoked her, and Mary appeared to him again saying, “Have patience", and he was consoled.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he must become a Christian.

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