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St. Anthony knew true wealth comes through faith, Pope tells audience

February 10, 2010

At his regular weekly public audience on February 10, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about St. Anthony of Padua, the 13th-century Franciscan who is "one of the most popular saints of the Catholic Church."

St. Anthony was a renowned preacher and a brilliant theologian who "helped lay the foundations of he Franciscan theological and spiritual tradition," the Pope said. Following in the footsteps of St. Francis, he offered an attractive model of Christian life, emphasizing "prayer as a loving and joy-filled conversation with God."

However the "Doctor Evangelicus" (a title given him by Pope Pius XII) always insisted that Christians must be mindful of Christ's sacrifice and see life through the "mirror of the Cross." Life is rich and human dignity is exalted, St. Anthony taught, "because God considers us so important as to be worthy of his suffering."

Pope Benedict reminded his audience that St. Anthony lived and preached at a time of great economic growth in European society, and in that atmosphere he reminded the faithful that they must always be sensitive to the needs of the poor. That message bears repeating today, in an era of global economic interdependence, the Pope remarked.

The Pope concluded his talk with a prayer that during this Year for Priests, St. Anthony would help all preachers to "communicate a burning love for Christ, a thirst for closeness to the Lord in prayer, and a deeper appreciation of the truth and beauty of God's word."


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