Faith

For those who have lost their faith

St. Anthony was always very concerned about people who had lost their faith. It broke his heart that they had withdrawn from the consolation and love offered by the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. He was offended by people who would lead others astray with false teachings about the faith: heretics. He challenged them so strongly that he received the nickname "the hammer of heretics."

There is one story about how he confronted a heretic who did not believe that Jesus was truly present in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. St. Anthony challenged that man not to feed his donkey for three days. At the end of the three days, the donkey was brought into a room in which the heretic was standing in one corner holding the donkey's food. St. Anthony was standing in the other corner holding a consecrated host. The donkey walked over to St. Anthony and bent down to worship the Eucharistic host. It had recognized Jesus' presence in the host.

Another time St. Anthony went to the city of Pescara on the shore of the Adriatic Sea. The people there had hardened their hearts against his preaching and would not even listen to him. He therefore went down to the harbour and he began to preach to the fish. The fish surfaced and began to listen to what St. Anthony was saying. The people saw that something amazing was occurring, so they came down to the harbour to get a closer look. As they drew near, they heard what St. Anthony was preaching and they began to listen with attention. They slowly opened their hearts and turned back to the Lord and the Church.

Prayer for oneself:

St. Anthony, there are times that it is so difficult to believe.
I feel as if I am tortured by questions and doubts.
There are times that I don't feel anything when I pray or go to Mass.
I often feel discouraged by what is going on in the Church.
Yet, I want to believe.
Please, help me.
Lift up my need to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth.
Intercede for me, that I might receive a full portion of the gift of faith.
Amen.

Prayer for one who has left the Church

St. Anthony, I am concerned about _____________ for he/she has left the faith.
You know how important the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist are. The Church was your home and your life.
Bring ____________ back home again to the faith.
Amen.

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