Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Sermons of St Anthony of Padua

The Caves of St Anthony at Brives

People wanting to look at the Sermons of St Anthony in English should consider The Sermons of St Anthony of Padua translated into English by Paul Spilsbury from the Critical Latin Edition of the Centro Studi Antoniani, Padova, Italia (1979)

It includes: Sermones de Tempore (Sermons For Sundays), Sermones de Sanctis (Sermons For Feast Days), and Sermones in Honorem et Laudem Beatissimae Mariae Virginis (Sermons in Praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary).

In the Second Sermon for the Second Sunday of Lent, St Anthony writes amongst other things of his mission as a preacher:

"And Jesus went from there and retired into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan, who came out of those coasts, crying out, said to him: Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David, etc. [Mt 15.21-22]

We are told in the First Book of Kings that:

Israel went out to war against the Philistines, and camped by the Stone of Help. [1Kg(Sam) 4.1]

Israel means ‘the seed of God’, and signifies the preacher (or his preaching) of which Isaiah says:

Except the Lord of Hosts had left us seed (i.e. preaching), we had been as Sodom; and we should have been like to Gomorrha. [Is 1.9]

He should go out to war against the Philistines (Philistine means ‘falling through drink’), the demons who, being drunk with pride, fell from heaven. He goes out to battle against them when, by his preaching, he strives to rescue the sinner from their hands; but this he can only do if he camps by the Stone of Help.

The ‘Stone of Help’ is Christ, who is referred to in this Sunday’s Office reading:

Jacob took a stone, and putting it under his head, slept. [Gen 28.11]

In this way, the preacher should rest his head (his mind) upon Jesus Christ, the Stone of Help; so that he may rest upon him, and in and through him overcome the demons.

This is the meaning of the words, ‘encamped by the Stone of Help’, because he sets the camp of his conversation, and pitches the tents of his preaching, beside Jesus Christ who is his help in time of trouble, and he trusts in Him, and attributes everything to Him.

So, in the name of Jesus Christ, I will go out against the Philistine (the demon), that I may in this preaching avail to free from his hand the sinner made captive by sin; and I trust entirely in His grace, which goes forth for the salvation of His people [cf. Hab 3.14]. "

Guillaume Dufay (August 5, 1397? – November 27, 1474) was a Franco-Flemish composer of the early Renaissance. As the central figure in the Burgundian School, he was the most famous and influential composer in Europe in the mid-15th century. In 1428 he was ordained a priest and he became canon of the cathedral of Cambrai

Amongst his many works is a Mass for St Anthony of Padua (c.1450). Some extracts are below.