“Dear St. Anthony, look around; /Something is lost and must be found.”
That’s been my mantra since last night, when, once again, I lost something valuable. I’m not a careless person; more absent-minded, especially when I’m wandering around the house trying to take care of a dozen different things at once. And really, I don’t often lose things. It just seems like, for the past year or so, I’ve been losing pieces of jewelry. Not that I have a lot, but the few things I had that were perhaps most dear to me have all gone missing.
I could look at this from a cosmological perspective, as if in the grand scheme of things I’m being called to let go of material possessions, live with just the basics, downsize, and so on. Of course, that’s true: As John Paul II so gracefully preached, “simplify, simplify.” Yet I can’t quite believe that losing these things is necessary to attaining the state of relative poverty and simplicity I seek at this time in my life. I just don’t think God works that way.
So I’m tearing apart the house saying my mantra, trying not to use this prayer as a magic cure-all, yet knowing that opening myself to divine intervention has truly been the way to go on so many different occasions. This morning I found another prayer to St. Anthony that I like even better than the one we all know and love:
Prayer for Lost Objects
Saint Anthony, when you prayed your stolen book of prayers was given back to you.
Pray now for all of us who have lost things precious and dear.
Pray for all who have lost faith, hope or the friendship of God.
Pray for us who have lost friends or relatives by death.
Pray for all who have lost peace of mind or spirit.
Pray that we may be given new hope, new faith, new love.
Pray that lost things, needful and helpful to us, may be returned to our keeping.
Or, if we must continue in our loss, pray that we may be given Christ’s comfort and peace. Amen.
I especially like the last sentence: “Or, if we must continue in our loss, pray that we may be given Christ’s comfort and peace.” Because experience has shown me that, although hope is looming large in my heart, this latest lost item just may not be found.
BTW, the book you see above will tell you a lot more about St. Anthony, for example, his tireless work in social ministry and the source of the legends that have grown around him. Fr. Jack Wintz, O.F.M., is the author, and he paints a beautiful portrait of this beloved saint.
The feature photo at top comes from www.st-anthony-medal.com and depicts the famous “sermon to the fishes” when, to impress heretics, Anthony preached the word of God and the fishes poked their heads out of the water to listen.