I have a wallet card on my desk that states, “I am an important Catholic, in case of accident, call a bishop.” It is a play on the words of wallet cards and medals that say, “I am a Catholic, in case of an emergency, please call a priest.” To this day, many Catholics still carry these items with them so that, in an emergency, a priest can be called to administer the Sacraments. This card belonged to the father of Sr. Jacinta and he would give them out to most people he encountered. Not as a gesture of superiority but as a way of spreading humor and cheer.
Today, in the Catholic Church, we celebrate the feast of Saint Anthony of Padua. Perhaps you know him best through the saying, “Tony, Tony, turn around, something is lost and must be found.” He is the patron saint of lost items.
What you may not know about him is that he joined the Franciscans hoping to be a missionary. When illness prevented this endeavor, he lived in a small hermitage where he prayed and did “lowly” household tasks. On one occasion, when there was no one to speak at an event, a reluctant Anthony stepped up to the mic (figuratively speaking). He amazed those in attendance with the words of his sermon. Soon he was on the road preaching to and teaching others. Legend has it that he was so intriguing that even fish loved to hear him speak!
Anthony had a plan for his life and when the plan didn’t go as expected he trusted God and remained faithful to prayer. He had the grace to do those small acts and, at a time unknown to him, God called him to do the unexpected. He made an incredible impact on the people around him and on the Church.
In the eyes of God, none of us are more important than the other. How can we respect the gifts that God has given to us and others and put them to use for the glory of God?
Can you or someone you know use those gifts through a vocation to religious life or priesthood? Like Saint Anthony, you might not know you have those needed gifts until you take a risk and respond to the call. Remember, we are all important in God’s eyes.