By Kate Anderson

Untitled by fancycrave1 via Pixabay. CC0 Creative Commons

Being geographically lost is a rare talent in this era of Google Maps. Too bad there isn’t a GPS to offer direction when we experience loss of motivation, purpose, and meaning. If you’re feeling a little lost in this bleak midwinter, bring your search to Saint Anthony in honor of his feast today. Never mind that our “lost things” Patron of Padua was celebrated in June—Anthony the Abbot will help you find just what you need! Our dynamic duo of Tonys will show us the beauty in being both lost and found.

An unfortunate work schedule this fall (coupled with unintentional social plans) led me to experience a lost Saturday of the soul. After a grueling morning on the job, I was anticipating a glorious afternoon to myself. Ample time to rest and read and pray with my dear Jesus was lovely, but one can only pray so many Rosaries before her soul is moved into action! I scoured every surface in sight with Clorox, picked at pointless projects, and rattled around our empty apartment until an appropriate nightly hour allowed me to retire from my boredom. My wonderful afternoon became worthless when I selfishly squandered it away.

Rest itself is not selfish unless it hinders us from loving others (see above). Quiet time with the Lord is vital for every soul aspiring to sainthood. Saint Anthony the Abbot realized the value of this solitude in his lifetime as a desert mystic. While most of us are not called to live as hermits in the Sahara, we are all invited to encounter the Lord in the desert of our souls. Saint Anthony models this beautifully: Let the healing waters of our merciful God wash over the barren disappointments and bleak worries of our hearts. Because we can only go forth to find ourselves once we have found our rest in Him.

One weary afternoon alone taught me that finding myself doesn’t entail completing frivolous to-do lists, reading a directory of self-bettering books, or hiding from people to focus on personal development. Finding myself isn’t about me at all. As Saint John Paul II so often encouraged from this Vatican II sentiment, “Man finds himself only be making himself a sincere gift to others.”

Anthony of Padua found himself through serving others as a friar, teacher, preacher, and intercessor. Anthony the Abbot’s gift was seeking the Lord in absolute aloneness. Let’s spend the rest of our lives trying to become sincere gifts to others—through simply scrubbed floors and cards sent just because, laughter shared with the lonely and dear ones loved patiently. Take heart from the findings of these saintly Tonys: We all know the best gifts keep on giving!

Embrace your desert today. Healing will come when you turn outward and become a gift to others!

About the Author:

Kate Anderson is a young lady with an old soul. She spends her days communicating and marketing for a Catholic school. Kate enjoys conversing with kindred spirits over warm beverages, reading spiritual books, and returning to her rural roots.