“Tony, Tony, come around! Something is lost and it must be found.”
Did you learn this one when you were a kid? In my experience there are even a lot of lapsed Catholics — or people who were never Catholic at all — who know that when you lose something, St. Anthony becomes your best friend. Missing keys? Pray to St. Anthony. Can’t find your favorite sweater? St. Anthony. Forget where you parked your car in the mall lot? St. Anth— okay, you get the idea. Whatever it is, large or small, important or trivial, Tony has a reputation for finding the lost things.
It’s a devotion that can seem a little like superstition — witchcraft, even? — if you don’t really understand it. Mumble an incantation to a dead guy and you’re guaranteed to find your sunglasses. But as with most traditions that are old, beloved and effective, looking a little closer reveals the truth of the matter.
When we lose something really important, what do we do? We make the whole household stop what they’re doing to join the search. Having St. Anthony as a friend means you ask him to stop what he’s doing to help, too. And how he helps is by taking the matter exactly where all matters need to go — straight to the feet of Christ.
Here’s the real genius of St Anthony: he takes the most mundane, commonplace occurrence — misplacing socks — into an encounter with the divine and truly all things great and small are gifts from God. He grabs our hand and points to the cross. “That’s what you’re looking for,” he tells us.
In the end, Tony doesn’t really find the lost things. He finds the lost people.
— Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS