Highlights of his life
• St. Anthony founded a religious institute of missionaries, known today as the Claretians.
• He placed great emphasis on the Eucharist and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Her rosary, it was said, was never out of his hand.
• He began reforming the Church by almost ceaseless preaching and hearing of confessions.
• He suffered bitter opposition mainly for opposing concubinage and teaching to black slaves. He suffered at least 15 assassination attempts.
• He wrote or published 200 books and pamphlets.
• He vehemently defended the infallibility of the Pope during the Vatican Council I.
• He was declared a Saint on May 7, 1950. The men who have followed in his way, the Claretians, now number over 3,000 strong and minister in over 60 countries worldwide.
Love of God
• I live, but my life is that of Christ’s. And in possessing me, my poor Lord possesses nothing. And I, in possessing Him, possess everything.
• What has our Lord not done for the glory of His Father and for the salvation of souls? Ah, I see Him agonizing on the cross, despised, and loaded with sufferings.
Then am I, for the same reason, and aided by His grace, firmly resolved to suffer, to toil, to be despised, to be laughed at, calumniated and persecuted, and even to suffer death itself. Thanks be to God I am having my share of these crosses in my life.
• I pray to Him like this: O Lord, you are my love. You are my honor, my hope, and my refuge, my glory, and my last end. 0 my love, my happiness, my conserver, my joy, my reformer and my master! You are my father, the spouse of my life and of my soul!
I do not seek or desire to know anything but your holy will, in order to do it.
I love only you, my God, and all other things only for you, in you, and for your sake. You are more than sufficient for me, and I love you, my strength, my refuge, and my consolation. You are my Father, my brother, my spouse, my friend, and my all. Help me to love you as you love me, and as you will that I should love you.
• When I am before the Blessed Sacrament I feel such a lively faith that I can’t describe it. Christ in the Eucharist is almost tangible.
• The faith I have when I am in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament is so strong that I find it impossible to express what I feel….When the time comes to leave I must force myself to overcome the inclination to prolong my stay with Jesus."
• Humility, obedience, meekness, and love are the virtues that shine through the Cross and the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. O my Jesus help me to imitate you!
• The Blessed Sacrament should be honored by hearing Mass, receiving Communion frequently, visiting the Blessed Sacrament, and making spiritual communions.
The rosary should be said daily...We should meditate on the mysteries, applying them to the circumstances of our own lives.
Hell and Evangelization
• A multitude of souls fall into the depths of Hell, and it is of the faith that all who die in mortal sin are condemned for ever and ever. According to statistics, approximately 80,000 persons die every day. How many of these will die in mortal sin, and how many will be condemned! For, as their lives have been, so also will be their end.
• Another thing that spurs me on to preach ceaselessly is the thought of the multitude of souls which fall in the depths of hell... If you had a beloved brother who, sick and in the throes of delirium, were to insult you with all the angry words imaginable, would you abandon him? I am certain you wouldn't. You would have even more compassion for him, do your utmost for his speedy recovery. This is how I feel in regard to sinners.
You may say the sinner doesn't think of hell, nor even believe in it. So much the worse for him. Do you by chance think he will escape condemnation because of his unbelief? Truth is independent of belief... I must warn sinners and make them see the precipice which leads to the unquenchable fires of hell, for they will surely go there if they do not amend their ways.
Woe to me if I do not preach and warn them, for I would be held responsible for their condemnation.
• How often I pray, with St. Catherine of Siena: 'O my God, grant me a place by the gates of hell, that I may stop those who enter there saying: Where are you going, unhappy one? Back, go back! Make a good confession. Save your soul. Don't come here to be lost for all eternity!
• When you see a condemned man on his way to the gallows, it moves you to pity. If you could do something to free him, you would do it. Well, brothers and sisters, when I see a person in mortal sin, I see someone drawing nearer with every step to the gallows of hell. And seeing him in this unhappy state, I happen to know the way to free him: that he be converted to God, ask God's pardon, and make a good confession. Woe will befall me if he does not.'
Maybe you will say that a sinner is not interested in hell, or does not even believe in it. All the worse. Do you think that this will stop him from being damned? Indeed no; rather it is an even clearer sign of his fatal condemnation, as the Gospel says: "He who does not believe will be condemned.
Sanctity through obligations
• Our Lord has created persons for all states in life, and in all of them we see people who achieved sanctity by fulfilling their obligations well.
Prayer to Mary for souls
• Mary most holy, conceived without original sin, Virgin Mother of the Son of the Living God, Queen and Empress of heaven and earth: Since you are the Mother of pity and mercy, deign to turn your eyes toward an unhappy exile in this vale of tears, anguish, and misery who, though unworthy, has the great happiness of being your son. O Mother of mine, how much I love and esteem you, and firmly trust that you will grant me perseverance in your holy service and grace until death.
• Come now, loving Mother, let us lose no time. Here I am: dispose of me as you will, for you know that I am wholly yours. I trust that you will do this out of your great kindness, pity, and mercy, and I ask you this through the love you bear for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Modesty in dress
• Now, observe, my daughter, the contrast between the luxurious dress of many women, and the raiment and adornments of Jesus. . . Tell me: what relation do their fine shoes bear to the spikes in Jesus' Feet? The rings on their hands to the nails which perforated His? The fashionable coiffure to the Crown of Thorns? The painted face to That covered with bruises? Shoulders exposed by the low-cut gown to His, all striped with Blood? Ah, but there is a marked likeness between these worldly women and the Jews who, incited by the Devil, scourged Our Lord! At the hour of such a woman's death, I think Jesus will be heard saying: "Cujus est imago haec et circumscripto. . . of whom is she the image?" And the reply will be: "Demonii. . . of the Devil!" Then He will say: "Let her who has followed the Devil's fashions be handed over to him; and to God, those who have imitated the modesty of Jesus and Mary.
Reason for Evangelization
• Making people happy. Another force that drives me to preach and hear confessions is my desire to make my neighbor happy. If there is so much joy in healing the sick, freeing the prisoner, consoling the afflicted, and cheering the sad, then there is far greater joy in bringing one's neighbor to the glory of heaven. It means saving him from every evil and bringing him to the enjoyment of every good -- and for all eternity. Mortals cannot understand this just now, but when they are in glory they will know the great good that was offered them and that they will have, happily, attained. Then they will sing the everlasting mercies of the Lord and bless those who have been merciful to them.
• Because he is concerned also for his neighbor, the man of zeal works to fulfill his desire that all men be content on this earth and happy and blessed in their heavenly homeland, that all may be saved, and that no one may perish forever, or offend God, or remain even for a moment in sin. Such are the concerns we observe in the holy apostles and in all who are driven by the apostolic spirit.
• Hunger of people. When I see the need for Divine teaching and how hungry people are to hear it, I am atremble to be off and running throughout the world, preaching the word of God. I have no rest, my soul finds no other relief, than to rush about and preach.
• Ministry received from God. At any cost I must discharge the ministry I have received from God Our Lord, which is to preach the Gospel... I have no worldly end in view, but... that God may be known, loved and served by all the world... that sins and offenses against Him may be hindered as much as possible...
• Consumed with love. A son of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a man who is consumed with love and who sets on fire everything in his path. He is a man who unceasingly expends himself to light the fire of divine love in the world. Nothing stops him; he places his joy in privations, he undertakes all works for the glory of God; he embraces willingly every sacrifice, he is happy in the midst of calumnies; he exults in torments. He can think of but one thing — working, suffering, and seeking at all times the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls, to imitate Our Lord Jesus Christ.
• Driven by the fire of the Holy Spirit, the holy apostles travelled throughout the earth. Inflamed with the same fire, apostolic missionaries have reached, are now reaching and will continue to reach the ends of the earth, from one pole to the other, in order to proclaim the word of God. They are deservedly able to apply to themselves those words of the apostle Paul: The love of Christ drives us on.
• The love of Christ arouses us, urges us to run, and to fly, lifted on the wings of holy zeal. The man who truly loves God also loves his neighbor. The truly zealous man is also one who loves, but he stands on a higher plane of love so that the more he is inflamed by love, the more urgently zeal drives him on. But if anyone lacks this zeal, then it is evident that love and charity have been extinguished in his heart. The zealous man desires and achieves all great things and he labors strenuously so that God may always be better known, loved and served in this world and in the life to come, for this holy love is without end.
Effectiveness in evangelization and love
• Love is the most necessary of all virtues. Love in the person who preaches the word of God is like fire in a musket. If a person were to throw a bullet with his hands, he would hardly make a dent in anything; but if the person takes the same bullet and ignites some gunpowder behind it, it can kill. It is much the same with the word of God. If it is spoken by someone who is filled with the fire of charity- the fire of love of God and neighbor- it will work wonders.
Mary and Evangelization
• I beseech and beg you my Mother, to destroy at the proper time the heresies that devour the flock of your most holy Son. Remember, O most gracious Virgin, that you have the power to end them all. Do so out of charity for that great love you bear toward Jesus Christ your Son. Look upon the souls redeemed through the infinite price of Jesus' Blood, who are falling once more under the power of the demon, and neglecting your Son and you.
What is lacking then, my Mother? Would you perhaps avail yourself of some instrument with which to remedy so great an evil? Here is one however vile and contemptible he knows himself to be, is yet assured that he will serve the better for this end, since your power will shine forth all the brighter, and all will see that it is you who are at work, not I.
Love of enemies
• I can see what they say of me [calumny, criticism and persecution]. I can only comment that it is a reminder of the patrimony left us by Christ. This is the pay the world accords us. We do well to recall the words of Isaiah, ‘Your strength is in silence and hope.’ Blessed be you, my God. Give your holy blessing to all who persecute and calumniate me. Give them, Lord, prosperity—spiritual, corporal, temporal, eternal. And to me give humility, gentleness, patience, and conformity to your holy Will, that I may suffer in silence and love the pain, persecution, and calumny that you permit to descend upon me.
• I keep in mind the teaching laid down by St. John of the Cross which states: "If anyone affirms that one can reach perfection without practicing exterior mortification, do not believe him; and even though he confirm this assertion by working miracles, know that his contentions are nothing but illusions.
As for me, I look to St. Paul for my example, for he mortified himself, and said publicly: "Castigo corpus meum et in servitutem redigo, ne forte cum aliis praedicaverim ipse reprobus efficiar -- I chastise my body and bring it into subjection, lest perhaps when I have preached to others I myself may become a castaway." All the saints until now have done in like manner. Venerable Rodriquez says that the Blessed Virgin said to St. Elizabeth of Hungary, that no spiritual grace comes to the soul, commonly speaking, except by way of prayer and bodily afflictions. There is an old principle which goes: "Da mihi sanguinem et dabo tibi spiritum." Woe to those who are enemies of mortification and of the cross of Christ!
In one act of mortification one can practice many virtues, according to the different ends which one proposes in each act, as for example:
1. He who mortifies his body for the purpose of checking concupiscence, performs an act of the virtue of temperance.
2. If he does this, purposing thereby to regulate his life well, it will be an act of the virtue of prudence.
3. If he mortifies himself for the purpose of satisfying for the sins of his past life, it will be an act of justice.
4. If he does it with the intention of conquering the difficulties of the spiritual life, it will be an act of fortitude.
5. If he practices this virtue of mortification for the end of offering a sacrifice to God, depriving himself of what he likes, and doing that which is bitter and repugnant to nature, it will be an act of the virtue of religion.
6. If he intends by mortification to receive greater light to know the divine attributes, it will be an act of faith. 7. If he does it for the purpose of making his salvation more and more secure, it will be an act of hope.
8. If he denies himself in order to help in the conversion of sinners, and for the release of the poor souls in purgatory, it will be an act of charity towards his neighbor.
9. If he does it so as to help the poor, it will be an act of mercy.
10. If he mortifies himself for the sake of pleasing God more and more, it will be an act of love of God.
In other words, I shall be able to put all these virtues into practice in one act of mortification, according to the end I propose to myself while doing the said act.
Virtue has so much more merit, is more resplendent, charming and attractive, when accompanied by greater sacrifice. Man, who is vile, weak, mean, cowardly, never makes a sacrifice, and is not even capable of doing so, for he never resists even one appetite or desire. Everything that his concupiscence and passions demand, he concedes, if it is in his power to yield or reject, for he is base and cowardly, and lets himself be conquered and completely overcome, just as the braver of two fighters conquers the cowardly one.
• To labor and to suffer for the one we love is the greatest proof of our love.
God was made man for us. But what kind of man? How was He born? How did He live? Yes, and what a death He endured! Ego sum vermis et non homo, et abjectio plebis -- I am a worm and no man, and the outcast of the people. Jesus is God and Man, but His Divinity did not help His Humanity in His crosses and sufferings, just as the souls of the just in heaven do not help their bodies which rot under the earth.
In a very special manner God helped the martyrs in their sufferings, but this same God abandoned Jesus in His crosses and torments, so that He was indeed a Man of Sorrows. The body of Our Lord was most delicately formed, and therefore more sensitive to pain and suffering. Well, then, who is capable of forming an idea of how much Jesus suffered? All His life, suffering was ever present. How much did He have to suffer for our love! Ah, what pains He underwent, so long-enduring and intense! O Jesus, Love of my life, I know and realize that pains, sorrows and labors are the lot of the apostolate, but with the help of Thy grace I embrace them. I have had my share of them, and now I can say that by Thy aid, my Lord and my Father, I am ready to drain this chalice of interior trials and am resolved to receive this baptism of exterior suffering. My God, far be it from me to glory in anything save in the cross, upon which Thou wert once nailed for me. And I, dear Lord, wish to be nailed to the cross for Thee. So may it be. Amen.